Driving on Secondment to the UK

Many companies have a workforce which includes overseas employees seconded to the UK on short-term contracts. We present the current rules for non-UK licence holders driving in the UK, along with the vehicle solutions available.

Driving in the uk on an international driving licence

To drive in the UK, holders of a foreign driving licence must be aged 17+ for cars and motorcycles, and 21+ for lorries and buses.

The duration of your employee’s stay in the UK, their country of origin and their insurance all impact their permission to drive in the UK on their current licence. Read on to learn more.

1. Up to 12 months

Holders of a full, valid driving licence issued in their home country will be able to drive in the UK for at least a year. To continue driving in the UK thereafter they will need to hold a British driving licence either by exchanging their national licence or by passing the UK test.

2. After 12 months

a) EU licence
Car and Motorcycle licence holders from EU member countries will be able to use their existing licence until it expires (upon reaching 70 years of age, or 3 years after becoming a UK resident, whichever’s longest).

Vocational licence holders (Lorry, minibus, bus) can use their existing licence:

  • until aged 45 or for 5 years after becoming resident (whichever’s longer)
  • until their 66th birthday if aged 45-65, or for 5 years after becoming resident (whichever’s longer)
  • for 12 months after becoming resident if over 65.

They will need to pass a UK driving test to continue driving after these periods.

If they’ve previously exchanged a non-EU licence for an EU licence, this will only be valid for 12 months here, and they’ll need to pass a UK driving test to continue driving thereafter.

b) Designated Country Licences
Holders of licences from countries designated in UK law, if resident, can exchange their licence for the British equivalent (cars and motorcycle licences only). These are: Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe. Holders of licences issued in Jersey, Guernsey, IoM and Gibraltar can also exchange their Vocational entitlement too.

c) All other countries:
Visitors:allowed to drive small vehicles (motorcycles and vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to 8 passenger seats) for up to 12 months after the date of last entry to the UK. Thereafter, they would not be permitted to drive, nor to take a UK test to obtain a UK licence.

New Residents: As for Visitors, however, as residents they would be able to sit a UK test and obtain a UK licence.

Vehicle options for drivers on secondment here

1. They bring their own vehicle
European-registered cars can be driven in the UK for 6 months without needing to be registered. Non-EU cars are admitted to the UK on a case-by-case basis to check they meet safety and emissions standards.

2. Purchase a vehicle
Requiring a large capital investment, and adding a strongly depreciating asset to your balance sheet, means purchasing a vehicle is a big commitment for a short-term placement. You’ll also be liable for wear-and-tear aspects of its maintenance plus road fund licence, along with having to arrange disposal of the vehicle at the end of its use.

3. Lease a vehicle…?
You may have discounted leasing as an option for seconded employees, short-term hires or contractual workers, but here at Windsor Vehicle Leasing we believe we have a variety of solutions to suit your needs. Whether the lease is set up as a company car, or to be paid for by the employee directly, we are certain we can help.

Call us on 01753 851561 to speak to a leasing expert about your options or use our contact form.

How can windsor vehicle leasing help?

If the secondment is for a fixed term of two years or more, we can arrange lease periods to match the time in the UK, with no need for a big initial outlay or worrying about disposal at the end. All you will need to do is arrange the insurance.

If the secondment has been arranged last minute or is for a shorter period… no problem! We often have vehicles in group stock ready to go either for the entire secondment period or just until your new vehicle arrives. Should our stock be fully utilised our short-term hire team can pull a vehicle in from the many partners that support us.

If you are unsure how long the secondment will last, that’s no problem either! We have a flexible leasing solution which offers short-term lease vehicles with contracts from as little as 1 month, with a rolling monthly rental – effectively a pay-as-you-go lease deal!!

No ownership option, Contract Hire; eligibility conditions apply. Terms and conditions apply, too – please ask for full details.
Whilst we strive to ensure the information presented is correct at the time of publication, it is not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon when making decisions or taking action.

Whether short- or long-term, all our vehicle leases include cover of the vehicle’s maintenance, servicing, fair wear and tear, road tax and Roadside emergence assistance.