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Driving licence - something to consider

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Posts: 1925
VIP Member
Topic starter
(@old-bloke)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago

I don't think I can be the only one on here who hasn't yet swapped their UK driving licence for a PT one. At the moment we can use our UK licence whilst it's still valid, or we can exchange it for a PT one. What's going to happen post Brexit?
Will our UK licences no longer be considered as "a driving licence issued by a Member State"? Will UK licence holders still be able to do a straight swap for a PT licence post Brexit? Will we be time-limited as to how long we can use it to drive in PT in the same way as other non-EU licence holders?
I've decided I'm not going to risk it so Mrs OB and I went to IMTT Castelo Branco to exchange our licences so as not to be caught out. She now has her paper temporary PT licence valid for 2 months, I don't.
My (paper) licence was issued by the DVLA in 1991 after a change of address. Whilst it is an EU licence, those issued by the DVLA back then had the validity period on the front under the name and address. The lady I dealt with wasn't happy that the validity period wasn't printed alongside each vehicle category and that there wasn't little pictures of the vehicle applicable to each category. She has to send a copy of it to her boss in Lisbon for a decision to be made on whether they will accept it.
Mrs OB's paper licence was issued in 1997 (yes, she was naughty and didn't get the address changed with the DVLA when she should have) but it did have the little pictures and validity dates alongside each vehicle category.
I now have to wait whilst IMTT go through their due diligence, hopefully it will be completed before Brexit.
What was a surprise was that we took all the relevant documents but they wanted us to supply photocopies for them. In the past I've tried to be helpful and supply photocopies to PT bureaucrats to save them time and money only to be told they can't accept photocopies that they haven't taken themselves. Fortunately there was an office just around the corner who did the copying for us.
Whether we've made a wise decision to exchange pre-Brexit will be revealed in 2 years time.

13 Replies




Posts: 2698
VIP Member
(@peterfc)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago

Hi

Myself and a friend have both been stopped for a document check and each time both myself and my friend where told that we have to change our UK Driving Licence for a Portuguese licence.

Now my friend and I have both changed our driving licence as required by the GNR who found the page in the very thick book they carry in there car.

I now have no reason to worry at the end of the day i won't argue with the GNR. I doesn't matter what others have to say i would rather listen to the GNR than risk a fine.

Peter

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Posts: 1925
VIP Member
Topic starter
(@old-bloke)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago

Hi

Myself and a friend have both been stopped for a document check and each time both myself and my friend where told that we have to change our UK Driving Licence for a Portuguese licence.

Now my friend and I have both changed our driving licence as required by the GNR who found the page in the very thick book they carry in there car.

I now have no reason to worry at the end of the day i won't argue with the GNR. I doesn't matter what others have to say i would rather listen to the GNR than risk a fine.

Peter

Whilst I totally agree with your sentiments that it is easier to just agree and go along with what you were told by the GNR. They acted in contravention of EU Reg 2006/126/EC which has been adopted into PT law (I can't remember what the relevant PT law number is). However IF an EU driving licence does not have an expiry date (some Countries didn't issue licences with an expiry date in the past) then you have to exchange it for a PT licence within 2 years of taking up residency. Similarly the old paper licences were valid until the holder reaches 70, once someone becomes resident in PT the PT rules on renewal ages become active (60, 65, 70). The same also applies to UK photocard licences that have a 10 year validity. E.G someone aged 56 renews their UK photocard licence before leaving the UK to take up residence in PT, they would think that their licence is OK until it expires when they are 66 whereas to the strict interpretation of PT law their licence ceases to be valid when they are 60.
I've been pulled twice in PT, both times by the Brigardo Traffico (the traffic police), once for a document check and once for speeding. (I was fined for the speeding and got a letter 2 months later telling me how many points they had deducted from my PT driver record). On neither occasion was my UK issued EU compliant licence questioned.
I've met cops in the UK who like to flash big thick books under people's noses saying they're quoting the law. Unfortunately their interpretation of what they were reading was sometimes wrong (mind you I've also heard lawyers in the UK incorrectly interpreting the law as well).
BUT whilst I'm more than happy to argue with a UK cop when they're wrong, had I been told by the PT cops that stopped me that I had to exchange my licence I would have done so simply to avoid the aggravation knowing that at some time I'd have to change it anyway. And to be honest I can't actually think of any reason why I didn't swap to a PT licence as soon as I moved out here, it was just laziness on my part and that isn't a valid reason.

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Posts: 154
VIP Member
(@global-nomad)
Estimable Member
Joined: 5 years ago

Brexit just keeps on rearing its head. Given good old Nigel's approach of accusing other EU member politicians (collectively) of behaving like the Mafia, I'd suggest changing everything possible as soon as possible. By the time Nigel's done, no UK citizen will be allowed tread on EU soil and any found wandering abroad will be mercilessly persecuted!! Someone needs to put Farage on a lead and apply a muzzle.

http://blogs.laverdad.es/elsaltodelgril ... brexir.jpg

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Posts: 2317
VIP Member
(@x-camone)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago

Hi

Myself and a friend have both been stopped for a document check and each time both myself and my friend where told that we have to change our UK Driving Licence for a Portuguese licence.

Now my friend and I have both changed our driving licence as required by the GNR who found the page in the very thick book they carry in there car.

I now have no reason to worry at the end of the day i won't argue with the GNR. I doesn't matter what others have to say i would rather listen to the GNR than risk a fine.

Peter

Had you previously registered your UK licence with the IMTT and received a document proving it from them when you were told this? Because that is the alternative procedure and any traffic cop on the road should know that and accept your UK licence plus the document. I'd be very surprised indeed if it's any different where you are, which, compared to here is positively thronging with tourists and foreign residents. They will also be coming across any number of Portuguese citizens who've lived and worked abroad and returned to Portugal bearing foreign driving licences. I'm sure they know the rules inside out.

The rules, incidentally, state that you must register or exchange within 60 days of becoming resident in PT, so if you were outside that period when you were apparently told this, that was risking a fine and the GNR were very kind to you indeed.

Similarly the old paper licences were valid until the holder reaches 70, once someone becomes resident in PT the PT rules on renewal ages become active (60, 65, 70). The same also applies to UK photocard licences that have a 10 year validity. E.G someone aged 56 renews their UK photocard licence before leaving the UK to take up residence in PT, they would think that their licence is OK until it expires when they are 66 whereas to the strict interpretation of PT law their licence ceases to be valid when they are 60.

A licence from another EU state, registered in PT, is valid until whatever date or age applies under that state's laws, regardless of the PT age thresholds. It's not required to be re-validated or exchanged until whatever date is printed on the licence (or, presumably any age that has been subsequently applied in that home state), at which time it then has to be exchanged or re-validated to comply with PT rules.

BUT whilst I'm more than happy to argue with a UK cop when they're wrong, had I been told by the PT cops that stopped me that I had to exchange my licence I would have done so simply to avoid the aggravation knowing that at some time I'd have to change it anyway. And to be honest I can't actually think of any reason why I didn't swap to a PT licence as soon as I moved out here, it was just laziness on my part and that isn't a valid reason.

I wouldn't see any reason, if it arose with me, not to question it politely and to point out that the information is available on the IMT's website and links from it. But it's never arisen although I've been stopped on numerous occasions for document checks with a registered UK licence, and I've passed one of the PT age limits for renewal during the period since I've been here.

With regard to registering vs exchanging, it was the case (but apparently is not any longer) that there was a massive backlog on issuing / re-issuing of PT licences, sometimes of well over a year, during which time you would be supplied with a document in place of your licence. The document is only valid on the roads in PT, which means you couldn't take your car into Spain or anywhere else, nor drive in the UK during that period.

The other thing is that registering the licence as opposed to exchanging is a slightly easier process, not requiring a medical, for example, nor photographs. Done and dusted in the time it takes in the IMT office. And free, as opposed to 30€, which the exchange costs. Always a bonus for skinflints.

I'm sure good sense will prevail over Brexit with regard to driving licences for those already resident. If a UK licence was issued when the UK was a member of the EU and has been registered, it wouldn't make sense for it suddenly to be deemed invalid. Once the UK stops issuing EU style licences, it might be a different matter but certainly not anything to lose too much sleep over, in my opinion. Lots of foreign licences from outside the EU are recognised and valid in PT - just slightly different rules about how long for and when they must be exchanged by.

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