A new bilateral agreement between the UK and Portugal on the mutual recognition and exchange of driving licences officially came into force on 31st December 2023.
This means that if you are resident in Portugal and hold a full and valid driving licence issued in the UK or Gibraltar, you can:
– Drive in Portugal on your current licence until it expires, provided you have registered your licence with IMT (see below);
– Exchange your licence for a Portuguese one without needing to take a test.
Registering your UK or Gibraltar Driving Licence
To continue driving in Portugal as a resident, you must register your driving licence with the IMT. You must do this within 60 days of the issue date on your residence certificate, or immediately if you have already been in Portugal for more than 60 days.
The guidance on the IMT website about registering licences currently refers only to EU driving licences. IMT have advised that they will be updating their online guidance for UK and Gibraltar licences.
Exchanging Your UK or Gibraltar Driving Licence
To exchange your UK or Gibraltar driving licence for a Portuguese one:
- go to the IMT portal
- fill out the form and submit with the necessary documents
Again the guidance on the IMT website about exchanging licences currently refers only to EU driving licences. IMT have advised that they will be updating their online guidance for UK and Gibraltar licences.
As part of the exchange process, you will need to get a certificate of authenticity from the DVLA or get a check code and share this with IMT. For licences issued by Northern Ireland, use the NI Direct website. For licences issued by Gibraltar, check with the DVLD.
You do not need to take a test. If your licence was originally issued in another country and then exchanged for a UK licence, check with IMT about test requirements for exchange.
Licences which expired not more than 2 years before being presented for exchange, and licences which have been lost or stolen, are eligible for exchange. If you apply to exchange an expired, lost or stolen licence, you cannot drive until your exchange has been completed.
When you exchange your driving licence, you will be issued with a ‘guia’ (temporary driver’s permit) which you can use to drive until your new licence arrives.
If you have any questions about the exchange process, check the IMT website or contact IMT.
For more information you can visit the Gov.uk website.