I'm a citizen of a non-EU country but currently live in an EU country for more than 1 year (not a permanent residence). I don't have a driver's license from the country I currently live in but holds a valid driver's license from my non-EU home country.

When I read the law, in many EU countries, driver's license from my home country is valid if I have not lived in that particular country for more than 1 year. Now comes my question, given my situation, is my license valid when I visit another EU country that accept the license from my home country?

I asked this question from a car rental company and they said I'm ok to drive. But I want to verify this.


Basically yes, at least to the extent that a tourist coming directly from the country that issued your license would be allowed to drive with it. Non-EU license validity is handled at the national level, not at the EU level. Your stay in another EU country doesn't make a difference.

However, it also means that some countries recognize a slightly different set of licenses or have different requirements for their exchange. The 1-year threshold is not universal either.

Technically, some countries also require that you had been a resident in the country where you obtained your license at the time when you obtained it but I assume this was the case and it's unlikely to even come up for visitors (it's a somewhat circumvoluted way to ban license tourism by people who are banned from obtaining a license in their country of residence).

  • And, although not EU anymore, the UK, for example, also has rules about how long you can live in the country and still use your foreign licence. I believe last I was there (5-10 years ago) you could use a foreign licence for a few months, but if you were in the country for longer than that you were required to obtain a UK driving licence, even if you would have been exempt otherwise. Not sure if other countries have similar stipulations. Some countries (US, eg) also had additional restrictions in the UK (ie: no manual transmission driving without a UK driving test - automatics OK, though).
    – J...
    Aug 18 '20 at 18:58

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