Updated : 1/2013
From January 19th 2013, all new driving licenses issued across the EU will be in the form of a plastic "credit card," with a standard European format and tougher security protection.
Existing licenses are not affected, but will be changed to the new format at the time of renewal or at the latest by 2033.
Before you move to a new country, make sure your driving licence has not expired.
Provisional licences or certificates issued in your home country will not be recognised in other EU countries.
If you move to another country, you can drive there with your current
licence as long as it remains valid.
The following categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE, B1, B1E, C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D and DE are recognised throughout Europe.
EU countries must ensure that all driving licences in circulation are in the new EU standard format by 2033 at the latest.
If you have a driving licence for life, you will be informed by your EU country of residence when to exchange your driving licence for one in the EU standard format.
You can have your licence renewed (or exchanged from a licence issued by another country) only by the authorities of the country where you are resident.
They will exchange your original driving licence for a local one. You will then be subject to the same rules as nationals of that country regarding validity periods, medical checks and so on.
If you have an EU driving licence that has been issued in exchange for a non‑EU licence in the country where you now live, and you wish to move to another EU country with your converted licence, you cannot assume that your new licence will be recognised there as this is up to each EU country.
You will need to check with the local authorities in your new country which conditions apply for recognising non-EU licences.
The EU driving licence you were issued when handing over your home licence should contain a code indicating the country that originally issued it (for example: 70.0123456789.NL).
Angeles is a Chilean who moved to Spain a few years ago. Since 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 with the authorities there whether they recognise her Spanish licence.
If the new country also 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.
In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway