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Can I ride with a US licence?

I got my license 20 years ago in the USA and have owned several bikes; my latest being a Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE. I have just returned to London and have learnt that after a year I’ll have to take a Direct access course. Not a chance! I’ve done every course I can think of and I’m now 50. I’ll buy a 125CC scooter before I’ll allow this government to take advantage of me. The 4 stages we have here are a joke. Can you shed any light on why a USA license cannot be transferred?

After I was told this, the DVLA said that if I fly back to the USA within 12 months (I do it every 3 months as I own a business and a home there), by doing so would re-set the 12 month law. Which is the correct position?

Brian, by e-mail



Having looked at the Gov.UK website, the basic rule is that you cannot exchange a US licence for a GB one but you can drive for up to 12 months on your US licence. After 12 months you’ll need to take a theory and a practical test to get a Great Britain issued driving licence.

However, for someone in your position coming to- and fro- the rule is different: You can drive any type of small vehicle (for example cars or motorcycles) listed on your full and valid licence for 12 months from when you last entered Great Britain (GB) . Therefore the DVLA appears to be correct.

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