Exchanging a Driving Licence in Russia

Understand the process for exchanging a foreign driving licence in Russia…

For temporary visitors to Russia, it is not usually possible, or necessary, to exchange a foreign driving licence for a Russian one, but a foreign driving licence or an International Driving Permit is usually sufficient. Exceptions to this are members of diplomatic missions and consular institutions of foreign states, as well as their family members. In these cases, a Russian driving licence can be issued without a medical check or a driving test or examination.

For all foreign nationals who hold a work permit or a residence permit for Russia, a foreign driving licence must be exchanged to a Russian licence. The foreign-issued licence can only be used for 60 days after obtaining the work or residence permit; after this time use of the licence will be invalid.

A Russian driving licence can be applied for after passing a multiple choice theory examination at the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate, or GIBDD (Mezrayony Otdel Gasudarstvenovo Tehnicheskovo Osmotra Registracy e Exzaminaciony Raboty / Межрайонный отдел государственного технического осмотра регистрации и экзаменационной работы). The website is in Russian only.

The exam can only be taken in Russian, and translators are not allowed. After passing the theory test, a licence is issued at the GIBDD straight away. The licence is issued for the same period as the permit to stay in Russia. If the period of residency is extended, the driving licence can also be extended for the same period without taking any more examinations. Applications to extend a licence can be made at the local GIBDD office.

Documents required for driving licence exchange:

  • Completed application form
  • Original passport, including valid Russian visa and registration stamp
  • Medical certificate (available from any major health clinic)
  • One colour passport photograph
  • Receipt for payment of the appropriate fee (approximately R.800)
  • Original valid foreign driving licence plus a notarised photocopy along with a notarised translation

If the foreign driving licence does not meet the requirements of the Convention on Road Traffic of 1968, translation of the driving licence into Russian and notarisation is required.