The UK and Portugal have today signed an agreement on the mutual recognition and exchange of driving licences.
An agreement that will ensure continued recognition of UK driving licences in Portugal and an ability to exchange for a Portuguese licence without taking a test has been signed today. His Majesty’s Ambassador to Portugal, Chris Sainty, and the Portuguese Ambassador to the UK, Nuno Brito, met to sign the agreement at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in London.
The agreement, once it enters into force, will enable holders of driving licences issued in the United Kingdom and in Gibraltar to continue to drive in Portugal on their existing licence until it expires, provided they register their Portuguese address with the licensing authority. The agreement also provides the ability for UK and Gibraltar licence holders to exchange their licence for a Portuguese equivalent, without needing to sit a theory or practical test. There is provision for the exchange of expired licences, as long as the licence expired not more than 2 years before being presented for exchange, as well as for lost and stolen licences, subject to domestic procedures.
The new agreement builds on existing arrangements to provide guaranteed and uniform treatment for all UK licence holders, as well as those issued in Gibraltar. The agreement is reciprocal, with Portuguese licences recognised for driving in the UK and Gibraltar and exchangeable without a test if the holder becomes resident.
The agreement will now proceed to the ratification stage in both the UK and Portugal, with the intention that it can take effect at the beginning of 2024.
British Ambassador to Portugal, Chris Sainty, said:
“I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Portugal that will mean UK licence holders resident here can use their UK licence for the duration of its validity and, if and when necessary, exchange it for a Portuguese one without needing to take any driving test. This allows a level playing field for all UK and Gibraltar licence holders to continue driving lawfully and guarantees recognition and exchange rights for all.”
“The agreement was reached after an extended period of technical negotiations between London and Lisbon, with the continued and active cooperation of the Portuguese Government and the Institute of Mobility and Transport (IMT), to whom I would like to express my gratitude. The result is an agreement that simplifies driving requirements for UK and Portuguese licence holders travelling, working and living in each of our countries, demonstrating a shared commitment to our deep and enduring people-to-people links.”
“We are now working hard with the Portuguese Government to bring the agreement into effect as quickly as possible, replacing the existing interim arrangements. We will provide further updates in due course via our Living in Portugal Guide on the GOV.UK website, as well as through the Embassy’s social media channels.”
About British Embassy Lisbon
The British Embassy in Portugal is responsible for developing and maintaining bilateral relations between the UK and Portugal. Its mission is to promote the objectives and policies of the British Government in Portugal, supporting British companies doing business in Portugal, encouraging foreign investment in the UK, and providing consular assistance to British residents and visitors to Portugal as necessary. The two countries have been close allies for over six hundred and fifty years under the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world.