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Moving to England at 16: Driving Laws?

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Jun 14th, 2013, 08:58 AM
  #1
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Moving to England at 16: Driving Laws?

I'm 16 and moving from the U.S. to England. Do I have to get another permit when I move over there? If I do can i get a permit and how?
jmolozzzz is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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You can't drive in the UK until you are 17.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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And when you do get to drive, it will be on the other side of the road.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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You can drive on your US license for a short period (I believe it is 1 year) but after that you need to get a UK license. I am not sure about the process for a US license, but I believe you will need to go through all the exams and tests but you can find information here:

https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/driving-licences
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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If you are from the US you will also need to take both the theory an practical exams to get a UK licence.

A Google search will make everything clear to you.
Try searching for DVLA.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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And the driving tests are pretty difficult.

It isn't like in the states where it is a 'birth right' to get your license at 16 yo. Many people take the test multiple times over several years before success.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:07 AM
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This might help as well: https://www.gov.uk/exchange-a-foreign-driving-licence
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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And the driving tests are pretty difficult.

It isn't like in the states where it is a 'birth right' to get your license at 16 yo. Many people take the test multiple times over several years before success.


which supports the booming industry of private driving instructors!
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Jamikins - from the post I assume the OP has just his learner's permit, not a license. A US learner's permit is basically useless in the UK.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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Oh yes - of course a learners license doesnt mean anything in the UK!
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Jun 14th, 2013, 09:39 AM
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The OP only has a permit - not a license - which is useless. You will have to go through the whole permit/license process when you hit 17, And you should be aware that getting a license is very different than in the US. The driving test is extensive and difficult and a lot of people fail - unlike in the US - where is lasts about 4 minutes and you pass unless you actually hit something with the car.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 10:11 AM
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Once you have a licence you will find insurance for young drivers horrendously expensive.
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Jun 14th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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First, no-one may drive under any circumstances till they're 17. A foreign provisional licence has no standing of any sort in Britain, so the poster's current documents might as well be thrown away.

Three months before a 17th birthday, a British resident, provided that resident has a National Insurance number, may apply for a provisional licence. This entitles them to drive once they're 17 until they learn to drive and pass the test., but only under the supervision of someone over 21 with a full licence.

Since most citizens of non-EEA countries under 18 can't get a National Insurance number (for which they need the appropriate visa) the likelihood is that the poster won't get a provisional licence, and won't therefore be eligible to take the British test, for some years.

A non-EEA citizen without a British licence, over 17 and with a REAL licence from a foreign country, MAY drive in Britain for a year. They then need to apply for a British licence, for which they need to pass a British test: they don't need the test if they live in one of a number of countries with suitably rigorous testing procedures, like Canada. The US is not one of those countries.

In practice, the poster is unlikely to be unable to drive in Britain under any circumstances until one of:
- the poster gets a full driving licence from his home state, and is over 17, in which case he may drive here for a year, or
- the poster gets a full British licence, which he can't begin to train for until he's allowed on British roads, for which he needs either a full foreign licence or a National Insurance number and a provisional British licence

The poster needs to familiarise himself with the concept of using public transport.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 07:03 AM
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And/or get a push bike, to use while studying the Highway Code for your eventual theory test. You may be able to track down local cycling proficiency classes which may not be too expensive (or even free), which will help familiarise you with the "wrong" side of the road and road use conventions.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 07:20 AM
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National Insurance number isn't an absolute requirement for getting a provisional licence, but being aged at least 17 and having lived in UK for 6 months (and is ordinarily resident here - not a visitor) are.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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I don't have a National Insurance number, and had no problem getting a provisional license. I had been driving in the UK with my US license, but the application form didn't even ask for it. As I recall, you simply had to provide evidence that you are resident in the UK. Now I have a full British license, but still don't have a National Insurance number.

Three months before a 17th birthday, a British resident, provided that resident has a National Insurance number, may apply for a provisional licence. This entitles them to drive once they're 17 until they learn to drive and pass the test., but only under the supervision of someone over 21 with a full licence.

That is correct, and the "full licence" has to be British, held for at least two years.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 08:48 AM
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In any case, a US teenager w/ just a learner s permit is sort of sol.

Jmolozzzz: don't worry too much. Do you now live in an area w/ little public transport? And where are you going to live in England? You will find you can get just about anywhere very easily on buses, the tube/underground (in London and a few other big cities), and on trains. Everyone in the UK uses public transport at least some of the time. Even when they could drive.

I know some American kids who have never been on a train or even buses. In England it is totally different. Besides, once you see the traffic etc you may not even want to drive over there. Unless you will be living in a rural area/small village you just won't need a car to get around. If you are living in a city you definitely won't need a car.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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Driving lessons aren't cheap - expect to pay ±£20/hour long lesson. I think the theory test is about £35 and the practical about £65.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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I think that prices for driving lessons depend on competition. My daughter paid £20 per hour in 2003. We live in a rural area.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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In any case - totally different from the US - where a chimp can get a license. (And I have seen quite a few drivers not as good as a chimp on the road.)

I seem to recall there used to be a reality TV show about people taking lessons to pass the driver's test and it was quite rigorous and a lot seemed to fail (but quite a few did fall into the chimp category). I think the test is like 30 minutes versus 3 or 4 in the US and requires driving on highways, in crowded town centers with complicated traffic patterns and an actual skill set.

In the US the test is pull out, turn left, turn right, parallel park and do a 3 point turn - all on local streets in a very quiet neighborhood with practically no one else on the road. (Sorry, that is the test in New York - our licenses are by state and others may vary. I have heard of some that are essentially a couple of minutes in a large empty parking lot.)
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