British Residents in the EU Face Retaking Their Driving Test
- British people set to re-take their driving test in Europe
- Many drivers have not looked at the highway code since 1996
- British people living in EU can no longer renew their UK driving license
Thousands of British people live all around Europe for retirement or work. This year, they might have to retake their driving test in their country of residence.
Especially older drivers might lack confidence when retaking the test. Some bad habits might have set in, and moderating speed might not come as naturally as before.
The drivers who passed their test prior to July 1996 have never taken the theory test. They simply studied the highway code and answered a few questions from the examiner at the start of their driving test. It is therefore possible that a person who passed their driving test before 1996 has not looked at the highway code since.
British drivers can no longer renew their UK driving licence
If you are planning to retire or work in the EU, you may need to start studying the highway code again.
These days, there are several theory test applications available. The interactive apps tell you if you have selected an incorrect answer, helping you prepare for the theory test. View the top 10 applications from GoCompare.
Before Brexit, British people were able to retire to a European country and continue using their UK driving licence. Since January, several EU countries will no longer accept UK driving licence for residents. Visit the UK government’s website for the latest EU driving regulations.
If you live in the EU, you are no longer able to renew your driving licence in the UK. If your licence is lost, stolen, or expired, you may not be able to exchange it for an EU licence. Depending on the country in question, you may have to apply for an EU driving licence and retake your test.
Check new requirements for driving licence of each European country below. Also, if you have a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, you may also need to retake the test.
Austria and Cyprus
You can exchange your licence before July 2021 without having to take a test. You are encouraged to exchange your licence within this period otherwise you may need to take a test.
If your UK or Gibraltar photocard licence was issued before 1 January 2021, you can exchange your licence without having to take a test. You need to do this within 180 days of taking up residency in Denmark, or by 30 June 2021, whichever is later.
Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Switzerland
Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible in case rules change.
You can exchange your licence without having to take a test for licence categories A1, A2, A or B.
You can continue to use your licence until 1st January 2022.
You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. You should exchange your UK licence for a German one within 6 months of becoming resident or by 30 June 2021, whichever is later.
You can exchange your licence without having to take a test from 1 February 2021. A medical – physical and eye – examination will be required.
UK and Northern Ireland licence holders’ resident in the Republic of Ireland must exchange their driving licence for an Irish licence. UK and Northern Ireland licences aren’t legal for driving in Ireland. However, they can be exchanged without the need to take a driving or theory test.
You may need to take a test to exchange your licence.
You can exchange your licence without having to take a test if you obtained the licence before 1 January 2021.
You can continue to use your licence until 1 July 2021. From 1 July 2021, you will need to take a test to exchange your licence.
You can continue to use your valid UK licence in Portugal until 31 December 2021. If you are resident in Portugal, you should exchange your UK driving licence by 31 December 2021.
You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. If you have been resident for over 185 days starting from 1 January 2021, you must exchange your UK licence for a Slovak one within 60 days of completing the 185 days and before 2 September 2021.
You can exchange your licence without having to take a test until 31 December 2021, or within one year of becoming resident, whichever is longer.
Spain (including Balearic and Canary Isles)
You can continue to use your licence until 1 July 2021. You may need to take a test if you want to exchange your licence.
You can continue to use your licence until 1 July 2021. After this, you will be able to exchange your UK licence without taking a test.