Getting a driving licence in the EU
To get an EU driving licence you must:
- be usually resident in the EU country where you are applying
- meet the minimum age requirements
- meet the minimum medical requirements
- pass a driving test
You must apply for a licence in the country where you usually or regularly live. As a general rule, it is the country where you live for at least 185 days 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 to another EU country to go to college or university, your place of usual residence doesn't change. However, you can apply for a driving licence in your host country if you can prove you have been studying there for at least 6 months.
To get a driving licence you need to meet the following minimum age requirements. However, in some EU countries, these may be higher or lower or there may be some additional requirements. There are no upper age limits for holding a driving licence. You can keep it as long as you are medically fit to drive, as attested by your doctor.
Mopeds, category AM
Light motorcycles, category A1
Quadricycles, category B1
Standard motorcycles, category A2
In general, to apply for a category A2 licence, you need at least 2 years of experience on a motorcycle at category A1. Alternatively, you can access directly at a higher minimum age, which is usually 24 years.
Cars, category B, BE
Medium-sized vehicles, category C1, C1E
Heavy motorcycles, category A
In general, to apply for a category A licence, you need at least 2 years of experience at category A2. Alternatively, you can access directly at a higher minimum age, which is usually 24 years.
Large vehicles, category C, CE
Minibuses, category D1, D1E
Buses, category D, DE
Before issuing you with a driving licence, the relevant authorities will check your medical fitness to drive. You may also have to undergo a medical check each 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.
There are no EU wide rules on driver training, driving schools or driving instructors. There are however minimum EU standards for:
- the driving test – You need to pass both a practical test and a theory test
- the driving examiners – They must successfully complete a training program and be subject to periodic quality assurance and training .
If you meet all the necessary requirements you will be issued with an EU standard format driving licence – a plastic, credit card-sized photo card, with special security features and available in all EU countries since 2013.
Find out more about driving licences models issued before 2013 which are currently still valid, what they look like, their security features and the entitlements and vehicle categories listed on them.
Check the rules for getting a driving licence in the country where you live, find information on driver training and testing, age and medical fitness requirements:
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