Driving licence exchange

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: I am going to need to change my UK driving licence to a Portuguese one and I’ve heard that they don’t include all the categories that you have on your original licence. Is that true?

afpop answers: One of the changes for British citizens who are residents in Portugal after the end of the year will be the requirement to exchange their UK driving licence for a Portuguese one. This must be done within 90 days, so the end of March 2021, but can be done at any time before then (obviously this can’t be done under the current conditions).

The reason that some categories may not get transferred to the Portuguese licence is that IMT requires proof that a test has been passed or that the licence holder has permission to drive those classes of vehicles. You would think that the fact that they are included on your UK licence should be enough, but there is good news for those who are exchanging their licence and wish to have all the categories they are entitled to included in their Portuguese licence.

It is possible to obtain from DVLA a ‘Certificate of Entitlement’, which details all the classes for which a test has been passed. A code can be obtained from the DVLA site, which you can then give to IMT to verify the categories to which you have entitlement. When entering the DVLA site, you will need to have your driver number and national insurance number. Then follow these simple instructions on how to apply for the code.

▪ Go to the link: www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
▪ Click “Start Now”
▪ Insert your driving licence number, national insurance number, and the postcode that is on your driving licence, then click “View Now”
▪ This will take you to your driver’s page where you should click the fourth box headed “get your check code” and then on the green box “Get a Code”
▪ You will then get to a page that shows your eight-digit code, and a list of the categories and expiry dates. This code is valid for 21 days. You should print off the document and take it with you to your appointment. The staff at IMT will then use the code to confirm with DVLA, so make sure you don’t wait until the end of the 21-day period and risk the code expiring.

For those people who don’t have other categories, such as trailers, motorcycles or HGV on their licence, or who don’t want them to be included on their Portuguese licence, you have no need to do any of this.
We have a fact sheet available to afpop members, which includes all the information that people will need to decide if this applies to them and then how to proceed.

For more information about the benefits of membership of afpop, the largest association for foreign residents in Portugal, you can visit their website www.afpop.com; email them direct on info@afpop.com or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 or 938 252 100. Please remember to quote THE ALGARVE RESIDENT when contacting them.