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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there are threads out there for this, but I can't find exactly what I need to know. Please would someone walk me through the steps to obtain a driver's license? Provisional license first? Theory and practical first and then provisional? Thanks in advance!!
 

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Hi,

I'd assume that you can drive well and it's just the UK licence you need. The steps are simple as follows:

1. Get provisional licence ( your first payment of £34.00 (if you pay online) or £43.00 (if you apply by post) will go to the DVLA)
2. Pass Theory Test ( you need the provisional licence to attend this test - theory test is £23.00. If you fail to pass your theory test, the fee is not refundable. You will have to pay again each time you re-sit the test)
You can buy the theory book from WHSmiths and other book shops. Try and practise as many online mock tests as possible
3. Pass Driving Test (pay £62.00 to book your practical driving test. Again, if you fail, you have to pay again)

By the way, I love American 4x4s. They're so cool. Shame we cant afford to run them on UK roads cos you'd also need to own a petrol station to feed min 4litre petrol engines lolz!


Good luck
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah perfect! Thank you! And yeah, I've driven for 30 years in the US but surely I'll take a lesson or two (or more). :) Also, can you drive with a provisional license? Is there a time frame to get your tests done once you've obtained the provisional license? Also, one of my American friends was posting about gas being $2.20/gallon at the moment. Sigh, they have no idea what it's like in the rest of the world! Haha. :)
 

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You can't drive on your own with the provisional, but can do with someone over 3 years full licence experience with you in the car - you cant use motorways though, only dual carriageways like A roads. The insurance comes pretty cheap, when you add a full licence holder as the second driver.

No, there's no time frame to pass the theory test after obtaining the provisional licence, you can just keep it until it expires. However, you must do the practical driving test within two years of passing your theory test.
 
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Just a few corrections.
If you have full US license, you can drive in UK for 12 months from when you became resident. You can only get your provisional licence after being in UK for 6 months (I know some people have managed to get it sooner but the rules say 6 months). So even if you have provisional licence, until your 12 months is up, you can still drive unaccompanied and go on the motorway and don't have to display L plates etc. If you manage to pass both parts of your driving test before 12 months, you get your full UK licence. But should you fail to pass your test, after 12 months you can no longer drive unaccompanied etc and the full learner driver restrictions will be imposed.
 

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Joppa,

I was under the impression that the 6 month rule only applies to EU members and not Americans.

The instructions for the provisional license mention the 6 month rule and EU nationals but not for non EU citizens.
 

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That may be so, but you still need to be in UK for 6 months before you can take driving test.
 

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Lessons

Ah perfect! Thank you! And yeah, I've driven for 30 years in the US but surely I'll take a lesson or two (or more). :) Also, can you drive with a provisional license? Is there a time frame to get your tests done once you've obtained the provisional license? Also, one of my American friends was posting about gas being $2.20/gallon at the moment. Sigh, they have no idea what it's like in the rest of the world! Haha. :)

Grasshopper!

I took about 10-12 lessons with an instructor and it really helped; especially changing lanes through roundabouts, etc. This was AFTER driving on my US license for a full year. Good luck!:fingerscrossed:
 

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... especially changing lanes through roundabouts.....:
Am I right saying that you don't have roundabouts in America? How do you find waiting for 'no cars coming on the right' moment to get into the roundabout...
 
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Correct

Am I right saying that you don't have roundabouts in America? How do you find waiting for 'no cars coming on the right' moment to get into the roundabout...
We have lights in the US. Roundabouts would be a disaster: people wouldn't yield and there would be fisticuffs at every intersection, FUGGEDABOUTIT. Just my opinion.

Seriously I know some cities/states are experimenting with them but I don't know how that has worked out.

Oh the first few times at busy roundabouts with my Honda Jazz (completely gutless low end) I had some breathtaking moments but I survived....I needed a good old V8 but don't have £100 to fill up the tank every week.
 

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I know! I hate it when people don't use the indicators to show which way they're going and some honk at others; they should realise that there are people who aren't use to roundabouts and some aren't used to drive on the right hand side.

Oh, by the way, any American V8...I love those cars..vroom vroom!
 

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There are roundabouts in US, often called rotaries or road circles. More in certain states than others. They go round anti-clockwise of course.
 

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Provisional lic. I received mine about 3 months after I arrived (but I am American).

- I have driven for decades in then US and drove in Germany for 7 years before coming here - buy the book before you take a test. The test is really specific (as you might expect) and has lots of rules an American will not know. You can buy it on Amazon.
- Lessons: I did not take any; not for a lack of trying but the wait in my area is 5-6 months min (the highlands of Scotland).
-Test: No problem what so ever. 'a formality' per the examiner comments.
-Test location: It's going to be a lot harder in a city environment rather than a small town. I took mine in a small town. You can select a test location of your choice from the website off of a list it will present.
-Automatic or manual: something Americans do not think of. In the UK, if you take the test in an automatic, your lic. will restrict you to automatics (i.e. no manual shift cars allowed). If you take it in a manual car you can drive either (i.e. no restriction).
 

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No manual cars at all in America??
 

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There are..

No manual cars at all in America??

Of course there are manual cars in America: but the driver license testing isn't specific to the type of transmission your car has. Unlike the UK, you can take your driver's test in the USA in a car with an automatic transmission and be qualified to drive a car with a manual transmission as well.
 

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Yes. For some reason the UK separates the types of licenses into automatic and manual transmission. So if you take the test in an automatic you will be restricted to cars with an automatic transmission.

In the US automatic transmission are are the norm, but there are plenty of manual ones around and they still sell them (just not the majority cars).
 

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Yes. For some reason the UK separates the types of licenses into automatic and manual transmission. So if you take the test in an automatic you will be restricted to cars with an automatic transmission.

In the US automatic transmission are are the norm, but there are plenty of manual ones around and they still sell them (just not the majority cars).
:laugh: I can't believe they DON'T separate them in America! They separate them in Canada too, which to me makes more sense as you wouldn't want someone who's never driven manual before to just go at it without any previous experience/lessons! I just speak from my own experience of course, I can't drive manual and the one time I had a friend try to teach me I didn't do so great! It was a good thing we were in an empty parking lot and not just on the street!

I can understand it's a pain if you do know how to drive stick and are now forced to take a test to prove it but I think I'd prefer that then the alternative of just allowing people who've never done it before to just have at it!
 

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Rental question

Just a few corrections.
If you have full US license, you can drive in UK for 12 months from when you became resident. You can only get your provisional licence after being in UK for 6 months (I know some people have managed to get it sooner but the rules say 6 months). So even if you have provisional licence, until your 12 months is up, you can still drive unaccompanied and go on the motorway and don't have to display L plates etc. If you manage to pass both parts of your driving test before 12 months, you get your full UK licence. But should you fail to pass your test, after 12 months you can no longer drive unaccompanied etc and the full learner driver restrictions will be imposed.
Figured it was better to add on to this thread rather than start a new one, . I have a question regarding the practical exam and obtaining a car. I posts the same question on another immigration forum but there seems to be a more active discussion around driving on this so figured I'd try here as well. Appreciate any thoughts/comments on my question. Thanks!

Has anyone used a rental car (Hertz/Avis/etc etc) to pass the practical exam? My thinking is that given the ability to legally rent a car within the one year period with your American License this should be possible. To that end I emailed the DSA with the following question:

I'm a recent immigrant to the UK from the USA. I understand my US license is valid for one year from my date of entry/Visa start in the UK. I currently use my US license to book rental cars through AVIS, Hertz, etc etc for holiday travel within that year 'grace period' which provides me with roadworthy and properly inspected/licensed cars and insurance. I have a provisional UK license and have passed the UK theory test. Can I use a car rented with my valid USA license for my UK practical exam?

This was their response:

You can present a hire vehicle for your practical driving test. You must ensure that you supply a vehicle which meets the minimum requirements, which you can find here.

(here links to the gov 'using your own car' page)

ok, so DSA seems to not have a problem with it (assuming it meets criteria). I then called the rental agency and they didn't have experience with this situation (i cant believe I'm the first guy to ever call and ask about this). They noted that basically the trigger is the UK residency, which requires a UK license, but also acknowledged that I'm renting a car under a USA license within an acceptable grace period of time from arrival in country. End result, they said, (really, they did) just don't tell anyone at the rental desk you are a resident (this is a major rental company).

So theoretically I could book the test, rent the car (buy a £3 L plate and second interior mirror) and be on my way to the test. If the tester questions the insurance, which based off of colleagues experience they don't seem to check, I could produce the insurance through the rental. If they (the tester) aren't satisfied the test is over and drive home (as a USA driver within my one year). If they don't check... I'll have either passed or failed but would have successfully used a rental car.

My reasoning for wanting to do this is that, all exams are week days.. and generally during working hours. Taking 5 plus hours off (commute to testing site, 2 hour lesson, 1 hour test, commute back to office) is brutally long. Also, the lesson + use of the instructor car is around £175 +/-. Conversely, I could rent a car the evening before, take a morning (8 am) exam for £40(ish) with the rental and miss far less work.

Curious if anyone has done this (or something like this) to make the logistics of taking the practical test easier. I totally get the value in lessons (and FWIW I have taken some in the UK to familiarize myself on top of general driving) but the logistics of finding a time to book a test with the use of an instructors car is proving difficult. This just seems easier.

Any thoughts?
 

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You have to wait like something absurd like 183 days before you can apply for a provisional license until then you can drive on your american license.. (Aviva as a 2nd driver had ok insurance for my husband and me on our car that he bought me they gave us a 14 full years of no claims for me if we renewed for hte 2nd year which we did)

Also I'd suggest starting right at the six month mark. I waited until MARCH to do this and It took me 2 tries to pass the theory test and 2 tries to pass the driving test..

Same situation as you I'd been driving for 25 years on my US license and I had to learn the rules of the road over here (get that big blue book now an start studying) its harder than what you think it will be from my experience.

I also started taking driving lessons I spent about 300 pounds and flunked. Then I fired her, hired 3 driving DIFFERENT driving instructors at once and went on an intensive crash course over a 2 week period before my next test and passed.
 
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