London is a cosmopolitan city with visitors and residents from all over the world. Many come to London in possession of a driving licence from their own country and wherever they are from want help with simply familiarising themselves with driving in the UK (and driving on the left hand side of the road!) which we here at Chelsea Driving School are very well versed at assisting with.
Since 2009 under the Road Traffic Act foreign drivers face £900 on-the-spot fines for traffic offences and if they are unable to pay or leave credit card details, their vehicles will be clamped until they are able to comply.
The scheme applies to roadside offences, such as speeding, a defective vehicle, ignoring a red light etc. A driver caught using a hand-held mobile phone will have to pay a £60 fine or deposit, while other offences such as careless driving will entail a payment of £300. The maximum deposit will be levied if the driver has committed a number of offences. If the motorist is either cleared - should the case go to court - or a lesser fine imposed, the difference will be refunded.
What many do not realise is that their foreign driving licences do not entitle them to drive in the UK for an unlimited period and that at some point they must take the UK driving test and acquire a UK driving licence.
The rules as to when a foreign licence holder must obtain a UK driving licence depend on what your country of origin is and these are set out below with links to the official government website that explains the laws on foreign driving licence holders in the UK:
Driving in the UK on a foreign licence
European (EC/EEA) Driving Licence Holders
Basically drivers from this area are fully licenced to drive in the UK and do not need to pass the UK driving test.
All other countries/worldwide Driving Licence Holders in the UK
Essentially these rules state that if you come from outside of Europe you must convert and apply for a UK driving licence, which involves passing the UK driving test, within 12 months of becoming a resident.
We at Chelsea Driving School are experts at helping new drivers to the UK convert their experience into what is necessary to pass the UK driving exam and get your UK driving licence. If you do have to pass the test we suggest contacting us well in advance of the 12 month deadline at which you will need to take the practical and theory driving exams so that we can assess and plan for you what you will need to learn and master before you are unable to legally drive on the roads in the UK.
We have driving instructors with many years of experience teaching experienced overseas drivers the necessary driver training to pass the UK driving test, with some able to converse and give lessons in languages other than English (ask for details).
If you are looking to learn to drive having had no previous driving experience in your home country and do not hold any type of driving licence then you will first need to apply for a provisional driving licence before you can get behind the wheel of any car in the UK, even with one of our driving instructors in a dual controlled car.
You can apply for a provisional driving licence here: