How to Drive Without a License Legally: Legal Defence (Updated)

Drive Without a License Legally

Do you live in the UK? Are you having doubts about driving since you don’t have a driver’s license? Have you been asking questions about how to drive without a license legally in the UK?

Well, I understand your plight. And that is why I have put together this article about how to drive without a license legally in the UK. Just keep reading.

Truth is, with a valid driver’s license, you can drive effortlessly in the UK. But there’s more to driving in the UK than just having a valid license. Anyway, you’ll figure it out.

Driving in The UK

Driving in the UK is quite similar to driving in other Western/European countries. They also share similar types of roads and rules. But there’s a major difference to note. In the UK, driving is on the left side of the road.

About 34% of countries around the world drive on the left side of the road with exception of the US, Canada, and most of Europe. And, foreigners in the UK might find this challenging to adapt to.

In 2017, the UK had over 31.2 million passenger cars with its residents. This is the European Union’s third-highest after France and Germany. But the number of vehicles for each resident was about 0.47. And this is less than the European Union’s average (0.51). About 76% of UK households own a van/car.

Also, there’s an arm of the UK’s Transport Department that handles the database of registered drivers in the UK. It is called the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Whereas, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) carries out the same responsibility in Northern Ireland.

Who Can Drive in The UK?

Are you aged 17 and above? Or have you passed your driving test? If your answer to the above questions is yes, then you can drive legally in the UK. However, the UK has driving agreements with the European Economic Area (EEA), European Union (EU), Switzerland, and a few other countries.

Therefore, the citizens of such countries can use their foreign licenses in the UK. But, the circumstances could change based on the agreements between the UK and European Union after Brexit. For nationals from other countries, it is also worthy to note that you can only use your foreign license for a limited time.

And afterward, get the UK driving license. You can as well look up the UK government website to check if you can use your foreign license to drive in the UK.

The UK Driving License

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (in Northern Ireland) issues driving licenses in the UK. And these licenses often come in a credit card format. Below are the details in the UK driving license:

  • The driver’s photograph.
  • Address, full name, and date of birth of the driver.
  • Date issued and expiry date of the license (often valid for 10 years).
  • The unique license number comprises a configuration of numbers and letters alongside the first few letters of the driver’s last name.

Keep in mind that the UK driving licenses also contain photos of both the UK and EU flags.

Drive Without a Licence Legally: How to Get a Driving License in the UK

The first thing to do in your pursuit of a UK driving license is to get a provisional license. They are valid for 10 years. If you’ve attained 15 years and nine months, then you’re eligible to apply for it.

With the provisional license, you will drive under supervision. And this is required to take the UK’s driving tests. To apply for a UK provisional license, use the D1 form. It will only cost you £43 by post or £34 online (depending on the one you prefer).

Meanwhile, you’re to provide the following information:

  • Your valid ID or passport
  • Addresses including your present address alongside addresses of where you’ve lived in the past three years
  • National Insurance Number

When you pass the driving tests (practical and theory), you will now be eligible to apply for a full UK driving license. If you were given the photo card version of the provisional license, your driving test examiner will forward your driving test pass certificate to the DVLA. And your full license will be ready in three weeks.

Meanwhile, if you changed your name since you received your provisional license or your provisional license is a paper version, then you have to apply to the DVLA by post. To do this, check the UK government website.

Every 10 years, you also have to renew your UK driving license. The cost of doing this is within the range of £14-17. However, it is free for people aged 70 and above. For more information on how to go about this, visit the UK government website.

How to Drive Without a License Legally in The UK

Now, on how to drive without a license legally in the UK. Due to digital cameras, it’s a risky thing to drive without a license in the UK. This is because those cameras have automated license plate recognition.

So, once the police apprehend you, you’ll be made to face the consequences. Therefore, you cannot drive without a license legally in the UK. However, the only way to drive without a license legally in the UK is to drive on completely private property.

To do this, make an Off-road Regulatory Notice and you wouldn’t be able to drive the car on a road that’s accessible to the public. Again, if you’re found driving while under the influence of alcohol without having a valid driver’s license, you will be prohibited from driving for at least a year. You could also face a jail term or fine.

When you fail the practical driving test and are driving without permission, it means you’re driving without a driver’s license. Some variants of this offense do not carry any penalty points and will almost certainly result in a higher fine in this scenario. You run a major risk of being jailed if you drive while disqualified.

The UK law demands that you have a valid driver’s license if you want to drive a car/vehicle. Although there’s an exception to this. If you’re a learner with a provisional license, alongside an adult driver’s license holder (who’s had the license a minimum of 3 years) and the car L license plates.

If you drive without a driving license, you can attract 3-6 penalty points and possibly a £1000 fine based on the offense committed. And if someone had died or sustained injuries because you drove without a driver’s license, then you’re in for a stringent penalty (such as 14 years imprisonment, alongside fines).

UK Car Insurance

It is essential to have car insurance in the UK. With exceptions to your vehicles that were declared “off the road” because you don’t use them, you must insure all the vehicles you use on the road. Below are some of the leading car insurance providers in the UK:

You can choose from any of the aforementioned insurance providers to have your vehicle insured.


You can’t possibly drive without a license legally in the UK. It is a serious offense to drive without a license in the UK and is punishable by the law. But the only way to drive without a license legally in the UK is by driving on private property.

So, after reading this article, I’m pretty sure you now understand how to drive without a license legally in the UK. But wait! Was there ever a time you had to drive without a license legally in the UK? We’d like to know.


What is the penalty for driving without a driving license in the UK?

The offense of driving without a license is also called “driving otherwise than under a license”. And this offense can attract 3 to 6 penalty points and about a £1,000 fine.

Then, if you’re found driving without passing your driving test, you’re likely to be banned from driving (when you pass the test).

I am not a UK citizen. How do I tell if my international license is valid?

Simply check here to see if you can use your international driving license to drive in the UK. Meanwhile, if you intend to stay for a long time in the UK, you can drive with the license for 12 months starting from when you come into the UK. Then, you must apply for a UK provisional driving license and take the driving test.

What does it mean to drive while disqualified?

Driving while disqualified means driving after you’ve been prohibited by a court. It also means driving without insurance. Note that, when you’re banned by a court, your insurance becomes automatically invalid.

What happens if I'm caught driving with an expired license?

Driving with an expired license can incur penalty fines of up to £1,000. However, the DVLA might forgive, based on your reasons for delaying your license renewal.



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