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Driving in the UK from the EU after Brexit



Driving in the UK from the EU after Brexit

Driving in the UK;The UK currently permits EU nationals to drive within the United Kingdom under their existing EU license. They would be able to do so with only one reasonable restriction: they may only drive up to 70 years of age. This very same restriction exists for those with UK licenses, so places EU license holders on a level playing field.

However, it’s currently unknown how this will play out once the transitionary period of Brexit has concluded. This began on 31st January 2020 – and it’s likely not striking a deal to include rights will curtail this ability significantly.

A hard Brexit – where the UK leaves with no deal – is going to be felt far and wide: from businesses who haul goods to and from the UK every day, to the millions of tourists who are visiting and enjoying all that the UK has to offer each year.

According to DrivingScout, one of the most popular companies that provides a driving test cancellation checker so you can get an earlier driving test, this will result in substantially increased demand for driving tests with increased wait times.

The UK already has a tremendous wait time for driving tests – as much as 12 weeks in some areas. This level of wait is currently seen as normal by the millions of individuals who sit their driving test exam in the UK each year. However, any increased pressure caused by Europeans being forced to take a UK style driving exam may well cause test centres to buckle further under the load.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing to take a UK driving exam quickly, when you’re able to lean on DrivingScout to help you out for a surprisingly small fee of £13 (€15) in addition to the usual fees incurred to take your test.

Although the tests are currently cancelled due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, it’s really important that you keep thinking about your test readiness. Where possible, practise using a car that is already within your household (to avoid having to come in contact with another person to rent one) and also ensure that the person sitting with you meets the necessary requirements to be able to supervise your driving. For example, they need to be at least 21 years of age and have had a license for at least 3 years. You must also have the right level of insurance to drive the car on UK roads (including private land areas of supermarkets – appropriate insurance is required).

The DVSA will look to reintroduce exams from July onwards, social distancing permitting. Therefore retain your test standard to be eligible to take your test once their online systems re-open. At present, all tests have been cancelled for a period of three months beginning 20th April 2020, though they have no ruled out extending this period should it be prudent to do so. As a result, it would be all too easy to forget how to learn to drive and therefore require total retraining – which will cause significant additional expense (and a shortage of instructors as many will have been unable to afford being out of work for so long – reducing the number available on the market).

Until the 31st January 2021, it will be possible to exchange a full EU driving license for a UK one with the DVSA – the UK’s government run driving association – however this process will take at least 3 weeks. In order to not get caught out, those who are considering doing so should apply to exchange their EU licences to UK ones as soon as possible. Once the 31st October passes, the only recourse may be to apply for a UK license by passing a test in the UK, and relying on companies such as DrivingScout to accelerate this process for you to minimise the impact.