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Frequently asked questions

The Community model driving licence

  1. Do I have to exchange my old driving licence for a new Community model licence?

    No, the old national driving licences remain valid until the period of validity expires. However, it is compulsory to exchange the driving licence before the expiry of the validity period. It is also possible to exchange it earlier by making a specific request. You will then be issued with a new Community model licence with categories corresponding to those which were recorded on the old model.

  2. What are the effects of exchanging my driving licence for a Community model?

    There are no changes either with regard to your rights, or with regard to mutual recognition. However, holding a new Community model licence will facilitate the recognition of your rights and proceedings with administrative bodies in your country of residence.

  3. Do I have to carry my driving licence with me whenever I am driving ?

    This question falls within the national competence of the Member States. However, when travelling to another country it is strongly recommended to have it with you since this is compulsory in the majority of Member States.

  4. Are national categories recorded on my licence valid in the other countries?

    Even if national categories appear on the driving licence, they are not harmonised yet by Community law. They must not be confused with the harmonised optional sub-categories (A1, B1, C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E) which are mutually recognised in the event of change of country of normal residence.
    A national category may, for example, be a category T (tractor) which corresponds neither to a harmonised Community category, nor to a sub-category. In this case, the Member State in which one wishes to exchange the driving licence is not bound to recognise the national category.

  5. May I apply for a licence in the form of a plastic card ?

    Member States may choose between the plastic card model and the paper model. Citizens wishing to exchange their driving licence cannot choose between the two Community models. They will be given the model chosen by their Member State of residence.


last update: 03-02-2009