PROCEDURE FOR REPLACING A DRIVING LICENCE IN ESTONIA
One of the issues you will encounter upon moving to Estonia is that of having to replace your driving licence. In short: if your driving licence was issued in a non-EU country, then yes – you will need to replace it.
Of course, Estonia recognises driving licences issued in these countries. That list includes Russia, Ukraine and Belarus as they are parties to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 1968. However, the driving licences issued in those countries are valid here only for 12 months from the moment the holder becomes a permanent resident of Estonia.
So if you want to settle in this country for more than a year and drive a car here, you should consider replacing your driving licence. There is no need for concern: if you have a valid driving licence or it expired less than five years ago, the procedure will not be complicated.
You will only have to re-take the driving theory and practice test if your driving licence expired over five years ago, otherwise all you need is to gather the necessary documents and submit them to any service bureau of the Transport Administration.
These documents are:
- Proof of identity.
- Valid medical certificate. This is issued by your family physician, an occupational health and safety doctor or the road transport medical commission.
- Your photo and signature. Estonian driving licences use photos and signature samples from the database of identity documents or the road traffic register. Your photo must have been taken no more than five years ago.
- The driving licence issued in a foreign country that you wish to replace.
- You will be charged a state fee for the Estonian driving licence.
The procedure is described in detail on the website of the Transport Administration. It usually takes no more than 2 or 3 days. On the first day you will have to pass the medical checkup performed by the family physician’s nurse (be sure to schedule an appointment in advance). On the next day you can phone the Transport Administration to verify that they can view your medical certificate, but you can also do this on the website. Book your visit to the service bureau online to submit the documents and you should then receive the new driving licence within two weeks. Again, that usually takes only 2–3 days. You will be sent an e-mail notification when your new driving licence is ready for collection.
By the way, in the future, the whole process will be available online and you will be getting the driving licence in the post, which is very convenient indeed. Welcome to e-Estonia!
More information, including what you can do with your initial driving licence, is available in the (Russian-language) Facebook group Понаехали в Эстонию. Use suitable keywords to find what you need quickly when searching through the group posts.
NB! You can also read a useful article about registering a foreign car in Estonia on our blog.