I recently met a problem about renting a car in UK. I came from China and have lived in UK for around 2 years. The UK licence I just got is less than one year so most car hire company won't rent a car to me (even Enterprise did not give to me because of the new system ). However, technically, I can rent a car with my Chinese licence since it is older than 2 years.

So can I rent a car with the Chinese licence since I can drive in UK technically because I have a valid UK licence?


According to two British government guides (linked below), you can only drive on your foreign drivers license in the UK for a maximum of a year after you enter the country, so the answer is no - while the foreign license is still valid in the country of issue, its grace period in the UK has past.

If you do succeed in renting the vehicle under your Chinese license and are stopped by the police, you could technically be charged with driving without a valid license and thus driving without valid insurance (and your UK license would potentially only cover you for that first charge - the insurance would still be invalid).

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    @DavidRicherby thats entirely up to the carhire company and is not answerable here, but I would suggest "no" because the UK driving license time limit they are running into here is down to insurance, and that won't change - they do not have a valid Chinese license to drive in the UK because the grace period has expired, and thus they are insured under their UK license details, which only show a given amount of experience. I doubt that, given he fills the role of a resident in this country, a car hire company would accept the Chinese license knowing it has no validity in the UK at this time. – Moo Aug 18 '16 at 13:58
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    As @DavidRicherby alludes, I don't think the driver could be cited for driving without a valid license because he would be driving with his valid UK license. The fact that he used a different license to rent the car doesn't mean that he can't show the UK license to the police. THe insurance question is more likely to be a problem, though. – phoog Aug 18 '16 at 14:04
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    The "two personas" analysis strikes me as unlikely to get much traction in a court. The argument that they (perhaps fraudulently) rented the car by presenting an invalid Chinese license (invalid on account of more than 1 year residence in the UK) doesn't require the "two personas" analysis, of course. – phoog Aug 18 '16 at 14:25
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    @Moo Does this distinction between "person" and "persona" have any basis in English law? You seem to be arguing that Robert-who-presents-you-with-a-Chinese-license is legally a different person from Robert-who-presents-you-with-a-British-license, and I find that hard to believe. (The claim that the insurance is contingent on having a UK license that's been valid for more than a year seems much more plausible.) – David Richerby Aug 18 '16 at 14:25
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    @DavidRicherby let me put it another way - consent is conditional, and in this case its conditional on having a license that has been held for longer than a given period (eliminating the UK license for the purpose of hiring and driving the hire car) and is valid in the UK for the duration of the hire (eliminating the Chinese license). If the Chinese license is fraudulently presented as valid when hiring the vehicle, the consent for hiring and driving the vehicle is linked to that license. Not the person. The license. Because its the license which gets the person the insurance. – Moo Aug 18 '16 at 15:11

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