The Department for Infrastructure has announced plans to take forward legislation to extend the validity period of Ukrainian driving licences in Northern Ireland from 12 months to 36 months (three years).
This follows a recent consultation exercise and is in line with the temporary nature and length of stay granted to those Ukrainians who have arrived in the UK under one of the three official schemes (the Family, Sponsor and Extension visa schemes).
The change in legislation will be an additional measure in the support and delivery of key services aimed at those Ukrainians who have arrived here, which is co-ordinated by The Executive Office, working in partnership with the UK Government, NI Departments, other devolved administrations, statutory agencies and the voluntary and community sector.
The move will improve the ability of Ukrainian driving licence holders to get around and adapt to living in NI as they will not need to exchange their licence or take a further test during the extended period in order to continue driving a manual car including any such vehicle, they brought with them to NI.
The change will not allow them to drive on their Ukrainian licence indefinitely and the extension will only apply to category B (car) licence holders. Licences in other categories are not being considered at this time.
Any Ukrainian who stays in NI beyond the time period of their Ukraine scheme visa and who had passed their test in Ukraine before 28 December 2021 would still be expected to undergo a manual practical test, should they want a manual entitlement licence.
A full summary of responses to the consultation is available on the DfI website.
Notes to editors:
- A public consultation on a proposal to extend the validity period of Ukrainian driving licences in Northern Ireland issued on 6 September 2023 and closed on 3 October 2023. Documents can be accessed at the DfI website.
- Of those who responded to the consultation, almost 96% agreed with the proposed extension from 12 months to 36 months, in line with the legislation in GB.
- Ukrainians who have arrived in the UK under one of the three official schemes (the Family, Sponsor and Extension visa schemes) are allowed to stay for up to 3 years with the intention that they return to Ukraine as soon as circumstances allow.
- A change to secondary legislation will now be required to effect the change and allow Ukrainian licence holders to continue driving in NI on their Ukrainian licence for a period of up to 36 months (3 years).
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