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Drivers License Exchange - Non-EU Citizens

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Topic starter
(@lowellmk)
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Joined: 1 year ago

Hi All!

I watched carefully the ACP presentation on obtaining a Portuguese driver's license and had a few questions that I was hoping someone could answer. 

1. The speaker mentioned a "Certificate of authenticity of the driving license". What exactly are they looking for - an Apostille notarized copy of the driver's license with a "I certify that this is my license"?  Is it something else?

2. How long is the exchange process currently taking?

3. Did anyone have to go through the medical and psychological exam as part of the process? What was that like, how much did it cost, where did you go for the "exams".

4. Has anyone completed the process who is living in Madeira?

Obrigado in advance for any shared experiences.

 

🙂

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VIP Member
(@old-bloke)
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Joined: 14 years ago

1) It is a document from the driving licence authority that issued the driving licence certifying the validity of the licence.

2) Currently variable, I have read stories about people exchanging UK issued licences still waiting 9 months later. Pre Brexit and covid it took 2 to 3 weeks.

3) Everyone has to go through the standard medical which can be done by your doctor at the health centre (not all will) or a private doctor who is registered with IMT to do them, cost €30 to £40. Unless you're knocking on death's door, or as blind as a bat, it's nothing to worry about. You only need the psychological test if you want to drive lorries, buses, taxis or ambulances, some driving schools do those, cost unknown to me.

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@old-bloke 

Outstanding and thank you!

I live in the US and I hope that the Motor Vehicle Administration clerk has some idea of how to help with this. I'm wondering if any Americans have found the magic wording that would help their MVA clerks provide the necessary certification?

 

Thanks again....

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Community Member
(@christopher)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 19

@old-bloke I just exchanged my US driver's license last month. I needed to get a DMV driving record then sent to Secretary of State for an Apostille. The Secretary of State wanted the DMV report notarized but DMV in Oregon did not notorize so a friend spent hours on phone to get a certification that satisfied the state. The medical exam is just questions and answer questions, be careful for they look for conditions and better to be cautious. The documents are uploaded on IMT website then they will contact you with a date for an appointment. Go to IMT to se what ID documents you will need. The normal driver's license is a different class than US so look up what class driver's license you will need. You do not need a psych exam for normal driver's license for I believe it is for trucks. My appointment came in a few months where my wife's appointment is for June. It just depends on luck. Then you give up your driver's license and the issue you a paper license on letter size paper with your photo, the real license will come within 6 months. Oh, be prepared to spend a day for the appointment. We traveled to Lisbon and waited a few hours even though we had an appointment time. Good luck.

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Posts: 251
Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
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Joined: 2 years ago

My wife and I applied for the license exchange on May 5. Two months later I got an appointment at IMT. They gave me a temporary which expired 2 months later. I had to return to IMT to get it extended. I'm still waiting for the permanent license to show up in the mail. 

Yesterday my wife FINALLY got an appointment at IMT. It's on March 14th. 

So after more than 9 months, neither of us have a permanent license. 

I should mention that we used Ei! to do this and Carla has been great! I can't imagine dealing with IMT on our own. 

Also, you can do the medical exam online at dronline.pt. It's fast and easy. 

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@thunderduck 

Great!

 

Many thanks.

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Posts: 251
Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
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Joined: 2 years ago

1. You need apostilled copy of your driving abstract. Get it from the Secretary of State office in the state where you live in the US. 

2. 9+ months

3. We did the exams online at dronline.pt. It was fast and easy. Do you have all your limbs? Do you have epileptic seizures. Do you wear glasses? Are you in good health? They emailed a copy and also transmitted it to IMT. Easy! 

4. Not us. We're in Lisbon. 

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@thunderduck 

Obrigado!

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@thunderduck 

This may be a silly question.... but is the "driving abstract" the same thing as a "driving record" from the Motor Vehicle Administration (in the US?).  

If so, would I be correct in thinking that I would obtain the driving record, make a statement that it was the official driving record on the document, and get an Apostille?

Where I get confused is that some of the terms on the Official PT Web Sites don't map to terms that are used domestically.  I definitely do not want to discover I'm missing a step after I arrive in Portugal.

So, I guess I would need 2 official documents:

Photo Copy of my driver's license, Apostille

Driving Record, Apostille

 

Does that sound correct?

Thanks again

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Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 251

@lowellmk I don't think you need to have your drivers license apostilled. We didn't do that, just the driving record also called the abstract.

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Premium Member
(@cindyb)
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Joined: 1 year ago

There is a little known fact that if you have a US drivers license valid in the area covered by the San Francisco consulate, you can have your drivers license certified by the consulate rather than having to get it apostilled.  It is my belief that the SF consulate is the only one in the states to offer this.

It was a bit bumpy for me (the charge changed after I submitted) but all was accomplished through the mail (rather FedEx!). Once I get residency and apply to exchange my license with that document, I will report on how that actually worked. 

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@cindyb 

Thank you Cindy!  

I live just outside of DC and will ping the Consulate there to see if they offer the service, too....and will report if they offer that service as well.

To get your license certified, did you send a photo copy of your licensee to the Consulate or the actual license itself? Also, are you going to get a duplicate license and surrender it or are you going to surrender your only copy of your license?

Safe travels!

 

Update

Having reviewed the Washington DC's Embassy web site, I think the answer is that they certify a number of different documents, just not the Driver's license.  If anyone is interested about what they do certify, here is the link:

https://washingtondc.embaixadaportugal.mne.gov.pt/en/consular-services/consular-services/legalization-of-foreign-documents

 

 

Lowell

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Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 251

@lowellmk Get an abstract of your driving record and have it apostilled. They attach the apostille right to the abstract. That's driving *record* not drivers license. 

At the IMT appointment here in Portugal you will have to surrender your US license and they will give you a Portuguese temporary. Please note that IMT will verify your driving record with the DMV in the US. If you have requested a duplicate license then they will know and I suspect you will have to surrender it also. 

Boa sorte!

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@thunderduck 

Thank you!

 

🙁

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@thunderduck 

Thank you.... and the others for the info.  I have a few other questions if you have some time.  

Assuming that the driving record is a more than one page, does each page have to be Apostilled? If only one stamp, do you have any idea if it should be the first or last page that gets apostilled?

If I receive a certified driving record from the MVA, and I do not open the envelope, would that be sufficient?

Cheers!

 

.

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

Oh.. and do you have a sense of how current the record must be?  I depart May 1, I plan on applying for residency 90 days after that, then begin the process of applying for my drivers license.  It's possible that my US record will be over 6 months old at that point....does that seem a problem?

 

 

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Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 251

@lowellmk The apostille is a document that they attach. The number of pages in your driving abstract doesn't matter. I can't answer the question about not-opening the envelope but I doubt that would work. 

Getting the drivers license exchange is taking a long time right now. My abstract was well over 90 days old when I had my appointment and there was no issue. 

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 87

@thunderduck

Thanks!  

That definitely helps.

 

Best to all.

 

 

Lowell

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Community Member
(@matt15)
Joined: 6 months ago

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Posts: 1

@cindyb Same happened to me! Sent with UPS ($100 round trip!), they literally sent everything back saying $0.49 was missing! They had updated the fees on the link in their menu, but not updated the link to their new fees on the page specific to Driver's Licenses, and literally had no remorse costing me $100 for their own mistake.

I called them to call them out, they lied telling me that the website on their end was perfectly up to date. A couple hours after the call, they updated the website.  Maddening. Now in the process of sending everything back to them *again*, hopefully before the new month so they don't end up doing the same bs.

Not even sure if this certificate is even necessary since the DMV record already has a certified stamp, but at this point, I'm learning that in Portugal one is better safe than sorry. Total cost with shipping will have been approximately $300 so far (can't use regular mail because CTT is very unreliable in our area, so have to use UPS).

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Premium Member
(@cindyb)
Joined: 1 year ago

Member
Posts: 140

@matt15 I think my cost is up to about $250 at this point. At some point I could have flown back to Washington state and had the thing apostilled for what I have spent...

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Community Member
(@trinityone)
Joined: 8 months ago

Member
Posts: 1

@cindyb Dear Cindy B,  I am from San Francisco as well, and having the most difficult time getting my driving record apostilled in Sac, while living in PT.  Did you process worked out?  Any tips?  Thx!

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Premium Member
(@lowellmk)
Joined: 1 year ago

Member
Posts: 87

@trinityone 

I presently live in Maryland. Our MVA has an online application for certified drivers licenses.  Based on my read of the requirements, a certified deriving record is all that is required. I saw no mention of an Apostille requirement. 

Also, you may want to look into the services offered by ACP. On their website, they state that’s the assist members with the application process. 

I plan on joining when I get to Portugal. Please let us know what you find out. 

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