February 13, 2012


A BBC investigation has exposed how the DVLA have issued thousands of licences to foreign nationals who shouldn’t have been issued with one.

Nationals from certain countries such as India, the USA, China and Pakistan are not permitted to exchange a licence from their country automatically into a full UK licence without sitting our tests. However, there are some licences from certain countries that can be swapped automatically such as Hong Kong, Canada, Malta and Australia amongst others.

The investigation showed that there are agents in the Capital who are arranging to swap foreign licences into UK ones via a Hong Kong licence. A BBC researcher handed over his passport and Indian licence and within a few weeks he received a legitimate full UK driving licence. The BBC tracked the applications and it showed a fraudulent Hong Kong address and licence.

The DVLA do not keep records of where the drivers of Hong Kong licences, swapped into British ones, originally came from and this has caused concern for many.

Firstly those who are issued a UK licence without sitting the tests here or having any lessons are a danger to other drivers and members of the public. Yet even more alarming is the prospect that some individuals may use these documents for dubious purposes such as people or drug trafficking or terrorism.

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