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General Information on Driving & Driving Licences

In general, the minimum ages for driving on UK roads are 16 years for mopeds, 17 years for cars, motorcycles and agricultural tractors, and 21 years for medium/large sized lorries, minibuses and buses.

Visitors to the UK, who hold a full licence issued in the European Community and the three other countries in the European Economic Area, are allowed to drive any vehicle in the UK for as long as their licence remains valid. However the appropriate full entitlement for the vehicle you drive must be shown on your licence.

If you are visiting the UK from a country outside the EC/EEA, then you are allowed to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to eight passenger seats as long as your full licence or driving permit is valid for up to 12 months from the date you enter the UK.

When hiring a car in the UK, international visitors must have held a full licence for more than one year, and when collecting their vehicle they must provide a valid driving licence, passport, return travel tickets, and a UK contact telephone number.

Due to an EU Directive requiring all member states to issue driving licences in a card format with the holder’s image and signature, UK residents are now given photocard licences with a paper counterpart.

There are numerous benefits with photocard driving licences, including a reduction in impersonations at driving tests and less opportunity for car thieves or banned drivers to use stolen or fake driving licences to commit crimes.

Although there are no plans to recall paper licences, which are still valid until the expiry date, you can choose to replace your old paper licence with a photocard before the expiry date.

To hire a car in the UK, you must have held a driving licence for at least one year, and when collecting the vehicle you must show your full, clean, valid licence (including the paper counterpart, if you have a photocard licence), along with another form of ID.

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