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In 2013 the law governing the exchange of non GB licences came into effect, although many still seem to be unsure of the current legislation. 
EU Licence Holders 
All driving licences issued by an EU state allow that driver to drive in any part of the EU and there is no need for them to exchange their licences. 
Licence Holders from Designated Countries 
Europe has an arrangement with a number of ‘Designated Countries'* that allow for drivers to exchange their licences for a GB one without taking any additional driving tests. This is because the DVLA recognise that the licence they hold proves that they have already met the appropriate standards to drive in this country. 
*Designated Countries
Andorra, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Zimbabwe. 
Driving licences from these countries will be exchanged for a full British licence providing the driver took and passed their test in one of these countries or an EU/EEA member state. 
Non EU Licence Holders 
Licence holders outside of the EU and who have not passed their test within a Designated Country are not able to exchange their licence. In order to be issued with a full GB driving licence, they must take a theory test and practical test after 12 months of becoming resident. 
For a quick and easy guide to check if your licence is valid to drive in the UK, please click here 
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