Exchanging Your Licence for a Portuguese Driving Licence

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Originally published in Jul 2021 & last updated on November 20, 2023
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One of the many administrative tasks that you need to think about when becoming resident in Portugal is exchanging your driving licence. Everyone will need to do this at some point, but the time-frame will depend on where you’re moving from.

Moving from another EU Country

Driving licenses that have been issued by countries belonging to the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are valid in Portugal, until the expiration date printed on the driver’s license. However, you should notify the IMT office (Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes)within 60 days of becoming resident in Portugal [source and source (In Portuguese)].

You will need to visit an IMT counter with the following documents [source]:

  • Form 13 IMT

Once your licence expires, you will need to renew it in Portugal and so your next licence will be a Portuguese licence. Alternatively, you could exchange it for a Portuguese licence at this point.

Some EU countries, like Belgium and Germany, issue driving licences that don’t expire. In this case you have two years from the date in which you become resident in which to exchange it [source (In Portuguese)].

Moving from outside of the EU

If you’re moving to Portugal from a country outside the EU, it’s a little more complicated and less uniform.

In most cases, you have 90 days from the point of becoming resident in which you need to exchange your driving licence. [source].

  • During those 90 days, you can continue to drive on your current licence but must have applied to exchange your licence

It’s a good idea to try to exchange your licence as soon as possible as likely to stay in Portugal during the first few months of moving here. IMT will issue with a piece of paper allowing you to drive, which shouldn’t cause you any issues in Portugal but might be an issue if you try to drive abroad.

Brexit: The Portuguese government has extended the recognition of UK driving licences until 31st December 2021 [source].

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

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There are 8 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.


  1. Hello. What if my international driving license has expired and there is no way to get a new one in a country outside the EU. Back to driving school?

  2. I have changed my uk drivers licence to a Portuguese licence, i have been given a paper saying i can drive for six months with it whilst i wait for my license, i just wanted to know how long it takes to come?

  3. My wife wants to exchange her UK licence for a Portuguese licence (I have successfully got my licence and my card). Can I just check, you are still allowed to exchange for 2 years from bring granted residence without having to take a Portuguese driving test and that the extension until 31st December 2021 was purely to allow people with UK licences to drive in Portugal without exchange till then.

  4. Hi
    Tried to exchange my GB licence for Portuguese by IMT online. Submission accepted October 2021. Received email response rejecting application due to GB licence not validated by Portuguese Consulate. Tried to comply but cannot get into consulate website at an appropriate page. Was all OK November 2021 but not now. Do you have a direct link

  5. Hi, if I exchange my UK driving licence for a Portuguese one as requested by 31.12 and return to the UK for holidays, will my Portuguese driving licence be valid to drive in the UK?


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