This is just one of the many questions on the lips of British expats in Portugal and throughout the EU now that Brexit is finally a reality. But despite the fact that the UK has officially left the EU, there is still uncertainty and the British public have a lot of questions about how everything will shape out, both those living in the UK and for those who have chosen to move abroad. Let’s have a look at the question of driving in Portugal, now that Brexit has come into effect.
Can I still drive in Portugal with a British driving licence?
The answer, for now, is yes. Now that the UK has formally left the EU, driving licences issued by the UK will be considered what are known as third country licences. This basically means that Brits authorised to drive vehicles in Portugal with their UK licence for the first 185 days after entering the country. Take note that if you become a resident in Portugal, you must exchange your licence for a Portuguese one within 90 days of the date on which you become a resident.
Will I have to do another driving test?
The good news is that the Portuguese equivalent of the DVLA, IMT, have taken measures meaning that currently, this process of exchanging your UK driving licence for a Portuguese one is fairly straightforward, is done in your local IMT office for €30 and with no need to do another driving test. All that is required is a medical certificate from your Portuguese GP stating that you are fit to drive, your residence permit and your existing driving licence. It’s important to remember that it is illegal to hold two driving licences; therefore, during this process, you must renounce your British licence in order to obtain a Portuguese one. However, this must be done within 90 days of becoming a resident in Portugal – if the application is made after the 90-day period, the fee is 75 euros and you must do a practical driving test, so it’s best to act fast!
The transition period
Brexit news changes rapidly and things are uncertain, but in order to make sure you have as few problems as possible, the best advice for anyone is to have all the relevant paperwork in order as soon as possible. You still have time because another important point to remember is that whilst the UK has already left the EU, we have already entered a transition period where pre-Brexit rules will still apply until the end of the transition period which finishes in December 2020.
Find out more about what Brexit could be mean for expats living in Portugal