Your support is vital for our work. Donate now.
Skip to content
Know your rights guide

Driving

Find out what your rights are to drive in the UK, and how to deal with the police and license issues.

What is new?

Since 2014, the Driving and Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) is not allowed to give you a driving licence if you are not ‘lawfully resident’ in the UK. This applies to all people who do not have leave to remain or leave to enter.

The DVLA can revoke (cancel) your driving licence if they think you are not in the UK with permission. The DVLA does not have to let you know if they cancel your licence. This means you may not find out you are driving illegally until you are stopped by the police.

What powers do the police have?

The police already have powers to stop drivers for any reason. This means that they have the right to stop you even if they do not think you have done something wrong.

If you are stopped by the police when driving, they can demand to see the following documents:

  • Driving licence
  • Insurance certificate
  • MOT certificate

If you do not have these documents with you, you have to take them to a police station within 7 days. If you do not take them to a police station within 7 days then
you are breaking the law and you could be taken to court.

Police officers can also demand that you take a breath test to see if you have been drinking alcohol. If you refuse to take a breath test you are breaking the law and you could be taken to court.

If a police officer thinks that you do not have insurance they sometimes take your car away until you can prove that you have insurance.

What should I say if I am stopped?

You do not have to answer police officers’ questions about your immigration status.

If they ask for them, you must tell the police your name, address, and date of birth. You must also tell them the name and address of the owner of the vehicle. If you refuse to answer those questions then you are probably breaking the law and you could be taken to court.

If a police officer thinks that you have committed a more serious offence, they might decide to arrest you. If that is the case, the police make the following statement: “You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” They will then usually take you to a police station. At the police station you have the right to ask to see a solicitor for free, or talk to one on the phone. Always ask for a solicitor: do not be put off seeing a solicitor by the police. Never talk to the police unless your solicitor advises you to.

Can I check if my license has been revoked?

View or share your driving licence information:
www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

0300 083 0013
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm Saturday, 8am to 2pm

Can I appeal a decision to revoke my licence?

You can appeal to a Magistrates’ Court against the cancellation of your licence.

For more information and support

Liberty

0845 123 2307
020 3145 0461 Monday–Thursday: 6:30pm–8:30pm
Wednesday: 12:30pm–2:30pm

www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk