I once saw a bargain car and wanted to buy it for my daughter – but she hadn’t passed her test yet. I wondered if she could technically “own” the car, even if she didn’t have a driving license.
Fortunately, the Road Traffic Act of 1988 contains all you need to know about cars, roads, and the UK. (source: Legislation.gov.uk)
You can own a car without having a driving license in any part of the UK. The law doesn’t bar anyone from owning cars, provided you own them through legal means. Per UK legislation, there’s also no age restriction to owning a car, and you don’t need any unique document.
However, non-residents cannot own a car in the UK since they need a fixed address for legal and insurance registration. In this article, I’ll dive into all you need to know about buying, financing, and selling cars in the United Kingdom.
Can You Buy a Car Without a License in the UK?
The United Kingdom law is clear about all things on driving licenses and car ownership. For example, anyone can get a license if they fulfill the laid requirements and pass the tests (source: Gov.uk)
However, there’s a chance you could be without a license, and you might be interested in buying a car. So, can you buy a car without a license?
You can buy a car without having a driving license in the UK. There’s no law prohibiting unlicensed purchases, but you’ll need to have a provisional license to drive it on any UK road—even if the car dealership is close to your home. So, you might want to consider having it delivered instead.
Although you don’t need a license, you need to have a Ministry Of Transport (MOT) roadworthiness pass certificate for your car, insurance documents, and, sometimes, a vehicle excise license to purchase a car legally.
However, you don’t need these documents in all cases, and some dealerships will sell most cars to you if you have an MOT roadworthiness pass certificate and some way to prove you’re a UK citizen. (sources: Angloinfo and Gov.uk)
It’s a bit different if you’re a foreigner. While foreigners can buy cars in the UK, you must have a driving license—either an international driving license or a UK-issued one—and have a legal UK address and a valid means of identification and other required documents.
Here’s how to buy a car in the UK:
- Carefully inspect the car you’re interested in when you find a dealership or seller in your area. Ensure the dealership has the car’s V5C vehicle registration certificate to ensure the legitimacy of all its parts—even if it’s a new car. Remember to check the registration number and MOT test number too. (source: Safe Driving For Life)
- Buy the car and register it with the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. You’ll need to register both new and used vehicles bought in the UK. However, old cars with V5C vehicle registration certificates need to be taxed before you can drive them on UK roads. (source: Gov.uk)
- Get car insurance. Insurance is vital, and you can get into serious trouble in the UK if you own a car without insurance papers. You can check here to confirm if your car is insured. (source: Gov.uk)
- Pay the car’s tax fees. Although almost everyone has to pay mandatory taxes to drive in the UK legally, there are some exceptions if you’re disabled or drive certain vehicles. However, you need to tax your car even if you’re not legally required to pay. (source: Gov.UK)
Afterward, you can drive the car home or have the dealer deliver it to you if you don’t have a driving license.
Can You Get Car Finance Without a Driving License in the UK?
You might want to purchase a car, but you might be financially limited and unable to do so—that’s why we have car finance.
Car financing allows individuals to become car owners through loans that you can serve over months or years. While car finance is majorly uncomplicated, many people might wonder what impact a driving license might play if you want to get car finance. (source: My Car Credit)
You can get car finance without a driving license in the UK. You’ll need a means of identification to get the loan, but a passport or similar document will work in most cases. However, some lenders might insist you have a full driving license before authorizing the loan.
Foreigners and residents of any nationality can also get car finance in the UK. Still, you’ll need a driving license, credit history, and a UK address if you fall into this category. A lot goes into car financing, and some technical parts depend on the lender and car dealership.
Can You Sell a Car Without a License in the UK?
I’ve explored the possibility of buying cars in the UK without a license, but you may wonder if it’s possible to sell a car—or someone else’s car—if you don’t have a driving license.
After all, since you can buy and own a vehicle without a license, there must be a drawback in selling, right? Unsurprisingly, UK legislation is pretty straightforward about these things, and you can probably guess the answer.
You can sell a car without having a driving license in the UK. You can sell your car or other people’s cars as long as you have the DVLA-required documents for vehicle sales. You also don’t need additional dealing licenses when selling vehicles in the UK.
Of course, make sure you have all the papers required when selling your car. You’ll need to provide all the documents you got when purchasing the vehicle. UK law also requires that you inform the DVLA after selling a vehicle for tax refund and record-keeping purposes. (source: Gov.uk)
You don’t need a driving license to own, buy or sell a car in the UK. While you might need some other documents for identification, insurance, and legal purposes, UK law does not list a driving license as a requirement for any of these activities.
The same applies to car financing. And although some lenders and dealers might insist on customers presenting a full license, it’s not the law.