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Are you an expat who is planning to drive abroad?

Whether you are relocating for work, taking a vacation, or something else entirely, it can be tricky to figure out which countries will accept your driver’s licence.

Luckily, we have put together a guide to help you navigate the process of driving abroad as an expat.

Which countries accept driving licences from EU citizens

As an EU citizen, you can drive in all 27 member states of the EU, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway using your EU licence.

Keep in mind, you can only have one EU driver’s licence at a time. You have the option to either swap your old licence for a new one issued by the new country. Or continue driving using your old licence. However, in Italy, Spain and Portugal, there might be a limit of 2 years for using your home country’s licence.

The authorities will verify with the equivalent authorities in your home country to make sure that your original licence wasn’t restricted or suspended. It’s also important to note that even if you can use your licence from another EU state, the traffic regulations in the new EU country may still be different. We highly recommend reading a highway code book!

Portugal road sign

Which countries accept driving licences from non-EU citizens

For expats with non-EU licences, the recognition of your driving licence abroad depends on whether there is a bilateral agreement between your home country and your country of residence. It is important to check this before driving abroad, as the rules and requirements can vary greatly between countries.

The Gov UK website offers a wealth of information for UK expats, including which countries will accept their EU licence. And when they might need to obtain a permit or take a driving test to drive internationally. It’s always better to be prepared and have the necessary documents in place before embarking on any international driving.

As an expat with a non-EU licence, you may find that some countries will only accept an international driving permit (IDP) in conjunction with your licence. An IDP is a document that translates your driving licence into several languages. Making it easier for foreign authorities to understand. It’s always wise to check with your embassy or consulate in the country you will be driving in to find out the specific requirements for driving as an expat.

Cyprus road sign

Recent changes in the United Arab Emirates

The UAE announced that passport-holders from 43 countries can now use their country’s license to drive in the UAE. Regardless of whether they have an EU or non-EU licence!

The 43 countries included in the list are: Albania, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Estonia, Slovak, Slovenia, Serbia, Cyprus, Latvia, China, Luxembourg, Lithuania, the US, Iceland, Montenegro, France, Japan, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Malta, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Norway, New Zealand, Romania, Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Finland, the UK, Turkey, Canada, Poland, South Africa and Australia.

This is a significant step for individuals who want to travel or relocate to the UAE, saving time when considering car hire. Plus another reason why the UAE is a great place to consider for 2023!

UAE road sign

How RHJ Accountants can help

We’re here to offer our guidance and support to those who are considering or have already relocated to another country. Although we’re not a car hire company, we can assist you with a variety of other aspects related to your move.

Our team can help you navigate the complicated world of visas and immigration requirements. Ensuring that you’re fully informed and able to make the best decisions for your situation. In addition, we can also assist you in exploring your tax situation, ensuring that you’re fully compliant with local tax laws. Whether you’re an individual or a business owner, we can offer our expert advice and support.

Don’t let the complexities of relocating abroad as an expat hold you back. Schedule a FREE consultation with our team, to begin your discussions.

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💬 PSA: between April & June our Portuguese team have limited meeting availability due to the Tax Return Submission Period 🇵🇹