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Updated : 24/04/2017

Driving licence and insurance

When you travel by car in another EU country, make sure your driving licence and car insurance are valid in the countries you will be visiting.

Driving licence recognition and validity

EU driving licences

If your licence was issued in an EU country, you can use it anywhere in the EU.

Before you travel abroad, make sure your driving licence is still valid. If your driving licence expires during a trip abroad, it automatically becomes invalid and may not be recognised in other countries.

Be aware that you cannot drive in another country on a provisional driving licence or certificate.

Standard format

Since 2013, all driving licences issued in the EU have a standard format – a plastic, credit card-sized photocard, with better security features.

You can still use your old-style licence, but it will be changed to the new format when you renew it (or at the latest by 2033).

The following categories of driving licence are recognised throughout Europe: AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE, B1, C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D and DE.

Teenagers: be aware in some EU countries different age restrictions apply for certain categories of vehicle.

Sample story

Sofia is 14 and got her moped licence in Italy. She would like to drive a moped in Belgium, but the minimum driving age for mopeds is 16.

Sofia will have to wait until she is 16 before she can legally drive her moped in Belgium without having to pass a Belgian driving test.

EU driving licences issued in exchange for a non‑EU licence

If you have exchanged your non‑EU licence for an EU licence in the country where you now live, you can drive with it throughout the EU.

Non-EU driving licences

If you want to drive in the EU on a licence issued in a country outside the EU, contact the authorities of the country you are visiting, or your embassy or consulate in that country.

Lost or stolen driving licence

If your driving licence is lost or stolen while you are travelling abroad, contact the local police and your consulate or embassy to report the matter.

Your consulate will contact the national authorities that issued your driving licence (to check it was not restricted, suspended, cancelled or revoked).

On the basis of the information received from the consulate, the police may then issue a provisional document that allows you to drive in that country for a limited period of time.

You can only apply for a replacement driving licence in the country where you have your normal residence.

Provisional licences and certificates issued to temporarily replace lost or stolen licences are not automatically recognised in other EU countries.

Sample story

Henrik, lives in Denmark and planned to visit Germany, France and Italy on his holidays. Unfortunately, he lost his wallet and driving licence in Germany at the start of his trip. Without a licence, he could be fined if stopped by the police.

Henrik contacted the Danish embassy in Germany, who advised him to report the loss to the local police. The Danish embassy also gave him a certificate stating that he is the legal holder of a Danish driving licence.

Henrik then had to contact the Italian and French authorities to check that they would recognise the provisional certificate issued by the Danish authorities.

Have you lost your driving licence while on holiday? More information on what to do:

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* Information not yet provided by national authorities

The European Commission is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Find out more about driving licences when living abroad.

Car insurance validity

Your car insurance policy issued in home country covers you throughout the EU if you injure someone?

Find out more information about national regulations concerning insurance cover when travelling abroad.

Choose country

* Information not yet provided by national authorities

The European Commission is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Your car's number plate is proof that you have liability insurance. This means that police in another country will not normally stop you to check if you are insured. If you travel with a trailer, it needs to be insured too. In some EU countries you must have separate insurance for a trailer. Check with your insurer before you travel.

Always take your insurance papers with you. It may make things easier if you have an accident or are stopped by the police.

Sample story

Ronaldo was stopped for speeding in France. Because he did not have his insurance documents with him, the police asked him to call his insurer in Portugal to prove he was insured.

Even though you aren't legally obliged to, carrying your papers with you is the best way to prove you are covered. It can save you time and money if you run into problems abroad.

Find out more about car insurance when living abroad.

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