Cases in which you do not have to exchange your foreign license for a Portuguese one
LICENSES FROM OECD AND CPLP COUNTRIES
You can drive in Portugal if your driver's license was issued by member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP).
The countries that are covered by this regime are:
Angola, Australia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Mozambique, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Sao Tome and Principe, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America.
Even if you have a residence permit in Portugal, you do not need to exchange your license for a Portuguese license if:
If you do not meet these conditions, you will have to exchange your driver's license for a Portuguese one.
This authorization only applies to driving in Portuguese territory, since you are not exchanging a foreign license for a Portuguese license, which allows you to drive in the European Union countries, for example.
If you want to exchange your license for a Portuguese license, you can do so.
For more information about driving licenses issued by OECD and CPLP countries, see the IMTonline portal.
DRIVING LICENCES FROM EUROPEAN UNION (EU) COUNTRIES AND EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA)
If you have a driving licence from an EU or EEA country (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein), you can drive in Portugal with this licence until the document expires. However, if you live in Portugal, you must register your address with the Institute of Mobility and Transport (IMT) within 60 days after moving to the country. Registration is free of charge.
NB: For foreigners with residence in Portugal prior to Brexit, the same rules apply as for EU and EEA countries.
Online registration of your address
To register your residence on the IMT online portal, complete this online form.
Registration in person of your address
To register your residence at an IMT office, you must submit the completed ‘Modelo 13 IMT’ form.
For both online and in-person applications, you must submit the following documents:
If you have a lifetime foreign driving licence, or if your foreign driving licence does not have an expiry date, you must exchange it for a Portuguese licence within 2 years after taking up residence in Portugal.
In case of loss or theft
If your foreign driver's license is lost or stolen in Portugal, you can still exchange your license for a Portuguese license. To do this, you need to request a lost title certificate from the competent authority in the country of origin of your license. Then, you must present that certificate instead of the original license when you ask to exchange your foreign license for a Portuguese one.
For more information about driving licenses issued by a EU or EEA country, please check the IMTonline portal.
Cases in which you have to exchange the foreign license for a Portuguese one
DRIVING LICENCES FROM COUNTRIES WITH A BILATERAL AGREEMENT WITH PORTUGAL
If you have a driving licence issued in a country with a bilateral agreement with Portugal, you can drive in Portugal with your foreign driving licence for 185 days (about 6 months), provided you are not a resident.
If you live in Portugal, you must exchange your foreign driving licence for a Portuguese licence within 2 years after taking up residence in Portugal.
NB: For those who have dual nationality, it is mandatory to have residence in Portugal to request the exchange of the licence.
See the list of countries with bilateral or reciprocal agreements with Portugal for recognising and exchanging driving licences.
See also the list of countries which are parties to international road traffic conventions.
For more information about driving licenses issued by countries with a bilateral agreement with Portugal, please check the IMTonline portal.
DRIVING LICENCES FROM COUNTRIES NOT PARTY TO INTERNATIONAL ROAD TRAFFIC CONVENTIONS
Driving licences issued by foreign countries which are not party to international road traffic conventions are not valid for driving in Portugal. If you want to drive in Portugal, you must request the exchange of your driving licence for a Portuguese licence immediately.
You must fill out the online form and wait for IMT's indication to go to an IMT desk. Once in the desk to register your driving test application, your biometric data will also be collected. The exam fee will be paid there. The date and time of the test will be communicated to you later.
NB: You will have to take one driving test for each category of license you hold.
For more information about driving licenses issued by countries that are not signatories to the international traffic conventions, see the IMTonline portal.
Regardless of the origin of your driving licence, if you want to exchange your licence for a Portuguese licence, you must comply with the following requirements:
To obtain a Portuguese driving licence, you must submit the following documents:
* NB: After delivering the original license, it will be returned by the Portuguese authorities to the issuing country. When you return to your home country you can ask for your driver's license back by handing in your Portuguese driver's license.
For driving licences issued by countries with a bilateral agreement with Portugal or which are not parties to international road traffic conventions, you must also provide:
If you want to give up the exchange, you can ask for the return of the original driving license before the process is completed. You can do this free of charge through the following means:
At the desk
Via the IMTonline portal
After submitting your request, you will receive an email containing information on how to pay the fee of 30 euros and on the collection of biometric data (signature and photograph) if necessary.
Exchanging a foreign driving licence for a Portuguese licence costs 30 euros.
If your driving licence is issued by a country which is not a party to international road traffic conventions, you will have to take a driving test. The test costs 30 euros.
If you want to enrol in a driving school for lessons before the test, a learner’s licence costs 15 euros.
What is the deadline to receive the Portuguese licence?
The Portuguese licence is delivered within an average period of 60 days, except in cases where a practical driving test is required.
During this 60 day period, a provisional licence is issued, which allows you to drive until you receive your Portuguese licence.
NB: The Portuguese driver's license may have a different expiration date than the original.