Renewing a Portuguese driving licence

Re: Exchange of your driving licence for a Portuguese one. Beware!

Dear editor,

I have read with great interest Mr Georges Kiener’s letter regarding the exchange of your driving licence for a Portuguese one and can fully agree with every point that has been made, as I have a very similar experience.

However, I started the process to exchange my UK licence in late 2020! For one year, I received automated responses to my email requests ‘please wait’.

Towards the end of 2021, I read an article that due to a change in their computer program, the IMT had lost all previous applications. So, I started the program all over again in October 2021. To my delight, I heard from the IMT in December 2021 and they requested additional information, which I was able to provide in February 2022. Not long afterwards I received an email with the request to attend an appointment in Faro on August 25, 2022. I was delighted. At that meeting, I went through the same procedure as Mr Kiener – photograph taken, substitute licence issued etc – hoping that I my licence would arrive soon.

As of today, at the end of June 2023 – I am still waiting – 10 months later and 32 months since I started the process!

All my enquiries and requests for information to the IMT ([email protected]) have been met with the same response: ‘You have to wait’.

Again, very similar to Mr Kiener, I have booked a trip to go abroad and I am still not able to drive/hire a car abroad.

However, I have been told that if I wish, I could collect my original UK driving licence from the Faro IMT office. This might be helpful for Mr Kiener, but not for me as my UK driving licence has, in the meantime, expired!

I am totally stuck and getting nowhere with my enquiries/requests to the IMT.

I appreciate that bureaucracy is more complex here in Portugal, but that a simple process is now taking close to three years is just totally unacceptable.

So, my message to all those waiting for a new Portuguese driving licence: don’t expect anything soon, unless you are able to use one of the professional services companies in Almancil who can get you a licence pretty quickly. This, unfortunately, was not an option for me as they stopped dealing with the exchange of UK licences.

Kristina Griffith