Mobility
BREXIT: Driving Licenses in Portugal

July 2020 

BREXIT: Driving Licenses in Portugal


I am a British citizen and only live six months in Portugal. Can I continue to drive with my British driving license in Portuguese territory?

Given that the UK's departure from the EU, 31.01.2020, was agreed, a transition period has been established that remains until 31.12.2020.

A UK citizen will, therefore, be able to drive with the British license until 31.12.2020, as in this transitional period the UK driving licence recognition and exchange scheme, which exists before departure, is to say, for all intents and purposes, the UK driving licences are considered Community driving licenses.

From 2021, driving licenses issued by the UK will be considered third country titles, and legislation on the recognition of driving licences issued by third countries applies *. That is, a UK driver's licence holder may drive motor vehicles for 185 days from their entry into Portugal if they are not a resident.

However, if the rules of that agreement on the mutual recognition of driving licences are signed in the bilateral relations between Portugal and the UK, the rules of that possible agreement will prevail.

Citizens who transfer their residence to Portugal after the date of departure from the EU UK on 31.01.2020:

A: The mandatory exchange of the UK driving licence during the transition period, i.e. up to 31.12.2020, does not apply. These citizens will be able to drive in Portugal until that date with the British licence, as the UK's driving licence recognition and exchange scheme are maintained before departure, with British licences being considered Community for all intents and purposes.

After 31.12.2020, driving licenses issued by the UK are now considered third-country securities, and the legislation on the recognition of driving licences issued by third countries applies. That is, a UK driver's licence holder may drive motor vehicles for 185 days from their entry into Portugal, provided that they are not a resident. After settling residence, you will have a period of 90 days** to exchange the UK title for title Portuguese, otherwise, you will no longer be allowed to drive.

However, during the period of 2 years from the date of the establishment of the residence, you can exchange the UK title for title Portuguese, with exemption from the practical test of the driving test.

At the end of the two-year period, the exchange of the UK title for title Portuguese is conditional on the performance of a practical test***


* Article 125(3) and 4 of the Highway Code

** Article 125(4) of the Highway Code

*** Article 128(7)(c) of the Road Code and Article 14(1)(c) of the RHLC

Will new residents (who enter Portugal after the date of departure from the UK on 31.01.2020) take a driving test in order to exchange their licence for a Portuguese one?

Until 31.12.2020, for the reasons already indicated above, do not have to exchange the UK driving licence for a Portuguese licence. If they still wish to make the exchange, they shall be exempted from the delivery of a certificate of authenticity, in the same terms as the holders of a driving licence in a Member State of the European Union.

After 31.12.2020, new residents who hold a UK driving licence (the country which ratified the 1949 Geneva Convention and the Vienna Convention of 1968) have a period of 90 days from the date of the residence to exchange their driving licence. Otherwise, they will no longer be allowed to drive. 

However, during the period of two years from the date of the establishment of the residence, you may exchange the UK title for title Portuguese, with exemption from the practical test of the driving test.

At the end of the two-year period, the exchange of the UK title for title Portuguese is conditional on the performance of a practical test.

Will those who have already registered their British driving licences with the Portuguese authorities have to exchange them for Portuguese driving licences? If so, what are the procedure and associated costs?

You won't have to change them until 31.12.2020. After 31.12.2020, the following documents will be required for the process of exchanging a driving licence*:

  • Identification document;
  • Proof of residence in Portugal or student status in national territory;
  • Tax identification number;
  • Medical certificate;
  • Original foreign driving title;
  • A statement proving the authenticity of the title issued by the issuing Service.
  • The costs of the driving licence change process are as follows**:
  • If the request is made within two years, you pay only the letter issue fee, in the amount of 30€;
  • If the request is made after the legal period of two years, you pay a fee of 75€ (15€ for issuing the learning license + 30€ for the performance of the practical examination + 30€ for issuing the letter).

* Provided for in article 14(2) and Article 18 of the RHLC.

** Provided for in the rate table of IMT, IP, approved by Ordinance No. 1165/2010 of November 9

 

After the transition period, i.e. after 31.12.2020, will a British tourist who does not stay for more than 185 days in Portugal apply for an International Driving License?

No. The UK ratified the 1949 Geneva Convention and the 1968 Vienna Convention, so UK driver's licence holders can drive in Portugal for a maximum period of 185 days without the need to present an International Driving License.

After the transition period, i.e. after 31.12.2020, if I exchange my British driving licence for a Portuguese driving licence, can I drive in the UK?

Everything will depend on the legislation that the UK adopts in this area.

After the transition period, i.e. after 31.12.2020, when I exchange my British driving licence for a Portuguese driving licence, can I drive in the other EU Member States?

Yes. If you hold a Portuguese driving licence, you can drive in all other EU Member States.

Contact your Kleya consultant should you need any help! 

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