If you hold a licence from one of the countries in the European Community or European Economic Area listed below, you may able to do a straight transfer to a full GB driving licence but our advice would be to check with the DirectGov website.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
If your current licence was issued in a country not listed above, then you may be able to drive in the UK on a full foreign driving licence for the first 12 months. To ensure continuous driving entitlement a provisional GB licence should be obtained and the theory and driving test(s) passed before the 12-month period elapses.
If you obtain a provisional licence within the 12-month concessionary period, you are not subject to provisional licence conditions eg displaying ‘L’ plates or being supervised by a qualified driver or being precluded from motorways. However if you don't pass the tests within this period you cannot drive as a full licence holder, and provisional licence conditions will apply.
New Law on Driving Licence Exchange
As from 11th January 2013 the change in the law means foreign drivers who are outside the EU but were able to exchange their licence, now can only do so if the driving test they have taken meets the appropriate standards to drive in this country..
Please read the DVLA link on driving licence exchange.