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There are different regulations of driving theory test, especially in different areas of Europe and the United Kingdom – Northern Ireland included. There are different details of the procedures, regulations, and also documents. Basically, if you are a beginner driver, it is crucial that you take (and pass) the theory test before taking the practical driving test. However, if you are an experienced driver and you already have your own full driving license, you may not be required to take another (theory) test to drive a different vehicle.
If you are a resident of Northern Ireland, naturally, you are free to drive anything in Northern Ireland. However, you need to have a Great Britain provisional license before driving any vehicle in Great Britain, whether it is a lorry, a bus, a car, or a motorcycle. Besides the provisional license, you also need to complete the residency declaration form and then send it to DVSA (along the proof of your Northern Ireland’s residency). Once it is approved, then you can book the practical driving test.
The United Kingdom
If you want to drive a new vehicle category, then you will take the theory test first. Keep in mind that driving a different vehicle and driving a new vehicle category is totally different. In the first case, you may have a car’s driving license and you usually drive your own car. But then, when you want to drive another car, you don’t need to take another test.
In the latter case, however, you need to take another theory test if you want to drive another type of vehicle. Let’s say that you already have a license for driving a car, and then you want to drive a motorcycle. If you want to have the motorcycle license, you need to take the test again.
However, if you want to upgrade the vehicle but it is still within the same category, you generally aren’t required to take the test. For instance, you already have an automatic car license. When you want to have a license for manual, you won’t have to take the test anymore.
You are responsible for ensuring that you have the proper license for the right vehicle. If you aren’t sure about this condition, you can always contact DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) to confirm your situation.
EEA (European Economic Area)
You are required to have a valid and legal community license if you are within the EEA territory. It includes Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Netherlands, and France. Do your research about the complete countries that include within EEA. If you are visiting Northern Ireland, you are allowed to drive any kinds of vehicle – provided that the license is valid. And it should show the complete entitlement of the vehicle too.
Foreign License Holders
It is possible to exchange your driving license (that is issued outside EEA) with the equal Northern Ireland license. But you need to contact DVSA first to make sure. In the event that you can’t exchange the license, be sure to apply for a provisional license so you must take the theory test as well as practical test.
In short, if you happen to visit the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, as well as other countries within EEA territory, make sure to check with the DVSA concerning the driving license. You don’t want to violate the law and end up paying a huge penalty for it. Check about the requirements for driving theory test too.