I'm currently in the UK on a working visa. I know that after I've been here for one year, I will need to exchange my Australian driver's license for a UK one if I want to drive. I've been told that this means surrendering my Australian license card.

My question is, what actually happens to my Australian license as far as Australia (NSW) is concerned? Is it cancelled? If I return to Australia before the expiry date of my original license, do I just report it as missing to the NSW registry and pay the small fee for a replacement card, or do I have to get a completely new license?

  • I am not sure about UK specifically, but in most countries the 'exchanging' authority keeps your original driver's license and allows you to surrender the exchanged license and get your original back. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 30 '18 at 20:24
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo in some jurisdictions (New York, at least), the licensing authority destroys the exchanged license unless you tell them you'll be wanting it back. – phoog May 30 '18 at 20:25
  • @phoog I take it you mean they destroy the physical card, but would they tell the issuing country they destroyed it? Because if the license was still current from Australia's point of view, I would think I'd be able to just order a replacement card. Although if I could get the original back, even better... saves me $26 and a hassle. Potentially. – xtal supports Monica May 30 '18 at 21:03
  • @xtal I haven't looked into the communication that may or may not occur; perhaps it is governed bilaterally by the agreements that allow licenses to be exchanged. All I know is what I've read at dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/drive-new-york-state. – phoog May 30 '18 at 21:09
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    @xtal, According to this page you can always swap the UK license back for a NSW license without taking tests, and you can apply for a new NSW license without tests and without swapping a foreign license within 5 years of the expiry of the old NSW license. Given this is there a reason to care if the UK tells them about that swap or not? – Dennis May 31 '18 at 0:15