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Your guide to UK driving with a Pakistani licence

Recently moved to the UK from Pakistan? This is your go-to guide for getting on the road. We’ll break down all the essentials of using your Pakistani driving licence, as well as when and how to switch to a UK licence.

And we’ll touch on a few important bits about car insurance too. 

Can I drive in the UK with my Pakistani driving licence?

Yes, you can drive as normal with your Pakistani licence for up to 12 months from when you arrive in the UK. After that you’ll need a full UK licence.

During this time it’s a good idea to brush up on UK driving laws and get used to the roads. This will be important for getting your UK driving licence.

Can I change my Pakistani driving licence to a UK licence?

Pakistan isn’t on the list of countries that the UK government allows a simple swap of licences for. That means you’ll need a full UK driving licence to stay on the road after your first 12 months are up.

You can apply for a UK licence once you’ve been living in the country for 185 days (roughly 6 months) within the past 12 months. You’ll need to include proof of your permanent address(es) during this time with your application.

How do I get a UK licence as a Pakistani driver?

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to do:

1. Get a UK provisional licence

This type of licence allows you to drive while accompanied by a driving instructor or anyone who’s 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 this licence online through the DVLA website, or by post with a D1 application form. You can get these from most Post Office branches.

Money saving alert 🚨it’s actually cheaper to apply for this online. An online application costs £34 – by post it costs £43.

2. Provide documentation

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

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

3. Pass the theory

It’s time to study 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

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

You don’t have to take formal lessons for this. However, having some sessions with a qualified driving instructor may help you feel more confident and learn about the UK driving laws and practices that you’ll be tested on. 

5. Swap licences

If you pass, all that’s left to do is exchange your provisional for a full UK driver’s 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 you update the licence on your account. If you’re with us, you can do this via the Marshmallow app.

Have more questions? Read our in-depth guide to getting a UK licence

Do I need car insurance as a Pakistani driver?

Absolutely. Like in Pakistan, car insurance is a legal must-have in the UK. So it’s essential to have this in place before you get on the road.

Find out more about different levels of cover

How is UK car insurance different from Pakistan car insurance?

Here are a few differences that it’s important to be aware of:

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 family and friends can’t legally drive your car unless:

  • 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

Okay, so it’s not strictly insurance, but it’s still important. In the UK, car owners are legally required 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 claim-free driving discount

This is often called a No Claims Bonus or No Claims Discount. 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 Pakistan, 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. 

Tell me more about claim-free driving discounts

4. Where you buy car insurance

In the UK, car insurance is often purchased directly from an insurance provider. It’s unusual 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 from an official source.

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

5. Price

Many drivers arriving from Pakistan 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 Pakistani drivers in the UK?

Are we biased? Okay, maybe a little. But come on – our car insurance is made for people who are new to the UK. That means: 

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