I really thought that this was going to be a huge challenge but it was so easy. I have read that at IMT Lisbon you need to arrive an hour before opening and queue. I assumed Coimbra would be the same. We decided to exchange our licences as after a certain time length if your UK licence runs out you have to sit a driving test in Portugal. Now I am so bad at tests and my last driving test was nearly 30 years ago which I took 3 times so I am not putting myself through that torture and anxiety again. Our only mistake was heading to Coimbra IMT on 25th Feb Carnival day when it was closed. We searched the IMT before we left and it said times may differ but it never said it was going to be closed so warning – do your homework on bank holidays, festivals and closure days. We returned with our documents: 

  • 5 year temp residency cert
  • Doctors fit note declaring driving categories
  • Fiscal number doc
  • Document from DVLA
  • UK driving licence 
  • Fee of 30 euros 

Some IMT offices don’t ask for the DVLA doc but Coimbra does. You can download this doc from the DVLA website and it is valid for 21 days. We phoned up the DVLA and also got them to send us a doc confirming our categories and they were really friendly and it arrived within 5 days. We used this document instead of the print out from DVLA website as it had passed 21 days since we printed out the doc as we live quite remote and far from the library which has a printer. We had completed the IMT form 13 and took passports but these were not needed. When we arrived around 8.30am there was a queue of about 8 people in front. Doors opened at 9am and a member of staff was assisting at the ticket machine. As soon as we sat down we were called in. 

We both took a ticket and sat next to each other with different members of staff. I had a lovely lady named Helena who spoke a little English. She inputted information onto the computer, took photocopies of our temp residency cert, driving licence and fiscal number doc. You have your photograph and signature taken digitally and are given a temp piece of paper which you also sign which is valid for 2 months. Your new driving licence will arrive in the post to your home address. If it doesn’t arrive in 2 months you need to go back to IMT and have the slip extended. They take your UK licence. There is an app for IMT which lets you log in and take a ticket via your mobile phone but we tried this whilst in the queue as it doesn’t open until 9am in Coimbra. The app did not work for us and we physically got to the ticket machine before we could use the app. We looked at the Lisbon IMT office on the app and there was a 6 hour wait! Lisbon is open longer hours though to accommodate. We were all finished in 30 minutes. Make sure you have a motorbike category as well as a car if you passed motorbike test in the UK – check the engine size they have given you as a category.

12th May 2020 Update

Good news – hubby’s driving licence arrived today in the post but it does not include the motorbike category. He passed the bike test in UK so should have this category. Really pleased with the timeframe as only just over 2 months. I need to visit IMT as I received a letter in the post a couple of weeks ago and there is a discrepancy with my categories so they are putting my application on hold for 30 days. We were supposed to go back within 2 months so 6th May but this has been extended until 30th June due to Covid-19. I will make a journey there sometime in June to sort mine out.

25th June 2020 Update

Today my Portuguese driving licence arrived in the post – hooray! We visited IMT, Coimbra a couple of weeks back and I have detailed this more in our Day trip to Coimbra post. Long story short we arrived at IMT and I queued outside in a face mask for nearly 1 hr. When they opened they were only seeing people by appointment only and calling out names so you had to wait outside so it was pointless for me as I didn’t have an appointment, not from lack of trying. Anyway my fabulous ex husband Carlos managed to phone IMT and sort it for me and today my new Portuguese driving licence arrived in the post. I am so happy as although I could of kept my U.K driving licence that would of meant at some point in the near future I would of had to take a driving test here as it’s expiry date was looming. Now I would never ever pass a driving test here. It would be like Maureen from that Driving School TV programme. My driving licence took 15 weeks and 6 days to arrive. To be honest that’s not that long seeing as Covid-19 held up the process and the discrepancy with my categories put it on hold for 30 days. I’m not too happy with the photo on the licence but they took my photo in the IMT office and I wasn’t quite ready for it (ha ha). Anyway this was the last piece of paperwork/official stuff we needed to sort. I can now rest in peace, gosh that sounds like I am dead! I’m not, I’m still alive, kicking and living the dream!

1st October 2020 update

As of today you can exchange your driving licence online: