The transitional regime for the recognition and exchange of driving licenses issued by the United Kingdom
Since January 30, 2020, the United Kingdom is no longer a Member State of the European Union, and the withdrawal agreement has entered into force with the purpose of guaranteeing an orderly withdrawal from that country, beginning a transitional period, during which the law of the Union still applies to the United Kingdom, just as the situation of citizens, consumers, businesses, investors, students and researchers remained unchanged both in the European Union and in the United Kingdom, a period which ended on January 31, 2020.
As such, on January 1, 2021 the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union came to be governed by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that came into force on January 1, 2021, however not all aspects were negotiated and are provided in this Agreement, as is the case for the recognition and exchange of driving licenses issued by the United Kingdom, which is no longer applicable as of the 1st of January 2021.
In view of the high number of UK citizens living in Portugal, who at the time are the 6th biggest group of foreigners living in Portugal, a bilateral agreement for mutual recognition and exchange of driving licenses is under negotiation between both States. Since the negotiations are still ongoing, Decree-Law 25-B/2021, of 30 March which establishes a transitional regime for the recognition and exchange of driving licenses issued by the United Kingdom.
Under the terms of this Law, holders of driving licenses issued by the United Kingdom living in Portugal can exchange their title for a Portuguese driving license. In these situations, it is not necessary to carry out a driving test, in accordance with the provisions of article 128 of the Highway Code. In the Portuguese driving license granted by exchange of foreign titles, the categories of vehicles registered in the foreign title exchanged are recorded in the new driving license.
The application of this law presupposes equivalent treatment by the British authorities towards Portuguese citizens living in the United Kingdom.
This transitional regime began to take effect on April 1, 2021, applying to the driving license change processes pending on the date on which the effects took effect.
With the transitional regime provided by Law no. 25-B/2021, of 30 March, the recognition and exchange of foreign driving licenses provided for by Portuguese law still applies, in the same terms, to driving licenses issued by the United Kingdom.
If this is your case, regularize your title by taking advantage of this transitional regime under penalty of subsequent amendment of increased complexity.
Lawyer and Associate