Driving Licence Conversion

A frequently asked question is what are the rules around driving licence conversion in Austria and the UK:

UK Driving Licence Conversion

Resident from 1st January 2021

Holders of a UK driving licence who have a main residence in Austria MUST change their UK driving licence within 6 months. This can be done without sitting a practical test, but a medical may be required. 

You can still exchange after the 6 months, but you are NOT allowed to drive in Austria. Your UK driving licence must still be valid at the time of it being exchanged.

See the Austrian Foreign Driving licence conversion rules below.

Resident before 1st January 2021

selective-photography of stop signage

Withdrawal AgreementWithdrawal Agreement The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.   If you are resident in Austria at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Austria.   Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations.   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration   beneficiaries are no longer permitted to drive with a UK driving licence in Austria. There was a well-publicised deadline of 30th June 2021 for the conversion.

To drive in Austria, you MUST convert your UK driving licence to an Austrian one. Please note that you can only do this whilst the UK driving licence remains valid.

See the Austrian Foreign Driving licence conversion rules below.

EU/EEAEEA The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the 27 EU Member States as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The United Kingdom is not part of the EEA. Driving licence Conversion

There is no obligation under the Austrian rules to exchange a driving licence from another EU/EEA country. However, you do need to adhere to the rules of the country that issued the licence in the first place (e.g. any requirement to notify a change of address).

In January 2013, the EU introduced the new driving licence format which have a validity of 10 to 15 years. Drivers with licences issued before the entry into force of this Directive will be subject to the new rules on validity at the latest by 19 January 2033.

You can voluntarily exchange your EU driving licence but in order to do that it must be valid.

Driving Licences from other countries

Please see the Austrian Foreign Driving licence conversion rules below as the rules are country specific.

Austrian Driving Licence in the UK

It is perfectly valid to use an Austrian/EU Driving licence indefinitely in the UK up to the age of 70. However, if you exchanged your UK Licence for an Austrian Driving licence and move back to the UK permanently, you must exchange it within 12 months.  

Other Information

Driving Licence Medical

In some cases when applying to exchange your driving licence you may be asked to have a medical examination (Führerscheinuntersuchung). Unfortunately you cannot use your normal GP and will have to choose another.

The lists of approved doctors, by province are below

Doctors on this list are officially mentioned as:

sachverständige Ärzte gem.§ 34 Abs.1 Z 2 Führerscheingesetz 1997

General UK Driving Licence Rules about Moving abroad

The DVLA have guidelines if you move abroad

Please also note the following DVLA guidelines:

“The address must be one in GB where we can contact you at any time:
Section 99(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 outlines the requirement for a driver to notify the Agency of a change in name and/or address.
Section 99(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 stipulates that it is an offence not to do so.
The maximum penalty for this offence is a £1000 fine. (Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988). “ 

In summary, if you live in Austria, with no contact address in the UK, you should not be using a UK driving licence.

General ÖAMTC Guidelines Important Notes

“If a vehicle is driven without a valid driving licence, liability insurance may in the event of a traffic accident reclaim any payments made to the victim up to € 11,000 from the driver and the owner of the vehicle.
A non-EEA licence is invalid if the holder fails to exchange it for an Austrian licence within 6 months of becoming a resident. If the vehicle is lent to another person, the owner must make sure that the driver is in possession of a valid driving licence”

Insurance Implications

Driving with an invalid driving licence may in turn invalidate your insurance policy. In the event you are stopped by the police or involved in an accident this may result in further action.

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