Coming from another EU or EEE country, your driving license is also valid in Portugal. You only have the obligation to report to the Portuguese Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT) within 60 days of your official registration.
But after the endless procedure to import our car, we just didn’t feel like it.

If we had done so, we would have received an official document that would have given us a two-year delay to exchange our Dutch driving licenses for Portuguese ones. However, ours will expire soon and we can no longer extend it in the Netherlands because we officially live in Portugal.

So, we really had to go to the IMT again. Within the term of two years, oh no, we are living here for 2.5 years already, oops! Thanks to a number of useful Facebook groups, I knew that we didn’t have to go to Viseu, the headquarters of our district. Therefore we chose to go to Porto this time.
With the prospect of a day in Porto, the useful with the pleasant, we could bring ourselves to it.

Things you need for changing your driving license into a Portuguese driving license

On the IMT site, at troca de titulo de condução de estrangeiro, you will find exactly what you need for this procedure:

  • Passport
  • original driving license
  • certificate of authenticity of your driving license from the country of origin
  • NIF
  • Portuguese residence certificate
  • medical certificate of positive driving ability test

COVID-19 update, march 2021:
If you also need to exchange your driver’s license, check out this new IMT website:
apply for a driving license exchange
I have read on various facebook expat groups that the procedure can now take 6 months!

Atestado médico (medical certificate)

This certificate was a little bump we had to take… Since we didn’t have a family doctor yet. Although we had health insurance, the closest private doctor is not exactly around the corner. The driving license gave us a good reason to arrange that, because everyone who lives in Portugal has access to health care, provided that you are registered with a ‘numero de utente’.
That turned out not to be that difficult. Only our municipal health center has a chronic staff shortage. Therefore it took a while until we could make an appointment with a doctor …

Medical driving ability test

A few weeks later we had an appointment. Our new doctor took the time and made a meticulous intake of it. She wanted to know everything about us as new patients. Of course, everything in Portuguese and we had to do our best to keep up with her. She prescribed a blood test and an ultrasound test and examinations into breast, prostate and colon cancer … Huh? Wait a minute, wait a minute! First, let’s do that driving ability test. That turned out only to contain more a blood pressure measurement, listening with the stethoscope and checking the eyes by reading letters remotely.
Yes, we both succeed!

At the IMT

Always a crowd at IMT!

So there we went with our pile of needed documents, to IMT Porto. The officer went through everything quietly and proceeded to enter our details in his computer. Sigh … sigh again … a questionable frown … And then he explained: Our general practitioner had not adopted all categories of our Dutch driving licenses on the medical certificate. So, there was no other option for him then to only issue category B driving licenses, without AM and BE. We could change that later with a new medical certificate.
Grrrrrrrr, so annoying!

After you enter you can take your number and start the long wait…

After that, we were summoned to the waiting room for our turn to have photos taken.
We almost didn’t believe what we saw. In another corridor, we arrived in a messy room with high storage cupboards in between some desks. Our portrait was made with a super cheap computer camera, clicked onto a screen, with metal office cabinets as a background and illuminated with fluorescent tubes on the ceiling. We really look like crooks on these pics.

Then back to the officer. He gave us a temporary driving license because we had to hand in the Dutch one. And after payment, he said that the new driving licenses would be sent by registered mail. The expectation is that it will arrive within one month, but the temporary driving license is valid for 2 months to be sure.

Post!

And a few weeks later, I found two envelopes in our mailbox with our Portuguese driving licenses! so much for registered post, but who cares. Your driving license is not a valid ID in Portugal.

In summary: From applying for the certificate of authenticity until our driving licenses arrived by post, it took about 5 months.
And the costs: € 4.50 (certificate of authenticity) + € 17 (consult and medical certificate) + € 30 (driving license) = total € 51.50 per person.

Changing the driving license…

To get our original categories on our driving license, we had to go back to the doctor. Only now we had to wait two months, because our doctor, who was already stepping in for a sick colleague, was now also sick at home.

With the new complete medical certificate, we visited the IMT in Porto one more time.
What do you know? The rules have changed nowadays: with the mention of category B, you can also ride a moped (AM) and a trailer up to 350 kg. To get the BE category on your driving license upon conversion, you must prove that you have actually passed an exam for it.
All the effort for nothing! Sigh…

Useful Portuguese words

driving licensecarta de condução
to changetrocar
medical certificateatestado médico
to drive a vehicleconduzir veículo
to waitesperar
take a numberretire a sua senha
categorycategoria
validityvalidade
registered postcorreio registado
provisional licencesubstitui o título de condução
it’s not worth itnão vale a pena

14-02-2020

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