Who needs a Portuguese driving license?
You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age to drive a car in Portugal. As a temporary visitor, you’re allowed to use a valid international license for up to six months. If you continue to use your license after this date without renewing it or arranging a Portuguese driving license exchange, you could face heavy fines. When driving as a visitor it can be worth purchasing an International Driving Permit, even though it isn’t required in all cases.
If you relocate to Portugal and become a permanent resident, however, the conditions change. If you have an EU/EEA license you can simply continue to use this until it expires. If you have a non-EU license, you may be mandated to get a Portuguese driving license.
Portugal driving license exchange: for EU licenses
If you move to Portugal and want to continue using your international driving permit, you’ll need to inform the Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT, Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes) within 30 days of obtaining your residence certificate. You can also continue using your EU driving license until it expires. Failure to let the IMT know you’ll be using your old license can result in significant fines.
However, it can still be worthwhile to arrange a Portugal driving license exchange for your EU license. This is largely because if your license is damaged, stolen or lost, it can only be replaced by the organization that issued it. This may cause problems in some cases, for example, if you have a UK license the DVLA doesn’t renew or replace licenses to addresses abroad.