British expats may have to retake driving test

Up to a million British expats living in the EU may need to retake a driving test in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Updated Government guidance released yesterday stated that “in the event that there is no EU exit deal, you may have to pass a driving test in the EU country you live in to be able to carry on driving there.”

It continued: “You should consider exchanging your UK driving licence for an EU driving licence as soon as possible. Increased demand may lead to longer processing times and delays to exchanging driving licences the closer it is to 29th March 2019.”

Under current rules, people are only allowed one EU driving licence at any one time, which is why people currently have to exchange their licence, rather having both one from the UK and one from another EU country.

Those affected would be able to have a UK licence again, without the need of a test, if they return to live in the UK.

“Thousands of expats, many of them elderly, will not relish the prospect of having to re-take their driving test in a different country and different language if there is no deal,” said Edmund King, President of the AA. “But unless these Brexit driving issues are sorted out soon many UK drivers living in Europe may well need to start practising for a new driving test.”

Motorists who currently drive straight off the ferry and into Europe could also be stopped and turned back at the port if they don’t have the relevant International Driving Permit (IDP), the government warned in the guidance.

Drivers intending on driving in, for example, both France and Spain will need two different IDPs. IDPs can be obtained in post offices throughout the UK for £5.50 each.

Article published 15th January 2019