Many companies have a workforce which includes overseas employees seconded to the UK on short term contracts. We present the current rules for non-UK licence holders driving in the UK, along with the vehicle solutions available.
Driving in the UK on an International Driving Licence
To drive in the UK, holders of a foreign driving licence must be aged 17+ for cars and motorcycles, and 21+ for lorries and buses.
The duration of your employee’s stay in the UK, their country of origin and also their insurance all impact their permission to drive in the UK on their current licence. Read on to learn more.
1. Up to 12 months
Holders of a full, valid driving licence issued in their home country will be able to drive in the UK for at least a year. To continue driving in the UK thereafter they will need to hold a British driving licence either by exchanging their national licence or by passing the UK test.
2. After 12 months
a) EU/EEC licence
Car and Motorcycle licence holders from EU/EEC member countries will be able to use their existing licence until it expires (upon reaching 70 years of age, or 3 years after becoming a UK resident, whichever’s longest).
Vocational licence holders (Lorry, minibus, bus) can use their existing licence:
- until aged 45 or for 5 years after becoming resident (whichever’s longer)
- until their 66th birthday if aged 45-65, or for 5 years after becoming resident (whichever’s longer)
- for 12 months after becoming resident if over 65.
They will need to pass a UK driving test to continue driving after these periods.
If they’ve previously exchanged a non-EU licence for an EU licence, this will only be valid for 12 months here, and they’ll need to pass a UK driving test to continue driving thereafter.
b) Designated Country Licences
Holders of licences from countries designated in UK law, if resident, can exchange their licence for the British equivalent (cars and motorcycle licences only). These are: Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe. Holders of licences issued in Jersey, Guernsey, IoM and Gibraltar can also exchange their Vocational entitlement too.
c) All other countries:
Visitors: allowed to drive small vehicles (motorcycles and vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to 8 passenger seats) for up to 12 months after the date of last entry to the UK. Thereafter, they would not be permitted to drive, nor to take a UK test to obtain a UK licence.
New Residents: As for Visitors, however, as residents they would be able to sit a UK test and obtain a UK licence.
Taking the British Driving Test
This requires UK residency. Residents of an EC/EEA country must have resided in the UK for 185 days in the 12 months prior to their test.
Vehicle options for Drivers on Secondment here
1. They bring their own vehicle
European-registered cars can be driven in the UK for 6 months without needing to be registered. Non-EU cars are admitted to the UK on a case-by-case basis to check they meet safety and emissions standards.
2. Purchase a vehicle
Requiring a large capital investment, and adding a strongly depreciating asset to your balance sheet, purchasing a vehicle is a big commitment for a short-term placement. You’ll also be liable for wear-and-tear aspects of its maintenance plus road fund licence, along with having to arrange disposal of the vehicle at the end of its use.
3. Lease a vehicle…?
You may have discounted leasing as an option for seconded employees, short term hires or contractual workers, but here at Windsor Vehicle Leasing we believe we have a variety of solutions to suit your needs. Whether the lease is set up as a company car, or to be paid for by the employee directly, we are certain we can help.
How Can Windsor Vehicle Leasing Help?
If the secondment is for a fixed term we can arrange lease periods to match the time in the UK, no need for a big initial outlay or worrying about disposal at the end. All you will need to do is arrange the insurance.
If the secondment has been arranged last minute… no problem! We have vehicles in stock ready to go at our showroom either for the entire secondment period or just until your new vehicle arrives.
If you are unsure how long the secondment will last, that’s no problem either! We have a flexible leasing solution, Open Lease, which offers short term lease deals with contracts from as little as 1 month, with a rolling monthly rental – effectively a pay-as-you-go lease deal!!
Whether short- or long-term, all our vehicle leases include cover of the vehicle’s maintenance, servicing, wear and tear, road tax as well as recovery.
See our current Lease deals here, our current short-term Open Lease deals here, or use our contact form if there’s a specific vehicle you’d like to lease. Alternatively, please call us on 01753 851561 to speak to a leasing expert about your options.