Local requirements for expat driving licenses

Published:  27 Sep at 6 PM
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Although sorting out driving necessities before leaving for an overseas post or new life isn’t top of the average expat to-do list, it’s wise to get an idea of local requirements as well as driving standards.

Getting mobile in your new country makes settling and equipping your new home far easier, and those moving to from the UK to other EU member states, EEC countries or Switzerland will find their British driving license is all they need at first. For those travelling to other world countries, it’s best to equip yourself with an International Driving Permit, easily available and valid for one year.

Once you’re settled in, the best idea is to get a local driver’s licence, which can also be used as identification if necessary, saving your having to carry your passport around with you. Processes and the cost of obtaining a license vary across the globe, and can get complicated in Asian and Middle Eastern countries due to language difficulties and script variations.

In Spain, resident expats can make do with their UK license for two years, after which they must obtain a Spanish drivers’ licence or risk a fine. Since last January, a medical examination must be taken, and retaken every 10 years unless the driver is over the age of 65, when it becomes five-yearly.

The Netherlands licensing authority takes around two weeks to process an application, during which time the applicant is not permitted to drive. This inconvenience can be reduced by applying the minute you arrive, and hiring a car with driver until you receive your license.

Australian states all have different regulations concerning application for a driving licence but, as a general rule, new arrivals will need to apply for a local license after three months. Generally, eyesight tests are common, and road knowledge tests less so, especially in Asia, and document requirements vary between countries.
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