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UK driving license mess in Poland


okayokok 1 | 15
9 Oct 2010 #1
Have just signed up here to say hello and to confer about UK ex-pat Driving License Woes, which is why I am posting here rather than my country-specific section.

Am British and emigrated to Poland two years ago. I have a UK photographic driving license, which expired 6 months ago pending photo renewal. Because I live in the city centre in Poland I don't own a car, and haven't driven for that period of 6 months while my license was invalid. But I tend to rent a car when I go on holiday, so I want to have a valid license and am now getting round to doing the renewal. But now all hell has broken loose! I'm in an admin trap that many expats must be facing.

I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that the law is that we should have a new driving license issued by Poland. So really I should be converting my UK license into a Polish one. But the Polish authority need a valid license to do the conversion. So they need me to renew my UK license first. But now that I have checked, the UK DVLA don't renew licenses for expats, only UK residents, and on their renewal form it threatens a £1000 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment to anyone falsely stating their residency status.

I happen to have passed my test first time, and have never had a black spot, an accident nor any kind of speeding fine.

So I have thought up a few possible options:

1. Retake my driving test in Poland, which would be a complete and utter nightmare.

2. Apply to renew my UK license, and lie on the form that I am a UK resident, hoping they won't cross-reference the info with the Inland Revenue and then throw me in jail.

3. Apply for driving license conversion in Poland, hoping they won't notice my UK license has expired.

4. Go to Ukraine or Russia and buy a fake Polish driving license on the black market.

5. Apply to renew my UK license, say on the form that I have just returned to the UK and that I am a UK resident since last week, with the inference that I have yet to get round to making it official with the UK Inland Revenue. Then, once I get the license, simply never declare UK residency because I "unexpectedly had to return to Poland", convert to the Polish license, and throw the UK license away. This is a sort of white-lie version of Point (2).

6. Write to the Polish and British authorities asking them what alternatives I have other than retaking my driving test in Poland.

7. Something that this forum advises.
Harry
9 Oct 2010 #2
Definitely number five.

Please note that there is no need to have a Polish licence in Poland, you can drive here on a British licence for as long as it is valid.
OP okayokok 1 | 15
9 Oct 2010 #3
Nice one. I wonder why the DVLA wont renew the driving license for British expats resident in the EU..
Wroclaw Boy
9 Oct 2010 #4
Number 2, its only a renewal dont worry about it.

cross-reference the info with the Inland Revenue and then throw me in jail.

yeh right, theyve got bigger fish to fry.
terri 1 | 1,665
9 Oct 2010 #5
Do no 5 and beg for mercy. Say that you have returned to the UK last week with the intention of permanent residence.
Wroclaw Boy
9 Oct 2010 #6
Do no 5 and beg for mercy.

Why are so many scared shitless by the system?
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
9 Oct 2010 #7
Nice one. I wonder why the DVLA wont renew the driving license for British expats resident in the EU..

Probably because they can't put a foreign address on the licence, I guess.
skibum 8 | 62
9 Oct 2010 #8
As long as you have an address in UK that you can use for correspondence (Parents, family etc) then just apply for the renewal with a change of address.
terri 1 | 1,665
9 Oct 2010 #9
Why are so many scared shitless by the system?

...because ...you can't beat the system.
Wroclaw Boy
9 Oct 2010 #10
Of course you can, its all a question of numbers. Fear rules the system its all based on fear.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
9 Oct 2010 #11
...because ...you can't beat the system.

In the UK, you most certainly can ;)

The DVLA's records are infamously inaccurate.
OP okayokok 1 | 15
11 Oct 2010 #12
Wroclaw Boy,

I am not scared of the system, but when you read the DVLA photo license renewal form it does make you think twice. It makes you declare that you are a UK resident, on pain of a £1000 fine and 2 years imprisonment. It is quite pathetic, and made me laugh, but also inclines me to go for point 5 rather than point 2. One never knows when one is going to get fcuked by a British bureaucrat who gets a sick pleasure from going by the book.
Harry
11 Oct 2010 #13
It makes you declare that you are a UK resident, on pain of a £1000 fine and 2 years imprisonment.

And at the time that you applied for the licence renewal, you were indeed a UK resident. It was only a couple of days later that you realised that you prefer living in Poland and so moved back here.
tonywob 6 | 43
11 Oct 2010 #14
I was in the same boat. I phoned the DVLA, explained the situation to them, and they posted me out the D1 form to Poland, which I sent back with a photograph, a cheque. I used my dad's address on the license and was told this wouldn't be a problem. They posted the license back to Poland.
OP okayokok 1 | 15
11 Oct 2010 #15
Tonywob,

This is an interesting surprise. Thanks. But presumably you were officially still a "UK resident" for tax purposes... in other words even though you were living Poland you were not paying tax in Poland but in the UK...

Otherwise, I cant see why the DVLA would break their own rules...
tonywob 6 | 43
11 Oct 2010 #16
Yes, I work for an British company and still pay tax and NI in the UK, but I don't have a home address, so I used my Dad's. I was honest, and they were fine with this. I told them I had no intention of swapping it for a Polish license.

However in your case, I can see it's much more complex because technically you live and work in Poland. I believe, they will send you a license out, but only if you have the intention of returning to the UK. It might be worth phoning them and saying that you will be returning to the UK within the next few months and you need to renew your license.

Good Luck :-)
OP okayokok 1 | 15
11 Oct 2010 #17
Right, so technically you are and always have been a British resident, which is why they had no issue with you at all.

I`m a British non-resident, hence the bizarre solution we have found on this forum, which is that I am going to become a UK resident again for a few days, just so as to renew my UK driving license according to the DVLA rules. Incidentally, I wont even fly back to the UK - it will all be on paper.

Nuts.
Varsovian 92 | 634
11 Oct 2010 #18
Hey - it's all bleedin' simple.

You go down to gmina (now this bit took me 10 years!) and you say "I would like to swap my UK driving licence for a Polish licence" - you hand over your application form (my wife kindly downloaded one for me) and your licence. They issue you with a new one in about a week and it costs peanuts (which incidentally sounds very funny when said by a Spanish girl, but that's another matter).

So, where is the problem?

Oh I get it - you're still paralysed by fear of not doing absolutely everything by the book. How charmingly English.

I used to behave like that. I proudly told a Polish consular official in London years ago, when applying for a visa just prior to emigrating, that I had sold my house in London and was going to live in Poland. Totally the wrong thing to do!! By selling my house I then had no "address" and was essentially stateless - Did I want to apply for political asylum? That way lies madness!
tonywob 6 | 43
11 Oct 2010 #19
you hand over your application form (my wife kindly downloaded one for me) and your licence

But can you use an expired photocard license?
Varsovian 92 | 634
11 Oct 2010 #20
Sorry - I hadn't bothered to read the first posts.

I didn't know your UK licence could expire. Have you still got the card? One way ahead would be to go to the UK consulate/embassy/fortress (Ever been there? It's scary) and sign a declaration (equivalent to a notarial deed in Polish admin eyes) saying that you would be entitled to a UK licence if you lived there. Then give no more explanation whatsoever. That would sway any doubting Polish admin girl who doubts your licence.

But - does it say on the card that it has expired? If it hasn't, then there's absolutely no problem.
tonywob 6 | 43
12 Oct 2010 #21
The photocard license clearly has an expiry date and one can easily see the license has expired. The paper part of the license has a different expiry date (Mine is when I reach 70). So technically the paper part of the license still proves the entitlement of a license in the UK.

The photocard license must be renewed once every 10 years, and it is illegal to drive without it.
OP okayokok 1 | 15
12 Oct 2010 #22
Tonywob,

Exactly. Question is - in order for the Poles convert the UK license to a Polish one will they accept the valid paper part alone or will they insist on getting my (invalid) photo part as well...
Trevek 26 | 1,702
12 Oct 2010 #23
The photocard license must be renewed once every 10 years, and it is illegal to drive without it.

Yes, I just found this out. My HGV licence is due to expire (haven't used it in over 20 years anyway) but it seems I do have to renew my photo next year. I rang DVLA, who said i can only beresident in one country. However, they said I can renew HGV later, when i come back to UK.
Varsovian 92 | 634
12 Oct 2010 #24
For what it's worth, I replaced my UK paper licence with a Polish photocard licence. My wife did too.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
12 Oct 2010 #25
I had a bump the other day. cost me 220 zlots but the sight of the UK license discouraged them from giving me points.
Harry
12 Oct 2010 #26
Half the time it makes them forget about even giving any fine (or at least it makes them open bidding for the unofficial fine at a very reasonable level).
Trevek 26 | 1,702
12 Oct 2010 #27
Sadly not in this case!
adams - | 1
2 Nov 2010 #28
hi have just moved here from Uk, have received form from DVLA to renew my photo. They told me i should get a Polish licence as i am living here and can swap back to a uk licence when i return to uk. is this adviseable?

They also said if the polish authorities 'dont mind' about the photo expiring then i coud still use the licence as technically expires when im 70! how do i go about finding out if this is the case? and if not getting the form? Thanks!
kaznoad - | 30
2 Nov 2010 #29
Number 2 without a doubt. Of course you will actually need to still have some sort of UK address. If not use the address of any other family member - of course with their knowledge.
fuzzyhead - | 2
9 Nov 2011 #30
Merged: GB - Polish(or EC/EEA) driving license - long winded question!

Hi

I am completely new to this but so please be kind!

Well my question is if you are Polish or from any other part of the EC/EEA and you have lived in the UK for more than a certain amount of time - say over 4 years - without a valid driving license are you legally allowed to return to your home country and take your driving test there with the view to driving in the UK not in your home country? So you are still living and working in the UK and have no plans to actually drive in your home country?

I know you can move here on a valid EC/EEA license and swoop it for a GB one, but if you live and work here and have no plans to return to your home country it doesn't seem right that you can return to your home country and take your test and drive here immediately, you would be a completely new driver on foreign roads and that seems extremely dangerous to me even if the test is exactly the same with exactly the same requirements it still seems too dangerous! As well as most countries having there own set of driving laws and rule and things like roundabouts and driving on different sides of the roads in different sides of the car.

Sorry its a bit long winded! And I'm not singling anyone out here I think it should be the same everywhere. I think you should have been driving for x amount of years in your home county before your allowed to drive on any foreign roads.

Anyway thank you in advance.


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