Exchanging a Foreign Driving Licence in Bulgaria

Find out the exact steps to follow if you have to (or would like to) exchange your foreign driving licence...

A valid driving licence issued in a country outside Bulgaria is valid in Bulgaria if:

  • the driver is 18 years or older and
  • the licence was issued by an EU member state/EEA or Switzerland, or by a country that ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic

Foreign driving licences must be accompanied by a legalised translation in Bulgarian or an international driver's licence/permit (IDL/IDP). An IDP is available from the issuing country's road traffic authority or motoring organisation such as the AA.

EU-Issued Licence

Valid licences issued in an EU member state/EEA or in Switzerland are valid in Bulgaria indefinitely.

There is no obligation for the licence to be exchanged for a Bulgarian one, although the licence-holder may if they choose to. The licence may be exchanged - without having to pass a driving test - by anyone who has a permanent or a long-stay residence status in Bulgaria.

A foreigner resident in Bulgaria may be required to exchange their driving licence for a Bulgarian one if they commit a driving offence and the infringement requires that points must be taken from the licence.

Non-EU-Issued Licence

A resident foreigner who does not have a driving licence issued by an EU member state/EEA or Switzerland may drive in Bulgaria for one year. After one year, the licence must be exchanged for a Bulgarian one (if an exchange agreement exists) or the Bulgarian driving test must be taken and a new licence issued.

Non-EU-issued licences may be exchanged if the issuing country has ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and the licence meets the requirements of this agreement. Up-to-date information on exchange agreements is available from the licence issuing-country's Consular office in Bulgaria.

If the licence may not exchanged for a Bulgarian one, the full driving exam process (practical and theory tests) must be successfully completed and a Bulgarian driving licence issued.

How to Exchange a Driving Licence

A driving licence can only be exchanged in Bulgaria if the person is legally resident in the country.

Driving licences are exchanged at the local Traffic Police offices of the Bulgarian Traffic Police (???). Take the original driving licence and residency permit.

When a foreign driving licence is exchanged for a Bulgarian one, its validity is verified and the foreign licence is returned to the country of origin with an explanation of the reason for the exchange.

Further Information