European driving licence

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European driving licence
Date first issued 29 July 1991
Issued by European Union 28 EU member states and 3 EFTA member states
Valid in European Union 28 EU member states and 3 EFTA member states
Purpose Access to unified driving licence in any of the 31 EEA member states
Eligibility requirements EEA residency
Cost Free
German version of an EU driving licence card with the EU flag on it (2013, specimen)
Driving licences within the European Union are subdivided into different categories (Note: Above graphic may be outdated since 19 January 2013)

The European driving licence is a driving licence replacing the many driving licence styles already in use in the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) (all 28 EU member states as well as 3 EFTA member states; Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). It has the credit card-style with a photograph and possibly a microchip. They were introduced to replace the 110 different plastic and paper driving licences of the 300 million drivers in the EEA. The main objective of the licence is to decrease the risk of fraud.

A driving licence issued by a member state of the EEA, is recognised throughout the EEA and can be used as long as it is valid, the driver is old enough to drive a vehicle of the equivalent category and the licence is not suspended or restricted and has not been revoked in the issuing country. If the holder of an EEA driving licence moves to another EEA country, the licence can be exchanged for a driving licence from the new EEA country. However as all EEA driving licences are recognised throughout the EEA, it is not necessary to exchange it.

The exception is for those holding EEA driving licences issued in exchange for a non‑EEA licence. When holding a converted licence, one should not assume the licence can be exchanged when moving to another EEA country. This only applies when permanently relocating to a different EEA country, as a tourist, an EEA-licence issued in exchange of a non-EEA licence is recognised throughout the EEA.[1]

History

Pre-1996 European driving licence

The first step to a European driving licence was taken on 4 December 1980, when the Council of Ministers adopted Council Directive 80/1263/EEC on the introduction of a Community driving licence, which established a Community model national licence that guaranteed the mutual recognition by the Member States of national licences. It also established the practice of exchange of licences by holders moving from one Member State to another.

European driving licence as from 1996

Directive 91/439/EEC
European Union directive
Title Council Directive on driving licences
Made by Council of the European Union
Made under Art. 75 TEC
Journal reference L237, pp 1-24
History
Date made 1991-07-29
Came into force 1991-08-24
Implementation date 1996-07-01
Other legislation
Replaces Directive 80/1263/EEC
Replaced by Directive 2006/126/EC
Repealed

On 29 July 1991, the Council of Ministers adopted the Council of the European Union Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences. The directive required EU Member States to adopt laws implementing the directive before 1 July 1994, which laws would take effect on 1 July 1996. Directive 80/1263/EEC would be repealed on the same date. Directive 91/439/EEC specified the European Union driving licence until its repeal 19 January 2013.

Provisions

The Council of the European Union Directive 91/439/EEC harmonises the categories of driving licences among the Member States and establishes two Community driving licence models, one paper version and one plastic card version. It furthermore establishes an obligatory test of knowledge (theory) and a test of skills and behaviour (practical) which has to be successfully passed before an individual is offered a driving licence. It also requires an applicant to meet the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness to drive. The directive specifies the minimum ages for driving different types of vehicles, and establishes progressive access in categories A, C, and D, from light vehicles to larger or more powerful vehicles. The directive stipulates that it is mandatory to have the normal residence in the Member State issuing the licence.[2]

Amendments

The Directive has been substantially amended by nine directives and two acts of accession. The plastic card version of the Community licence model, for example, was added to the Directive by Council Directive 96/47/EC of 23 July 1996.[3]

European driving licence as from 2013

Directive 2006/126/EC
European Union directive
Title Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on driving licences (Recast)
Made by European Parliament & Council
Made under Art. 71 TEC
Journal reference L403, pp. 18-60
History
Date made 2006-12-30
Came into force 2007-01-19
Implementation date 2013-01-19
Other legislation
Replaces Directive 91/439/EEC
Current legislation

In March 2006, the Council of Ministers adopted a Directive proposed by the European Commission to create a single European driving licence to replace the 110 different models currently in existence throughout the EU/EEA.[4][5] The European Parliament adopted the Directive in December 2006.[6] Directive 2006/126/EEC was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 30 December 2006.[7] Its provisions took effect on 19 January 2013; Directive 91/439/EEC was then concurrently repealed.

Provisions

The licence is a credit-card-style, single plastic-coated document, very difficult to falsify. The document will be renewable every 10 or 15 years depending on the member state. Several member states will have the option to include a microchip containing information about the card holder on the card.

Some categories like C and D will be issued for five years only. After expiration, a medical check-up is necessary in order to renew the licence for another five years.

EEA relevance

The provisions of Directive 2006/126/EC mentions that it has European Economic Area (EEA) relevance, meaning that its provisions apply to all 28 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, through incorporation into the agreement on the EEA.[8]

Implementation

The directive stipulates that all 31 EEA members states should adopt laws implementing the directive no later than 19 January 2011. Those laws should take effect in all EEA members states on 19 January 2013. All licences issued before that date will become invalid by 2033.

Participating member states

31 participating member states, 28 EU (blue) and 3 EFTA (green).

As of 2013, the 32 countries participate, including the 31 member states of the EEA. This coincides with the 28 EU members plus 3 of the 4 member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The fourth member state of EFTA, Switzerland, is not party to the EEA agreement, and is instead linked to the EU by a series of bilateral agreements.

EEA
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
EFTA
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
Other bilateral agreements
  • Switzerland

Standard data field labelling

To help users of different languages to understand what each of the data fields on the licence contains, they are labelled with a number. A legend is usually supplied on the reverse of the card in the issuing authority's language.

  1. surname
  2. given name[a]
  3. date of birth, place of birth[d]
  4. a) date of issue, b) date of expiry, c) issuing authority, d) personal number[b]
  5. licence number
  6. photograph of holder
  7. signature of holder
  8. Address[c]
  9. licence categories
  10. first issuing date of the category
  11. expiry date of the category
  12. restrictions (number coded)
  13. space reserved for the possible entry by the host Member State of information essential for administering the license[9] (barcode (personal number))[clarification needed]
  14. space reserved for the possible entry by the Member State which issues the license of information essential for administering the licence or related to road safety (optional).

Notes

aThough the EU directive states, this to be other names,[clarification needed] local variations may occur
bThe addition of the personal number is a local variation. 4(d) is optional and should be a number other than the one listed under number 5
cThe address is optional and not implemented by all countries
dSwitzerland: place of origin instead of place of birth.[10] Sweden:[11] a hyphen (-) is shown in lieu of place of birth.

Categories valid in all EEA member states

[12][13][14]

Class Description Age of acquisition Requires Includes Remarks
Mopeds
AM Two-wheel vehicles or three-wheel vehicles with a maximum design speed of not more than 45 km/h and with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimetres. 16 years (15 years in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, 14 years in Estonia, Latvia, France, Italy, Poland and Hungary). Until 19 January 2013 this class was called "M" in Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Ireland and Norway.
Motorcycles
A1 Motorcycles with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 125 cubic centimetres and a power not exceeding 11 kW; and motor tricycles with a power not exceeding 15 kW. 16 years. (17 years in the UK, 18 years in Denmark, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands). AM, (also T in Finland) B licence holders in Czech Republic (only motorcycles with automatic transmission), Italy, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia (after two years and only motorcycles with automatic transmission), Spain (after three years), Poland (after three years), Portugal (at least 25 years old or additional licence for mopeds) and Belgium (only with a Belgian Driving Licence, after two years) are allowed to drive motorcycles not exceeding 125cc within the respective countries. In Austria (after five years, training of 6 hours), France (after two years, a training of 7 hours), Luxembourg (after two years, training of 7 hours) and the United Kingdom (Compulsory Basic Training), a practical training without exam is needed for B licence holders.
A2 Motorcycles of a power not exceeding 35 kW and with a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0,2 kW/kg (Switzerland: 0,16 kW/kg) and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power. 18 years. (19 years in the UK, 20 years in Denmark, Greece and the Netherlands). A1, AM, (also T in Finland) Replaced class "A" on 19 January 2013 in Malta.[15]
A Any motorcycle or motor tricycle not in category A1/A2 20 years. (21 years in the UK, 22 years in Denmark and the Netherlands). However, access to the driving of motorcycles of this category shall be subject to a minimum of two years' experience on motorcycles under an A2 licence. This requirement as to previous experience may be waived if the candidate is at least 24 years old (Switzerland: 25 years). A2, A1, AM, (also T in Finland) B licence holders who are at least 21 years of age are allowed to drive motor tricycles (including three-wheeled motorcycles with a power exceeding 15 kW) in the following countries: Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Spain and the United Kingdom. In France, a practical training (at least 7 hours) without an exam is needed for B licence holders who want to drive motor tricycles only. In France, this option is available only after at least two years of B licence. In the Netherlands it's allowed to drive from the age of at least 18, and if you had your driving licence B before 19 January 2013.[citation needed] Replaced class "A+" on 19 January 2013 in Malta.[16]
Motor vehicles
B Motor vehicles with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) not exceeding 3500 kg and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver; motor vehicles in this category may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass which does not exceed 750 kg. You can also tow heavier trailers if the total MAM of the vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500 kg.

The limit in the first condition is: 3500 kg + 750 kg.

The limit for in the second condition is: 2500 kg + 1000 kg.

18 years (17 years in Denmark (under supervision, from age of 18 without supervision),[17] the UK, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Hungary and Netherlands(under supervision, from age of 18 without supervision)). AM, S, (also F and G in Croatia), In Poland and Spain, drivers with 3 years B driver licence are also entitled to ride motorcycles <= 125cm and power <= 11 kW and ratio power/weight <= 0,1 kW/kg Does not include S in Norway.
BE Without prejudice to the provisions of type-approval rules for the vehicles concerned, a combination of vehicles consisting of a tractor vehicle in category B and a trailer or semi-trailer where the maximum authorised mass of the trailer or semi-trailer does not exceed 3500 kg. 18 years (17 years in the UK and Ireland). B Includes T in Norway and Poland.
B1 Heavy quadricycles 16 years (Switzerland: 18 years) AM This class is optional, i.e. it is not implemented by all countries.
Large goods vehicle
C1 Large goods vehicle with a maximum authorised mass of not more than 7.5 t; with or without a trailer with a maximum mass of less than 750 kg. 18 years B
C1E Combinations of vehicles where the tractor vehicle is in category C and its trailer or semi-trailer has a maximum authorised mass of over 750 kg. 18 years C or C1 T see C.
C Large goods vehicle with a maximum authorised mass of more than 3.5 t mass and not more than 8 + 1 seats (lorry); with a trailer with a maximum mass of 750 kg. 21 years[citation needed] (18 years in Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland and Ireland; 18 years in Germany for non-commercial use only except for apprenticeship as professional driver) B for 1 year, not including restricted licence C1
CE Other combinations of vehicles and trailers which with combined maximum authorised mass of more than 750 kg. 21 years C C1E
Buses
D1 Light buses with a maximum of 16 + 1 seats, maximum length of 8 metres. 21 years[citation needed] B for 1 year, not including restricted licence Motor vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than 16 passengers in addition to the driver.; motor vehicles in this category may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 750 kg.
D1E Combinations of vehicles where the tractor vehicle is in category D1 and its trailer has a maximum authorised mass of over 750 kg. 21 years D or D1
D Vehicles with more than 8 + 1 seats (buses). 24 years B for 2 years, not including restricted licence D1 Motor vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver; motor vehicles which may be driven with a category D licence may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass which does not exceed 750 kg. Includes articulated buses (at least in the UK and in Germany).[18]
DE Combinations of vehicles where the tractor vehicle is in category D and its trailer has a maximum authorised mass of over 750 kg. 24 years D D1E

National categories in EEA member states

There are other national categories for tractors, large motorcycles, motorised wheel boats, motor tricycles (modern voiturettes, Category B1 or S) and military categories such as for driving tanks. National categories mean they are not harmonised and only valid within the issuing country. The tables below are general descriptions that do not include full details of regulations.

Austria

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
F Tractor 16 Austria

Bulgaria

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
Tкт Tractor 16 Bulgaria
Tтб Trolleybus
Tтм Tram

Croatia

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
F Tractor – with or without a trailer 16 Croatia
G Heavy equipment 16
H Tram 21

Germany

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
BF17 Begleitetes Fahren (accompanied driving) — BF17 licensed driver must be accompanied by B-licence holder age 30+ 17 Germany, Austria[19]

Hungary

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
M Moped 14 Hungary
K Two-wheel tractor 16
T Tractor – with maximum 2 trailer 16
TR Trolleybus 20
V Tram 20

Ireland

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
W Work Vehicle – includes land tractors with or without a trailer 16 Ireland

Latvia

Class Description Valid in
TRAM Tram Latvia
TROL Trolleybus

Norway

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
S Snowmobile 16 Norway
T Tractor 16
B 96 Towing a trailer, maximum authorised mass 4,250 kg (9,370 lb) 18

Poland

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
T Tractor 16 Poland

Slovenia

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
F Tractor 16 Slovenia

Switzerland

Even though Switzerland is a EFTA member state, it is not a member of the European Economic Area. Switzerland has, however, generally adopted much of the harmonised EU legislation with regard to driving licences. Swiss licences can be exchanged in most EEA countries. Switzerland has, since the 2000s, used the EU system of vehicle categories and issued EEA-style credit-card licences.

To apply for a car driving licence (category B), the applicant must be 18 old. They must first attend first aid courses and pass an eyesight test. Passing a theory exam is required to receive a learner's permit/licence valid for two. This allows holders to drive a car only if accompanied by an aged 23 or more who has had a full driving licence for a minimum of three. Before passing the practical exam, the candidate must attend 10 hours of theory lessons on "familiarisation to road traffic". Practical driving lessons are not legally required but are considered a de facto prerequisite for passing the practical exam [taken] with a government official [Driving Test Examiner]. Upon succeeding the practical exam, a probationary driving licence is issued for three. To obtain the full, unlimited, driving licence after these three, the candidate must not commit a serious traffic offence and attend two days of further driving training.

For motorcycles and heavier vehicles, the regulations are different, and some agrarian vehicles can be driven without a licence. As of 2011, a 45-minute driving lesson costs around 90 CHF, while the various fees and theoretical instruction costs associated with getting a car driving licence can amount to up to CHF 600, without counting the costs for the two days of further training.

The theoretical exam must be taken in either German, French or Italian. In some cantons, it is possible to take it in English.

Class Description Age minimum Valid in
F Tractor <= 45 km/h 16 Switzerland
G Tractor <= 30 km/h 14
M Moped <= 30 km/h 14

Gallery

Country Code Before 19 January 2013 (in Croatia before 1 July 2013) Since 19 January 2013 (in Croatia since 1 July 2013)
Austria A ATdrivinglicencefront.png A Licence 2013 Front.jpg
Belgium B Belgisch rijbewijs.JPG BE driving license.jpg
Bulgaria BG
Croatia HR Croatian driving licence.jpg
Croatian driving licence back.jpg
Cyprus CY
Czech Republic CZ
Denmark DK DK Licens j12a.jpg
Estonia EST
Finland FIN Finnish driver's licence, front.jpg
Finnish driver's licence, back.jpg
France F PC-Europ01-275x379.jpg French driving license 2013.png
Germany D DE Licence Desiré Jeanette Mustermann Front.jpg
DE Licence Desiré Jeanette Mustermann Back.jpg
DE Licence 2013 Front.jpg


DE Licence 2013 Back.jpg

Greece GR
Hungary H
Iceland IS
Ireland IRL Irish Drivers Licence.jpg
Italy I IT licence (front).jpg
Latvia LV
Liechtenstein FL
Lithuania LT
Luxembourg L
Malta M
Netherlands NL
Norway N Førerkort fremside.jpg
Førerkort bakside.jpg

Poland PL PL driving license front.JPG Projekt nowego prawa jazdy.png
Portugal P
Romania RO RO licence front.jpg
Slovakia SK
Slovenia SLO
Spain E Permiso de conducir plastificado.jpg
Sweden S
United Kingdom UK

See also

References

  1. ^ "Driving licence recognition and validity". 
  2. ^ European Commission website - Transport: driving licence Archived 7 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Consolidated version of Directive 91/439/EEC as of 18 July 2008
  4. ^ "Klartecken för EU-körkort". Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 2006-03-27. 
  5. ^ "EU backs European driving licence". BBC News. 27 March 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "EU announces plans for European driving license". 18 December 2006. 
  7. ^ "DIRECTIVE 2006/126/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL". Official Journal of the European Union. 
  8. ^ "32016L1106 - European Free Trade Association - European Free Trade Association". 
  9. ^ Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on driving licences
  10. ^ http://www.vegvesen.no/_attachment/493459/binary/801365?fast_title=Nytt+førerkort+brosjyre+-+norsk_21062013.pdf
  11. ^ https://www.transportstyrelsen.se/TSFS/TSFS%202016_4.pdf
  12. ^ "Driving licence recognition and validity". 
  13. ^ "DIRECTIVE 2006/126/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL" (PDF). Official Journal of the European Union. 
  14. ^ "Alle Ausweiskategorien (Switzerland)". [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Press Release: Changes to the Minimum Ages and Test Requirements to obtain a Driving Licence". Transport Malta. 
  16. ^ "Press Release: Changes to the Minimum Ages and Test Requirements to obtain a Driving Licence". Transport Malta. 
  17. ^ "Kørekort til 17-årige (Ledsagerordningen) - SIKKERTRAFIK.DK". 
  18. ^ "INF30 - Requirements for towing trailers in Great Britain - GOV.UK" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Ist Begleitetes Fahren mit 17 im Ausland erlaubt?". 

External links

  • http://www.workpermit.com/news/2006_12_18/eu/european_driving_license.htm
  • http://www.euractiv.com/en/transport/single-europe-wide-driving-licence-2013/article-160496
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6180617.stm
  • http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/WhatCanYouDriveAndYourObligations/DG_4022547
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