The United States Embassy issues the following advice to Americans driving in the UK
The British Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea, SA7 0EE, telephone 0870–240–0009,
has provided the Embassy with the following information concerning the use of American driving
licenses in Great Britain:
1. A United States citizen who normally resides in the United States and is visiting or
temporarily residing in the United Kingdom may drive by virtue of his/her valid American
license for a period of one year from the date of his/her last entry visa. After this
period has expired, he/she must be in possession of a British license.
2. A United States citizen residing in the United Kingdom may drive by virtue of his/her
valid American license for a period of one year. After this period has expired, he/she
must be in possession of a British license.
3. A United States citizen who does not possess a British license after the one year
"grace period" has expired must obtain a British Provisional license, display "L"
learner plates and drive with a qualified British driving license holder at all times
until such time as he/she passes the British driving test.
4. Since there is a delay of several months between applying for a British test and
taking the test, all United States citizens who intend staying in the United Kingdom
for more than one year are urged to make an application for a British test as soon
as possible after their arrival here. Information and forms (D–1) may be obtained
from any Post Office, Traffic Area Office, Vehicle Registration Office or DVLA.
5. An International Driving Permit can be used as a substitute for an American driving
license for up to one year only. According to the Traffic Legislation Department of
the Police, this provision is made under the International Circulation Order — which
means that in order for the license to have been issued, a full and current driving license
had to have been produced to acquire it.
6. A lost or expired American license can be replaced only by the state that issued
it. Contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles for details. The best source of
up-to-date information can be found on the Internet website,
; for your search, enter your
state and the phrase "drivers license." Many states will allow you to apply for
a renewal on line.
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