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Brexit – swap your Driving Licence now!

bmwThe Foreign Office is advising British people living in EU countries to swap their UK driving licences for a local licence before 29th March 2019 in order to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, writes Sue Fletcher.

The latest advice on the Government’s website states: “If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, you will not be able to exchange your driving licence without taking another driving test.”

For the full text see:


Swapping a UK driving licence as an EU citizen requires a trip to your local IMT. You cannot do this through a driving school, but subsequent renewals can be processed through a driving school, or online, which might save a lot of travelling in the future.

Take with you;

  1. UK licence
  2. FiscalNumber
  3. Passport
  4. Residency certificate
  5. ‘Fit to drive’ medical certificate from your Portuguese GP
  6. Proof of your address (e.g. utility bill)

IMT staff will complete the paperwork, take a digital photo and digital signature and take away your UK licence. In its place you’ll be given a piece of paper that allows you to drive until your licence arrives in the post – usually within three weeks, but this might be longer, in which case you may need to return to IMT to have your temporary licence re-stamped.

Your UK licence will be cancelled in the UK so please don’t consider lying to the UK authorities about a ‘lost’ licence as the fine is £1,000. It’s worth checking that IMT is allowing you all the vehicle classes currently shown on your UK licence as this can cause complications in the future if you have a motorbike, for example, and then discover you have lost the licence to ride it. 

Cost is €30.

Driving licence test in Portugal

If you don’t swap before Brexit you’ll need to pass a Portuguese driving test. The driving test in Portugal consists of three parts – technical, theoretical and practical:

  • Theoretical – 30 questions in 35 minutes (Passing mark: 27 out of 30)
  • Technical exam – 50 minutes
  • Practical driving exam – 40-50 minutes with instructor and examiner present.

Prior to taking the driving exam, you’ll need to take at least 32 hours of lessons at a driving school and have passed the theoretical part of the test. Before you enrol with a driving school, make sure it is a government-licensed driving centre.

Once you have completed your course with a driving school, you can apply for a registration form for a driving licence and the practical driving exam.

If you don’t speak Portuguese, the British Embassy may accredit an interpreter, who will be allowed to attend your exam and translate the driver licence test in Portuguese.

Older drivers in Portugal need to undergo medical and psychological examinations when renewing the validity of their Portuguese driving licence at ages 50, 60, 65 and 70, and drivers older than 70 must revalidate every two years.