How can I prove I can drive a stick in Ontario?
August 17, 2010 6:57 AM   Subscribe

How can I prove to the UK I can drive a manual transmission in Ontario?

The UK seems to think that we're all amateur drivers here in Ontario.

When changing an Ontario driver's licence for a UK licence, the UK grants an "automatic transmission only" rating.

This is... annoying and expensive! (Automatics are rarer in the UK, and more expensive to hire.)

Apparently, they're willing to grant a full licence if I can provide government proof that I'm rated to drive a manual transmission vehicle. How on earth do I get this?

The exact text from the UK DVLA is:
Canadian licences
If you are the holder of a Canadian licence you will receive automatic transmission only when exchanging for a British licence. This can only be upgraded to manual upon presentation of confirmation, from the relevant licensing authority, of a manual test being passed or a manual test is passed in this country.
In Ontario, there doesn't seem to be a difference between an auto licence and a manual one. The same licence allows me to drive both. I'm unaware of any certification or test I can do that officially proves I can drive a stick.

Am I missing something? Can I downshift in front of a drivetest centre and get them to give me a certification? I'd like to have to sorted before hand, rather than do a manual test in the UK.

Any advice would be awesomely helpful.
posted by generichuman to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This Lonely Planet thread on this very subject suggests there may not be an easy answer. Evidently proof of insurance showing that you've driven a manual transmission in Canada is not sufficient. One poster had been insured on a manual for 15 years and that wasn't accepted, and that post was only a few months ago. You may have little choice but to take the UK manual transmission test.
posted by jedicus at 7:09 AM on August 17, 2010

Yeah, my flatmate went through this exact same thing when trying to get her UK license from BC. She had to do the manual test in the end.
posted by meerkatty at 7:10 AM on August 17, 2010

No, there's no "upgrade" test in the UK. There would be no demand for it. Automatic-only licenses apparently exist, but I've never seen or heard of anyone having one. So you'll need to figure out how to get a document from Ontario.

Alternatively, and this doesn't answer your question, but just in case you don't realise, you can drive a manual in the UK without a UK driving license for the first 12 months. Holiday makers do it all the time, including people with North American licenses (which, as you've found out, are the ones the DVLA is not impressed by). So while you may not be able to sort this out beforehand, taking the UK test doesn't have to be the very first thing you do when you arrive, even if you are moving here permanently.
posted by caek at 7:12 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This rather thorough blog on going from a Canadian license to a UK license comes to the same conclusion (scroll down about half way). No one can figure out what the DVLA will accept as proof. Apparently it's been done, according to a freedom of information request, but as of yet how is not known. Another example of what doesn't work: a letter from the driving examiner stating that the Canadian test was done in a manual transmission car.
posted by jedicus at 7:12 AM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: No, there's no "upgrade" test in the UK. There would be no demand for it. Automatic-only licenses apparently exist, but I've never seen or heard of anyone having one. So you'll need to figure out how to get a document from Ontario.

Actually, I've done this once before - I can assure I had an Automatic Only licence. (It looks exactly the same, just a slightly different code rating on the back.) I'm mostly just trying to avoid doing the manual test in the UK if I possibly can. It's looking like that's impossible.
posted by generichuman at 7:17 AM on August 17, 2010

Oh sure, I know they exist. I've just never met anyone who has one. I don't know anyone from Ontario though ; )
posted by caek at 7:21 AM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Nuts.
posted by generichuman at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2010

I telephoned the DVLA and asked them for more details.

They say they need "a certificate from the authorities in Canada" saying the test was passed in a manual vehicle in order to issue a manual license.

They also say it's their understanding that the Canadian authorities don't record what vehicle was used in the test, so this certificate can be hard to get - and they couldn't say what, specifically, you'd have to ask the Canadian authorities for.

Perhaps the Canadian authorities would be able to help?
posted by Mike1024 at 7:55 AM on August 17, 2010

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