What licence means what in the UK & Important information for Irish licence holders

What licence means what in the UK & Important information for Irish licence holders 

It would not be wrong to assume that the majority of road users in the UK have a full UK driving licence however there are the minority of drivers who hold a foreign licence this is commonly in the form of a European driving licence or a licence of a foreign nationality such as a German driving licence.  Therefore a commonly asked question is ‘how do penalty points apply to each type of licence?’ unfortunately the DVLA and insurance companies provide little information on this topic.

If you have a full UK driving licence and accrue 12 penalty points or more, you will be disqualified from driving for 6 months unless exceptional hardship can be successfully raised.  If disqualified, your licence is wiped clean.  Any penalty points accrued (less than 12) will remain on your licence for 3 years (4 years for insurance purposes).   The DVLA will keep a record of all penalty points accrued (spent and unspent) and will have the responsibility of reinstating any licence post disqualification.  You are able to access your driving licence record by using the online DVLA licence checker.

If you have a European licence this does not mean that you can avoid penalty points.  If penalty points are received for any driving offence, the DVLA will create a ‘shadow’ licence.  If you/when you apply for a UK driving licence (requirement after a certain period of residency in the UK) the points on the shadow licence will be transferred to your full UK driving licence.  You will be limited to a total of 12 penalty points before a disqualification is imposed.

The UK and Ireland

Any penalty points obtained outside of the UK have historically not had any effect on your ability to drive in the UK.  However, The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2017 brings into force s.31 & schedule 7 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (they are currently not in force).  These sections make provision for a driving disqualification imposed by Ireland on a UK resident, or a holder of a UK driving licence, for certain specific road traffic offences to be recognised and given effect in the UK.  Furthermore, any disqualification imposed by the UK on an Irish resident or a holder of an Irish driving licence may have mutual recognition in both the UK and Ireland e.g. if you are disqualified from driving in either Ireland or the UK then you will be disqualified in either Ireland or the UK.  This mutual agreement givens effect to the Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Driving Disqualifications between the UK and Ireland made on 30.10.2015.

Please note the above is not yet in force, however it will come into force once the UK and Ireland have notified the other of the completion of their respective internal procedures for bringing the Agreement into force.

It appears that all attempts are being made to warn drivers not to commit road traffic offences.  At this stage it is not clear what effect ‘Brexit’ will have on the mutual recognition of driving offences and/or a drivers requirement to obtain a full UK driving licence.

DVLA checker: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

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