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Updated : 07/07/2017

Getting a driving licence in the EU

To get an EU driving licence you must:

  • be usually resident in that EU country
  • meet the minimum age requirements
  • meet the minimum medical requirements
  • pass a driving test

Check the rules on the recognition and validity of driving licences in the EU.

Place of usual residence

You can only apply for a licence in the country where you usually or regularly live.

You should live there for at least 185 days in each calendar year because of personal or work-related ties.

If you have personal/work-related ties in 2 or more EU countries, your place of usual residence is the place where you have personal ties, as long as you go back regularly. You don't need to meet this last condition if you are living in an EU country to carry out a task for a fixed period of time.

If you move abroad to go to college or university, your place of usual residence doesn't change. But you can still apply for a driving licence in the EU country if you can prove you have been studying there for at least 6 months.

Age requirements

Find out if you're old enough to drive the vehicle you want to drive:

Category

Vehicle type

Minimum age

AM
A1
B1

Mopeds
Light motorcycles
Quadricycles

16

A2
B, BE
C1, C1E

Standard motorcycles
Cars
Medium-sized vehicles

18

A

Heavy motorcycles

20

C, CE
D1, D1E

Large vehicles
Minibuses

21

D, DE

Buses

24

In some EU countries, these minimum age limits may be higher or lower, or there may be some extra requirements.

In general, to apply for a category A2 licence, you need at least 2 years of experience on a motorcycle at category A1.

To apply for a category A licence, you need at least 2 years of experience at category A2.

Alternatively, you can access your chosen category directly at a higher minimum age, which is usually 24 years.

There are no upper age limits on holding a driving licence. You can keep it as long as you are medically fit to drive.

Medical fitness

Before an EU country issues you with a driving licence, the authorities have to check you are fit and well enough to drive.

Medical assessments differ, depending on licence category, but usually cover:

  • vision
  • hearing
  • mobility
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • neurological disorders
  • mental health
  • drug & alcohol misuse/dependence
  • kidney problems

Some countries may ask you to have a medical check every time you renew your driving licence or after you reach a certain age.

If you are a lorry or bus driver, you must have a medical check-up every 5 years. Other professional drivers, such as taxi and ambulance drivers may also need to have regular medical check-ups.

Driver training & driving test

There are no EU rules on driver training, driving schools or driving instructors. So each EU country can choose how to design and structure driver training.

However, there are minimum EU standards for:

  • the driving test  – you need to pass both a practical test and a theory test
  • the driving examiners – initial qualification, quality assurance and periodic training

Country-specific information

Check the rules on age, medical and driving test requirements in the country where you want to get your driving licence:

Choose country

* Information not yet provided by national authorities

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

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