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Having both a UK and US driving license

Having both a UK and US driving license

Old Sep 28th 2023, 7:24 am
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by mikelincs
You will be expected to surrender your US license when exchanging.
Neither our son or daughter had to send in their US licence when they passed their test to get a UK licence. Exchanging was not an option. They could drive on their US licence while they applied for and got a learner UK licence and then took their test and the examiner kept their UK licence and a full licence arrived a few days later. (He also gave them an official certificate allowing them to drive while waiting for the full UK licence to arrive). They were allowed to drive alone on their US licence while holding the UK learner licence.
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Old Sep 28th 2023, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by durham_lad
Neither our son or daughter had to send in their US licence when they passed their test to get a UK licence. Exchanging was not an option. They could drive on their US licence while they applied for and got a learner UK licence and then took their test and the examiner kept their UK licence and a full licence arrived a few days later. (He also gave them an official certificate allowing them to drive while waiting for the full UK licence to arrive). They were allowed to drive alone on their US licence while holding the UK learner licence.
Hi durham_lad, in response to your last point about your kids being allowed to drive using a US license whilst holding a UK learner license. My US wife has a UK learner license, she was under the impression that I had to accompany her in the car whilst she was driving, is she legally allowed to drive alone without being pulled over by the police?
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Old Sep 28th 2023, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by Nypool1e
..... My US wife has a UK learner license, she was under the impression that I had to accompany her in the car whilst she was driving, is she legally allowed to drive alone without being pulled over by the police?
A full US (non-UK) license is valid in the UK for 12 months after taking up residence in the UK. .... But if your wife is pulled over and asked for her licence she should only show her US license as that is what she is relying on for permission to drive - showing a UK provisional licence would confuse matters and is irrelevant as she has a driving license which is recognized by the UK, albeit for only 12 months.
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Old Sep 28th 2023, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by Pulaski
A full US (non-UK) license is valid in the UK for 12 months after taking up residence in the UK. .... But if your wife is pulled over and asked for her licence she should only show her US license as that is what she is relying on for permission to drive - showing a UK provisional licence would confuse matters and is irrelevant as she has a driving license which is recognized by the UK, albeit for only 12 months.
Exactly.

Our son never put L plates on his car and took his test in a driving instructor's car. Our daughter took her driving test in her own car and for the test she put on L plates plus added a second rear view mirror. Prior to that she drove around in her car on her US licence.

ETA
Both passed first time although our son had to sit the written test twice
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Old Oct 3rd 2023, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by mikelincs
You will be expected to surrender your US license when exchanging.
Originally Posted by durham_lad
Neither our son or daughter had to send in their US licence when they passed their test to get a UK licence. Exchanging was not an option. They could drive on their US licence while they applied for and got a learner UK licence and then took their test and the examiner kept their UK licence and a full licence arrived a few days later. (He also gave them an official certificate allowing them to drive while waiting for the full UK licence to arrive). They were allowed to drive alone on their US licence while holding the UK learner licence.
Different scenario to the OP. Your children did not already hold a UK licence so they couldn’t exchange unlike the OP.

As observed elsewhere on the thread, the OP is perfectly entitled to drive on his US licence as a non-resident. Once resident he’ll need to exchange his US licence for his UK licence within 12 months of arrival.
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Old Oct 3rd 2023, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by BritInParis
Different scenario to the OP. Your children did not already hold a UK licence so they couldn’t exchange unlike the OP.

As observed elsewhere on the thread, the OP is perfectly entitled to drive on his US licence as a non-resident. Once resident he’ll need to exchange his US licence for his UK licence within 12 months of arrival.
Maybe we did something wrong when we returned because we still held UK licences but did not exchange our US licences, we simply renewed our old UK licences. They were the old paper sort that had not expired but had the wrong address on them.

I don't suppose it really matters. As soon as we received our new UK licences we never used our US licences again and they expired within a couple of years anyway.

Last edited by durham_lad; Oct 3rd 2023 at 2:04 pm.
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Old Oct 3rd 2023, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by durham_lad
Maybe we did something wrong when we returned because we still held UK licences but did not exchange our US licences, we simply renewed our old UK licences. They were the old paper sort that had not expired but had the wrong address on them.

I don't suppose it really matters. As soon as we received our new UK licences we never used our US licences again and they expired within a couple of years anyway.
I think holding two potentially valid (yeah, I know that UK and US (state) licences have a residency requirement) driving licenses could be an offence, so carrying both while driving would be ill-advised. But having your previous licence at home unused (not shown to a police officer as evidence of permission to drive) in a drawer, is extremely unlikely to cause an issue IMO.

In both the US (almost all states) and UK, the flaw in the process is forcing the immigrant driver to take a road test, as that seems to have inadvertently created the circumstance where the driver is not required/ expected to hand over his/her foreign licence.

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 3rd 2023 at 2:33 pm.
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Old Oct 5th 2023, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by durham_lad
Exactly.

Our son never put L plates on his car and took his test in a driving instructor's car. Our daughter took her driving test in her own car and for the test she put on L plates plus added a second rear view mirror. Prior to that she drove around in her car on her US licence.

ETA
Both passed first time although our son had to sit the written test twice
What is the purpose of the second mirror? Also did either one take the automatic test?
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Old Oct 5th 2023, 8:17 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by kateg60
What is the purpose of the second mirror? .....
So that the examiner has his own rear view mirror, so that he doesn't ask the driver to start a maneuver, other than a simple turn to left or right, when there is a vehicle behind.

When I did my own test in the UK, the examiner had me pull over and he explained a few things about the test, including the protocol for an emergency stop. After restarting I soon had a vehicle following me, and after several minutes the examiner told me that we couldn't do the emergency stop because of traffic, but we'd do it later in the test. .... It did come later in the test, but without any further announcement or pre-warning. So the emergency stop was more of a test for me than it would normally have been, after a short moment of me thinking "WTF was he doing?" :
... Also did either one take the automatic test?
I'm betting "no". Nobody wants a restricted license if they can avoid it. I think mostly it's only people who learn to drive later in life, such as women who never learned to drive, but needed to after their husband died, who take an automatic test.

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 5th 2023 at 8:29 pm.
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Old Oct 5th 2023, 8:43 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by kateg60
What is the purpose of the second mirror? Also did either one take the automatic test?
These are the requirements to use your own car to take a test

https://www.gov.uk/driving-test/using-your-own-car

The 2nd mirror is for use by the examiner. They both took a test in an automatic since they both grew up in the USA and had never driven a manual and don’t ever plan to. My son drives a hybrid car and my daughter an EV. In fact the examiner had never done a test in a full EV before and was quite interested and asking questions after the test. He had told her she could now switch off the ignition and she said “sure, but you likely won’t see any difference “. Her car is one where you never need touch the power switch, and it only turns off the displays once you exit the car.

Neither of them were asked to do an emergency stop, probably because it is impossible to stall an automatic plus both of their cars will execute an emergency stop of their own accord if they detect a possible collision. The “written” test beforehand includes an interactive video which repeatedly tests the persons reaction times to possible dangers while driving so these days an emergency stop is really checking that the person doesn’t stall the car when pressing both clutch and brake pedals. ABS and skid control systems also minimize the chances of wheel lock during an emergency stop.


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Old Oct 6th 2023, 1:18 am
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by Pulaski
Originally Posted by kateg60
... Also did either one take the automatic test?
.... I'm betting "no". Nobody wants a restricted license if they can avoid it. .....
I wuz wrong.
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Old Oct 8th 2023, 5:49 pm
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Default Re: Having both a UK and US driving license

Originally Posted by durham_lad
These are the requirements to use your own car to take a test

https://www.gov.uk/driving-test/using-your-own-car

The 2nd mirror is for use by the examiner. They both took a test in an automatic since they both grew up in the USA and had never driven a manual and don’t ever plan to. My son drives a hybrid car and my daughter an EV. In fact the examiner had never done a test in a full EV before and was quite interested and asking questions after the test. He had told her she could now switch off the ignition and she said “sure, but you likely won’t see any difference “. Her car is one where you never need touch the power switch, and it only turns off the displays once you exit the car.

Neither of them were asked to do an emergency stop, probably because it is impossible to stall an automatic plus both of their cars will execute an emergency stop of their own accord if they detect a possible collision. The “written” test beforehand includes an interactive video which repeatedly tests the persons reaction times to possible dangers while driving so these days an emergency stop is really checking that the person doesn’t stall the car when pressing both clutch and brake pedals. ABS and skid control systems also minimize the chances of wheel lock during an emergency stop.
Thanks, I plan to take automatic test as I did not learn to drive UK.
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