If you are a long term visitor or resident in the United Kingdom and you hold a valid international driving licence there’s a few things you should be aware of  before:

International Driving Licence Advice

1. Your international driving licence is valid for 12 months from when you enter the UK if you are non EU.

2. If you decide to start learning to drive in the UK you must apply for a provisional driving licence.

3. Once you have received your provisional licence, your International licence becomes invalid, even if there is still time left on your international licence.

4. You cannot drive around unaccompanied on a provisional licence, even though you may have your international licence to hand still.


The loop hole:



It has become common knowledge that internationals are coming over to the UK to work and live on a long term basis. It is also common knowledge that in some countries it is quite easy to just pay for a licence without even taking driving lessons or the actual driving test. You can even purchase an international licence over the internet if you have the right contacts.


So what’s going on?


delboy licence

The police are more and more aware that international licence holders are coming over to the UK and basically applying for a provisional UK licence, then having around 10 hours of driving lessons and then driving around for up to a year building up experience on the roads. Just as their international licence expires they then go and seek a few extra driving lessons and then apply for the UK driving test.


What’s the problem?


zebra crossing

Well, imagine only having limited experience of the basic car controls and then having to negotiate busy junctions, hazards and dealing with adverse weather conditions – the risks of causing an accident to others and themselves is going to be considerably higher than someone that has done it the hard way and had driving lessons in the UK and then passed the DVSA driving test. Over time the international drivers committing these offences will build up experience, touch wood not killing anyone and will eventually begin to fit in with the traffic etc. If you are taking your driving test in Bedford, you need to be familiar with the roads for safety reasons and increasing your chances of passing your driving test.


What’s offence are they committing?


no insurance

Invalid car insurance is the main offence. It’s slightly complicated, because what is happening is they are insuring themselves on a car with an international licence and then applying for a provisional so on paper they have insurance to drive a car. Fortunately the DVLA systems have improved now so all it takes is the police to radio through the registration of the car to find out their licence status. However, just a few years ago, as long as the person presented their international licence and insurance to the police they were free to drive off as the systems between the DVLA and the police were not wise enough to this loop hole.


Cheeky rascals:


There was some hot gossip recently concerning some international drivers going down to the test centre on Goldington Road in Bedford. Rumour has it that they would use their car and once they got to the test centre they would then put their L Plates on their car and then go out on test with an examiner.


These people were committing an offence, so the DVSA examiners caught on to what was happening and started to inform the police before going out on the potential offender’s test. At the end of the test the police would wait for the international driver/provisional holder just outside of the test centre and then pull them up. Pass or fail they would have their car towed away as they had just shot themselves in the foot by taking a learners test and then driving off on their own after the test. Basically you can’t be insured as a qualified and learner driver at the same time.


If you are an international driver, please do not be offended by this article in anyway. Hopefully you are doing things the right way and if you’re not, then take note of the above. driveJohnson’s provides driving lessons in Bedford, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Luton and surrounding areas. If you are interested in passing fast without breaking the law like these rascals then consider doing your driving lessons in Northampton. We can offer an intensive driving course to suit your requirements, please call us on for more information.