Exchanging a Driving Licence from the EU or EEA

Find out how long your EU-issued licence is valid in Portugal, how to register it with the authorities and how to exchange a licence from the EU or EEA for a Portuguese licence...

On 19 January 2013, a single model of driving licences was implemented throughout the EU, with harmonised categories. Licences issued before this date remain valid until they expire, but must be replaced by 2033. Licences issued by member states for categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, B1 and BE are valid for 10 years.

Driving Licence Issued by an EU or EEA Member State

A driver with an EU-member state driver's licence who takes up residence in Portugal is not required to exchange the licence for a Portuguese one while it remains valid.

Note: Portuguese licence regulations apply to the non-Portuguese EU licence regarding:

  • The period of validity of the licence
  • Minimum driver's age
  • Medical restrictions
  • Age requirements for renewal
  • Penalties and restrictions, including suspension, withdrawal and cancellation of the licence

EU-licence validity and regulations

Note: An EU-issued licence has the characteristics of the person's country of residence in the EU.

For example: if a driver resident in Portugal exchanges a licence issued in another EU country for a Portuguese one, and then relocates to another EU country, the licence remains valid but the regulations and restrictions (such as the period of validity) of the new country of residence now apply to the licence.

Using a valid EU-issued licence in Portugal

An EU-member state driver's licence is valid in Portugal provided the following conditions are respected:

  • The licence is valid in its issuing country
  • The driver has the right minimum age for the licence category
  • The driver has not been suspended or barred from driving in the country that issued the licence
  • The licence was not issued while the person was barred from being issued a licence in Portugal

An exchange becomes compulsory if the licence holder commits a driving offence in Portugal.

Drivers who hold a licence issued by another EU or EEA country and who are resident in Portugal are obliged to register with their regional or district Department of Motor Vehicles (IMTT) office within 60 days of establishing residency. To register, they must bring the following paperwork:

  • Proof of residency
  • A completed copy of IMTT Modelo 13 (PDF, in Portuguese)
  • A photocopy of their driving licence
  • Proof of identity

Following registration, a slip of paper (guia) is issued, which should be presented along with the driving licence when required.

Replacement of EU licences

When the EU licence of a resident in Portugal expires, the licence holder must renew or replace it by applying to the Portuguese authorities. As such, they will effectively exchange the licence for a Portuguese one. This is also the case if the licence is lost or stolen (a certificate from the issuing authority may be required).

EU licences that do not already state an expiry date must be exchanged within two years of taking up residence in Portugal.

Note: If a licence has expired beyond two years from the date of renewal it may not be exchanged. The licence holder must take a full driving test (theory and practical) in order to get a Portuguese driving licence.

Exchanging an EU or EEA Licence for a Portuguese Licence

Exchanging a licence for a Portuguese one can simplify things in case of loss or theft and in order to obtain car insurance.

To exchange the licence, fill out form Modelo 1 IMTT available from the local IMTT office or online:

Forms not available online can also be obtained from Citizens' Shops (Loja do Cidadão), where English-speaking staff are able to help.

In addition, the following documents must be provided:

  • Proof of identity: passport (Passaporte) with applicable work permit (Visto do trabalho) or study permit (Estudo/Estada Temporária), identity card (Bilhete de Identidade), or residence permit (Cartão de Residênçia) issued by SEF (Serviços de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras)
  • Proof of address (Compromativo de Morada): utility bills and bank statements or rental contract
  • The original driving licence (Título de Condução) - it must be valid. Certified translations are necessary for driving licences that are not in Portuguese.
  • Students will have to show proof of student status for a period of at least six months
  • Proof of no suspensions or limitations on the existing licence
  • Medical Forms 921 and 922 (Atestado do Medico)
  • Two identical photographs (colour, size: 3.5x2.5cm) with name clearly printed on the back
  • Photocopies of all documents and a signed declaration (Declaração) from the embassy or consulate that the original documents submitted are genuine
  • Stamped self-addressed envelope (SSAE)
  • A small fee

The licence will be exchanged for one in the equivalent category. Once the Portuguese licence is issued, the original is withdrawn and returned to the issuing authority.