1st Nov 2016
Does Portugal always have to do exactly what the EU says? Not always! There are many common misunderstandings about the European Union – especially about the difference between its Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Recommendations, and Opinions) – all of which are “Legal Acts” issued by the EU. You can read about some of the differences on this page:
Basically, some are binding and mandatory. Others are just guidelines or suggestions of how things might work legally. But often it’s up to the individual member states to create their own laws and rules within the EU’s general framework.
DRIVER’S LICENCE EXAMPLE: There is an EU Directive (2006/126/CE) that, if an EU or EEA driver relocates to an EU member state, they should register their foreign license with the relevant motoring authority (in Portugal that’s the IMT).
1. Driving licences issued by Member States shall be mutually recognised.
2. When the holder of a valid national driving licence without the administrative validity period set out in Article 7(2) takes up normal residence in a Member State other than that which issued the driving licence, the host Member State may apply to the licence the administrative validity periods set out in that Article by renewing the driving licence, as from 2 years after the date on which the holder has taken up normal residence on its territory.
However…the Law in Portugal does have variations:
(a) No driver may simultaneously hold more than one driving licence issued by any of member state of the European Union or European Economic Area.
(b) Holders of driving licences issued by any member state of the EU or EEA and holders of international driving permits are only allowed to drive motor vehicles in Portugal during their first 180 days in the country. (artigo 125 / 3)
(c) From the date on which a licence holder establishes formal residence in Portugal, he or she must:
• Advise IMT of the correct residential address within 60 days.
(e) All drivers resident in Portugal have a duty to inform the Department of Motor Vehicles (IMT) office of any change of residential address within 60 days. (artigo 15)
Source: Nº 1, artigo 125, Lei No 114/94, 03 de Maio.
Source: Nº 2, artigo 15, Decreto-Lei No 138/2012, 05 de julho.
NOTE: FAILURE TO OBSERVE THESE LAWS MAY RESULT IN A HEAVY PENALTY.
You would be wise to check if your driving licence is legal in Portugal.
If not, you’re welcome to contact me.