A single driving licence for the whole EU
The EU has introduced a harmonised licence model and further minimum requirements for obtaining a licence. This should help to keep unsafe drivers off Europe's roads - wherever they take their driving test.
This won't affect your driving entitlements – you will still be able to drive the same vehicles as before.
Some standard EU requirements
Since 19 January 2013, all driving licences issued by EU countries have the same look and feel. The licences are printed on a piece of plastic that has the size and shape of a credit card.
Safety & security
Harmonised administrative validity periods for the driving licence document have been introduced which are between 10 and 15 years for motorcycles and passenger cars. This enables the authorities to regularly update the driving licence document with new security features that will make it harder to forge or tamper - so unqualified or banned drivers will find it harder to fool the authorities, in their own country or elsewhere in the EU.
The new European driving licence is also protecting vulnerable road users by introducing progressive access for motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers. The "progressive access" system means that riders will need experience with a less powerful bike before they go on to bigger machines. Mopeds will also constitute a separate category called AM.
The EU has also harmonised the frequency of medical checks for lorry and bus drivers, which need to be carried out every time their driving licence is renewed.
European legislation on driving licences
Driving licences in the EU – replacing, renewing, FAQs
- National driving licences – equivalences (Commission decision)
- Driving licences with microchip – technical requirements (Commission regulation)
- Directive on driving licences – 2006/126/EC
- Proposal for a Revision of the Directive on Driving Licences (+Annex) [COM(2023) 127]
- Proposal for a Directive on the Union-wide effect of certain driving disqualifications [COM(2023) 128]
- Impact Assessment Report Accompanying the documents Proposal for a Directive on driving licences and Proposal for a Directive on the Union-wide effect of certain driving disqualifications [SWD(2023) 128]
- Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment Report Accompanying the documents Proposal for a Directive on driving licences and Proposal for a Directive on the Union-wide effect of certain driving disqualifications [SWD(2023) 129]
Open Public Consultation on Revision of Driving License Directive
The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the revision of the Driving Licenses Directive. This consultation aims to gather experiences and opinions related to driving licences from professional and non-professional drivers of any kind of vehicles, other road users, industry, operators, associations and unions of the road sector, NGOs active in road safety, competent Member States’ authorities and any other interested stakeholders.
The objective of this public consultation questionnaire is to gather views from different stakeholders and citizens on the revision of the EU rules on driving licences.
Improving road safety and having a positive impact on the free movement of people and of goods are the two general objectives considered for the potential revision of the Directive on driving licences. The initiative will also consider how the rules can better contribute to the green and digital transformation in the European Union.
You are invited to fill in the online public questionnaire available at https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12978-Revision-of-the-Directive-on-Driving-Licences_en in all EU official languages.