Driving in Portugal? What the new rules mean for you

DRIVING IN PORTUGAL? WHAT THE NEW RULES MEAN FOR YOUA new amendment to the Portuguese Road Traffic Code enables holders of driving licences from certain countries (including UK) to drive in Portugal. What does this mean for you?

The first thing to know is that rules applied to EU driving licences continue to apply to UK driving licenses in Portugal until December 31st 2022. This means that until this date, it is possible to drive in Portugal on a valid UK driving license issued by the DVLA (in England, Scotland or Wales) or DVA (in Northern Ireland).

From January 2023, if your are resident in Portugal and have a UK driving license, the new rules mean you can carry on driving with your UK license if:

  • your photcard ID has not expired
  • you're under 60
  • no more than 15 years has elapsed since the issue or renewal of your license
  • you're not banned from driving or have significant driving restrictions in the UK.

This only applies to Categories A and B. If you want to retain a right to drive on other categories you have on your UK license, you will have to exchange it for a Portuguese driving license.
(You will not need to take an exam as long as you passed an exam for those categories in UK)

If you are over 60, or about to reach that age, you will need to exchange your UK license for a Portuguese driving license.

The British and Portuguese governments continue to negotiate long term arrangements for the recognition of UK driving licenses. However, our advice remains that, if you are resident in Portugal and need to drive, you should start the process to exchange your UK license for a Portuguese one at your earliest convenience, especially if you are not covered by the new legislation. You can drive in the UK and in other countries with your Portuguese license without the need for an International Driving Permit.

Information courtesy of British Embassy Lisbon - August 2022

Additional information be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-portugal#driving-in-portugal



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