By 2018-03-30 InOpinion

Driving in Portugal

Ask Afpop
In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.

Question: Must I change my EU driving licence to a Portuguese licence if I am a resident in Portugal?

afpop’s answer: That depends on the licence you hold and when it expires. If you are an EU driving licence holder who is resident in Portugal, you are required to register your driving licence with the Portuguese driving authorities (IMT) within 60 days of becoming resident.

The procedure to register yourself as a driver in Portugal is simple and requires you to visit your local IMT office taking the following copies and the original documents.

■ Photocopy of your driving licence (both sides of the card)
■ Photocopy of proof of residency (Residência certificate or card)
■ Photocopy of passport
■ Photocopy of your Portuguese fiscal card

The IMT will keep the copies of your documents and give you a stamped document in return, which you should then keep with your driving licence and carry whenever driving.

If your EU driving licence expires and you are still a resident in Portugal, you will have to renew it here, by exchanging your driving licence for a European one issued in Portugal.

Driving licences from some EU countries such as Belgium, France and Germany have no expiry date, as they were issued to last forever. There is, however, an EU directive which states that all driving licences must have an expiry date.

From January 2013, it has been mandatory that residents in Portugal who are holders of an EU driving licence without an expiry date must exchange it for a Portuguese licence. This must be done within two years of the date of their residency certificate issue. Information about exchanging the EU driving licence to a Portuguese licence is available for afpop members in the information bulletin “Driving Licence”.

Permission to drive

Question: If my family comes over to Portugal for holiday from a European country, can they drive my Portuguese-registered car while they are here?

afpop’s answer: A car owner may lend their car to another person with a valid European driving licence (that also covers the category of car they will be driving here). The driver must carry the original documents of the vehicle – photocopies are not allowed – and also have their own original identification documents. The driving licence is not accepted as an identification document, it must be either a passport or another form of identity card with photo.

The owner of the car may write a “permission to drive” document for the driver, in Portuguese, and attach a copy of his own identification. It is not a legal requirement, but it is a very good idea in order for the driver to prove that the car is not stolen. Members of afpop have access to over 70 different information bulletins and one of them is “Permission to drive”, which offers a suggested format for such a document written in Portuguese. Members simply have to fill in the blanks and it is ready for use.

afpop is the association of foreign property owners in Portugal, the largest for foreign residents in the country. Their dedicated staff is available to assist members in obtaining answers to any questions about living in Portugal and there are many financial benefits to be enjoyed by afpop members. The association also organises regular social events for Members. afpop provides information in English, German, Dutch, French and Portuguese.
For more information about afpop and the benefits of Membership, visit their website or contact the afpop office on 282 458 509 or 938 252 100, or by e-mail on

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