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Updated : 20/09/2017

Driving licence recognition and validity

EU driving licences

If your driving licence is issued by an EU country, it's recognised throughout the EU. 

So if you move to another EU country, you won't usually have to exchange your licence. You can drive in your new country on your current licence as long as:

  • it is valid
  • you are old enough to drive a vehicle of the equivalent category
  • it is not suspended or restricted and has not been revoked in the issuing country.

The categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE, B1, C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D and DE are also recognised in other EU countries.

Check the rules and exceptions on driving licence renewal and exchange when moving to another EU country.

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 you will be issued with the new format when you renew your existing licence and in any case at the latest by 2033.

If you have a driving licence which is valid for life, check with the national authorities when you have to exchange it for the new standard model.

There are over 110 European types of driving licence valid in the EU.

Find out more about your licence type, including what it looks like, its security features, and the entitlements and vehicle categories listed on it.

Validity in different EU countries

When your driving licence expires, you must renew it in the country where you have your usual residence.

Your new licence may have a different validity period and will be subject to any restrictions or conditions that apply in your new country.

10 years: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom

15 years: Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Poland, Slovakia

Provisional driving licences

Provisional or temporary licences, international driving permits (or any other certificates issued in your home country) are not regulated at EU level and may not be recognised in other EU countries.

Do you have a provisional driving licence and are moving to another EU country? Check the rules with the national driving licence authority in the country you're moving to.

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

If you have an EU driving licence that was issued in exchange for a non‑EU licence, and you wish to move to another EU country with your converted licence, you should be aware that your new licence may not be recognised there. This is up to each EU country.

You need to check with the local authorities in your new country what the conditions are for recognising non-EU licences.

The EU driving licence you were issued with when handing over your non-EU licence licence should contain a code indicating the country that originally issued it (e.g. 70.0123456789.NL).

Sample story

Angeles is a Chilean who moved to Spain a few years ago. As Spain recognises Chilean driving licences, Angeles was able to exchange hers for a Spanish one after meeting a few administrative formalities.

With this new licence, Angeles can drive around the EU. However, if she ever moves from Spain to another EU country, she will have to check that the authorities there recognise her Spanish licence.

If the new country recognises the original Chilean licence automatically, she will be able to continue driving with her converted Spanish licence. If not, she may have to have her Chilean licence formally recognised or exchanged in the new country.

Country-specific information

Check the rules on driving licence recognition and validity in the country where you live:

Choose country

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