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1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Old Jan 13th 2011, 8:01 pm
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Default 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

I have to ask. I have read many times in this forum about people swapping their UK licence for a Canadian one. What's the point? What is gained? Are we obligated (in Ontario) to swap? For example, you will not receive an Ontario licence until you do swap?

I came to Ontario in 87. Got a driving licence in 89. I don't recall "exchanging" my UK licence (still have it) for an Ontarian driving licence. Is "exchanging" a must-do now? Does the MOT in Ontario check if you gave up your overseas licence?

I do realise that the DVLC has to be informed of address changes and this is probably true in Ontario (been in same house for 19 years). Even though I show a Canadian credit card and Toronto address I have used my UK licence to hire cars in Rayleigh & Southend in Essex without issue over the years.

(If it's at all relevant, my brother with same initials and surname occupies my old house in Essex.)

Anyway, thanks for enlightening me. Law and Technology are leaving me behind

Mystified of Scarborough.
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Hi

The current law (in Ontario) is that you can only drive on your UK licence for 60 days. The British Government has a reciprocal agreement with Ontario (it varies between provinces) that a driver with 24 months experience can swap a licence for an Ontario one.....not sure when this came in but other provinces which dont have this agreement makes Expats take the road test. When we say "Swap" we mean physically hand in the UK licence (only photo card element if it a new type) and the Canadian government sends it back to DVLA.

The new UK photo licence is only valid for 10 years but you are on the old paper copy....not sure how long those were valid for.

I had heard something about if you get caught speeding in UK on your Canadian licence (say during a holiday trip) all they can do is fine you as they cant transfer points over to Canada. But they will inform DVLA to add the points to your UK licence, should you ever request it back after resuming residence in the UK. **** not seen this written on any official website so please dont assume this to be true ****

Cheers

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Old Jan 13th 2011, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

so how did you get an Ontario one then? It may be that systems have changed but now as an immigrant from Englad, Scotland or Wales you really have two choices.

1. start from scratch on the G program graduated scheme

or 2. make use of the reciprocal agreement and exchange your UK license for an Ontario one.

Also , how are you keeping the DVLA informed of a change of address ( you are , as you point out legally obliged to), do they have a Canadian address for you , or are you in fact leaving them under the impression that you are still resident in the UK?
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 8:30 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Originally Posted by Zoe Bell View Post
so how did you get an Ontario one then? It may be that systems have changed but now as an immigrant from Englad, Scotland or Wales you really have two choices.

1. start from scratch on the G program graduated scheme

or 2. make use of the reciprocal agreement and exchange your UK license for an Ontario one.

Also , how are you keeping the DVLA informed of a change of address ( you are , as you point out legally obliged to), do they have a Canadian address for you , or are you in fact leaving them under the impression that you are still resident in the UK?
Presumably like me he took the test here when he arrived. 87 was pre graduated licenses, but in my case a UK license and experience allowed one to not have to start at the bottom of the pile but to try for the full G license immediately. God help you if you failed... back to the the back of the bus That was perhaps the last time I fully observed the speed limits here.

The reciprocal exchange agreement is a relatively new thing, only a couple of years old now I guess.


End result is I have both UK (big fold out paper one... how nostalgic. Valid until 70, or 80 years old IIRC) and Ontario licences

Last edited by iaink; Jan 13th 2011 at 8:34 pm.
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Originally Posted by Zoe Bell View Post
or are you in fact leaving them under the impression that you are still resident in the UK?
It's what I did. Though this was in the day when you had to do a road test in BC. I wouldn't have bothered keeping it had I just been able to exchange it.
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 1:27 am
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Technically you are required to keep the dvla informed of your address.

You are not resident in the UK , so don't have a UK address.
I wonder what would happen if you gave them a Canadian one? Are they allowed to cancel your license ? You passed the test to earn it , so should be entitled to keep it IMO
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 1:31 am
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

I did my driving test in Toronto shortly after arriving there in 1989. I think that was before reciprocal agreements and graduated licences. I still have my UK paper licence - although I did go back to the UK for a couple of years (1996-98) before moving to the US. Is the UK paper licence still valid? Mine states that it's valid until 2035!
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 2:56 am
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Thumbs up Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Originally Posted by iaink View Post
Presumably like me he took the test here when he arrived. 87 was pre graduated licenses, but in my case a UK license and experience allowed one to not have to start at the bottom of the pile but to try for the full G license immediately. God help you if you failed... back to the the back of the bus That was perhaps the last time I fully observed the speed limits here.

The reciprocal exchange agreement is a relatively new thing, only a couple of years old now I guess.


End result is I have both UK (big fold out paper one... how nostalgic. Valid until 70, or 80 years old IIRC) and Ontario licences
I did take the test in 1989 and even was mentioned for a rolling stop at a STOP sign but still passed. The test must have been the only option. I don't recall even considering any other possibility. Knowing me I'd probably do the test if I came here now as I'd like to keep my long green one and not send it back (expires in 2028 and has a point on it for one bald tyre in 1984)...I'm still disappointed for having had to swap my old black cardboard passport way back when for the maroon one.

In 87 I didn't think to write to DVLC. I'll look them up on the web and let them know I'm still alive and will post the outcome an FYI. In future years I want to live and work both in the UK and Canada so I want to keep the licence for future use.

Thanks for the info. I was wondering what all this swapping was.
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 3:56 am
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Originally Posted by austinallegro View Post
In 87 I didn't think to write to DVLC. I'll look them up on the web and let them know I'm still alive and will post the outcome an FYI.
I emailed them a while back to check that the Saskatchewan folks had told them I'd exchanged my license because the photo card was due to expire, and they told me they weren't allowed to tell me. Which is about what I expected from that hive of bureaucracy!
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 4:10 am
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

The 'swapping' for a UK one has only been allowed in Ontario since about 2004ish. I moved in 2003 and as mentioned above had to take the written test to get my G1 but then was allowed (with 2 yrs min experience) to skip the graduated part and just take the final test. I recall they changed it the next year to swapping which was annoying as tests and a quick lesson and car to use etc was not that cheap.
Unless they have changed it recently once you reside in Ontario i.e. not a visitor, tourist etc. you only have 60 days to obtain a valid Ontario licence. If you continue to drive on an out of province licence, whether UK or US or other province, then you are not actually in possession of a valid drivers licence. So you could ignore the whole thing and keep driving on your UK one (not much point now you can swap it but maybe more tempting when you had to take the test if you fear tests) but you'd be driving illegally and would no doubt end up in a predicament if you were ever involved in anything that caused that situation to be revealed.
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Old Jan 17th 2011, 7:16 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

I have a related question. I have been in Canada on a 1 year working holiday visa so swapped my english licence for an ontario one - however i did not have the paper part of my licence so had to apply to the DVLA for a replacement first. When they sent me the replacement they sent the paper part, plus a new photo card (which i already had). I therefore ended up with a paper part and 2 photo cards. I gave my old photo card into the ontario office to get my canadian licence - when i return back to england will the new photo card that the DVLA sent me still be valid for me to use in the UK or will canada have notified the DVLA that i swapped my licence so that they then invalidate my UK licence?

Thanks
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Old Jan 19th 2011, 3:29 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Don't know about Ontario, but 10 years ago I was living in Saskatchewan, and I was able to get my Sask drivers licence by simply showing my UK licence (didn't even need to take a test). They took a copy of it, but never asked me to relinquish it (and I wasn't about to either!). Then some time later I moved to Alberta and simply swapped my Sask licence for an Alberta one... no test, no issues.

Fully intend to keep my UK licence active – for trips back to visit family etc. Helps with renting cars back in UK, still useful valid ID, less hassles all round, same as traveling back on a UK passport.. it’s just easier sometimes.
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Old Jan 19th 2011, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Originally Posted by Britsrus View Post
Don't know about Ontario, but 10 years ago I was living in Saskatchewan, and I was able to get my Sask drivers licence by simply showing my UK licence (didn't even need to take a test). They took a copy of it, but never asked me to relinquish it (and I wasn't about to either!). Then some time later I moved to Alberta and simply swapped my Sask licence for an Alberta one... no test, no issues.

Fully intend to keep my UK licence active – for trips back to visit family etc. Helps with renting cars back in UK, still useful valid ID, less hassles all round, same as traveling back on a UK passport.. it’s just easier sometimes.
If that was 10 years ago I presume it isn't a 'photo licence as they, I believe, are only for 5 years at a time. Do you still own and live at the property address on your licence? Otherwise I believe it is a criminal offence to have a driving licence with the wrong address on it (no expert though - others are).
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Old Jan 19th 2011, 8:26 pm
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Default Re: 1987 migrant to Toronto mystified by talk of "swapping" UK licence.

Originally Posted by rivingtonpike View Post
If that was 10 years ago I presume it isn't a 'photo licence as they, I believe, are only for 5 years at a time. Do you still own and live at the property address on your licence? Otherwise I believe it is a criminal offence to have a driving licence with the wrong address on it (no expert though - others are).
Just looked it up - a 'photo licence is valid for 10 years - same as a passport
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