Back to blog

Road ready? A checklist for Nigerian drivers in the UK

Moved to the UK from Nigeria? Ready to get on the road? You’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know as a Nigerian driver in the UK, from the licence you need, to essential car insurance know-how. 

Can I use my Nigerian international driving licence in the UK?

Good news – you can drive with your Nigerian driving licence in the UK for up to 12 months. After that, you’ll need a UK driving licence.

To start the process of getting your UK licence you need to be a resident in the country. So, you’ll need to prove you’ve been living here for 185 days (roughly 6 months) within the past 12 months when applying for your licence. 

Find out how to get your UK driving licence

Can I exchange my Nigerian driver’s licence for a UK one?

No, not directly. Nigeria isn’t on the UK government’s list of countries that can swap licences, so after your first 12 months in the UK you’ll need a UK licence to keep driving. Here’s how you can get one.

1. Get a provisional licence

Before anything else, you’ll need a UK provisional driving licence. This type of licence allows you to drive accompanied by a driving instructor or anyone who has held a UK driving licence for 3 or more years. You’ll also need to put L plates on your car and make sure it has specific insurance for a learner driver if you’re past the 12 month point.

You can apply for your provisional online through the DVLA website, or by post with a D1 application form. You can get these from most Post Office branches. 

A quick tip: it’s actually cheaper to apply for this online. An online application costs £34 – by post it costs £43.

2. Gather your documents

Along with your application, you'll need to provide:

  • A form of identification (e.g. a valid passport)
  • Proof of address for the past 185 days
  • Your Nigerian driving licence

3. Pass your theory test

Yes, It’s time to brush up on your UK Highway Code and UK road signs. Book your test via the DVLA website and expect questions on UK road laws and a hazard perception test. This costs £24. 

4. Pass the practical driving test

Once you’ve passed your theory you can book your UK practical driving test. This costs between £62 - £75. 

There’s no requirement to have formal lessons. However, having some time with a qualified driving instructor may help you get to grips with the UK driving practices and laws that you’ll be tested on.

5. Exchange

Congratulations! 🎉 You’ve passed and are now a fully fledged UK driver. All that’s left is to exchange your provisional for a full UK driving licence for free via post.

6. Tell us!

It’s important to tell your insurer about changes to your licence. So as soon as you have your new UK licence, make sure you update the licence on your account. If you’re with us, you can do this via the Marshmallow app.

Talking of car insurance… 👀

Do I have to get car insurance as a Nigerian driver in the UK?

Yes, 100%. Car insurance is a legal must-have in the UK so it’s essential to have this in place before you start driving.

Find out more about different levels of cover

How is UK car insurance different from Nigerian car insurance?

Here are a few differences you might come across:

1. Who can drive your car?

Your UK car policy will only cover yourself and any named drivers on your policy to drive the car you’ve insured. That means if family and friends want to drive your car, legally they’ll need to either:

  • They’re a named driver on your policy (which may affect the price) or…
  • They have their own insurance that covers them to drive other cars

It also means you can’t drive anyone else’s car without specific insurance.

2. Road tax

In the UK, car owners are required by law to pay a yearly tax on their car, unless it’s officially declared as ‘off-road’ (SORN) and kept in a private driveway or garage. You can’t drive or park your car on a public road otherwise.

Find out more about UK road tax

3. Proof of your claim-free driving discount

In the UK this is often called a No Claims Discount or No Claims Bonus. This is the UK system for rewarding drivers based on the number of years they’ve been driving without making a claim. If you had car insurance in Nigeria, or any other country, you may be able to request proof of this from your previous insurer.

At Marshmallow we work with lots of insurers from different countries to verify these certificates. 

Read more about claim-free driving discounts

4. Buying car insurance

In the UK, car insurance is usually purchased directly from an insurance provider. It’s less common to use a broker, or to pay someone for this service. So, when you’ve found car insurance that’s right for you, always check you’re buying it via an official source.

For example, we don’t work with brokers at Marshmallow. So if a person wants you to pay them for getting one of our policies, you can be sure that it’s a fake.

5. Price

Many Nigerian drivers find that car insurance is generally much pricier in the UK – and in most cases it’s even more expensive for drivers like you, who are new to the UK. That’s where we come in. 

Find out why car insurance is more expensive in the UK

What’s the best car insurance for Nigerian drivers in the UK?

Okay, we’ll admit it – we’re a little biased. But our car insurance is designed for newcomers to the UK. That means:

  • We consider all your driving experience to give you a fairer price – in Nigeria and anywhere else in the world.
  • We’ll apply a verified Nigerian claim-free driving discount so you can save up to 45% *on your cover.
  • You can pay monthly for your cover, which not all providers allow.

Want to get a quick quote? 

*In July 2023, our average quote for UK newcomers was more than 45% cheaper than the equivalent quote with zero years of driving and claim-free experience. At Marshmallow, we accept driving and claim-free history from all countries.