It is not compulsory to exchange your driving licence on settlement in Portugal if this was issued by an EU member state. Licences issued in EU member states are valid for driving in Portugal until they expire.
If you wish to exchange your driving licence for one issued by the Portuguese authorities, you may do so. You may also renew an expired licence without having to take a test provided the licence hasn’t been expired for more than 2 years.
If you decide to continue to drive in Portugal on a licence which was issued to you by another EU member state, you must register it with the IMT – Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (equivalent to DVLA) – within 60 days of arrival. You will need to complete a form (Modelo 13 IMT) and show the following documents:
Your residence Certificate (issued by the Town Hall)
Your original and a photocopy of your driving license
You can be fined if you are resident here and are driving without having registered your licence.
If you intend to make Portugal your main or permanent home, there are good reasons for exchanging your driving licence for a Portuguese-issued one:
If lost, stolen or damaged, the licence can only be renewed or replaced by the original issuing authority. Some licensing authorities, such as the DVLA, will not renew or replace a licence to an overseas address.
After the licence has expired, you have a maximum period of 2 years during which you can exchange the licence in Portugal. Until you exchange the licence, you are prohibited from driving.
If, after 2 years, you have not renewed your licence, you will have to take (and pass) a driving test in Portugal before the Portuguese authorities will issue you with a licence. This rule is the same for Portuguese nationals.
If you decide to exchange your licence, you should complete a form (in duplicate) and hand it to your nearest IMT office, together with:
Your original licence
A photocopy of your passport (you’ll also be asked to show your original passport)
Your Portuguese fiscal number (NIF)
A medical report (please see IMT website for information on permissible issuing authority)
The appropriate fee
For more information (in Portuguese) on how to exchange or renew your licence, click http://www.imt-ip.pt/sites/IMTT/Portugues/Condutores/TrocaCartaConducao/PaisesEspacoEconomicoEuropeu/Paginas/PaisesdoEspacoEconomicoEuropeu.aspx
For a list of IMT offices, visit the IMT website
British Consular Services Portugal