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Which countries can I apply for a driving licence, without releasing mine?

SmartestSmarty

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Nov 30, 2022
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Hello all,

Generally I have found that when you apply for a driving licence in another country it is exchanged for your current one.

Why have I heard that some people have multiple driving licences then?

I am wondering, is it possible to simply apply for a licence based off my current one (in some countries), and receive the new licence without having to give them my current licence?

If so, in which countries?
 
Depends on the country, many countries will not accept your home drivers license, you'll have to get a new one from that country. Others will allow you to keep your home drivers license, and the ones that will take your home drivers license away whenever they give you their license is not a big deal, go back home you tell them you lost your license and they'll issue a new one.
 
UAE and Malaysia, both you can apply to convert your current license (depending on the country of origin of the license), and you will get a new license from the country, without having to give away your current license. So you will end up with 2 driving licenses.
 
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Depends on the country, many countries will not accept your home drivers license, you'll have to get a new one from that country. Others will allow you to keep your home drivers license, and the ones that will take your home drivers license away whenever they give you their license is not a big deal, go back home you tell them you lost your license and they'll issue a new one.
That should actually work, but if you gave up your residency in your home country that won't be possible or ?
 
Most countries won't take your old one. The exception are European countries where there is a general exchange treaty. This goes as far East as Armenia with all between.

For the rest, you need to check the treaty and the local rules. It is not very straight forward and often needs a phone call. Texas will take your licence while Louisiana does not.

The bigger question would be where you do not need to be resident. I think New Zealand, Egypt, Hong Kong and Australia would come to mind. Philippines is possible too but requires some trial or a visa excursion.
 
In Uruguay you can get a new driver's license with 10 years validity without surrendering your current one (except if it is a driver's license from Spain, because of some treaty they have with Spain). You need to have an Uruguayan identity document, which you obtain together with your residency permit. You need to show them your current driver's license as well as an apostilled confirmation from the issuing country that the driver's license is legitimate. You pay more or less 100 USD in fees, they have a medic examine your eyes, and if all is well they issue the driver's license on the spot. You have to book an appointment in advance.
 
What is the benefit of doing this? If a cop takes your driver's license, it doesn't matter whether you have it or not, you are not allowed to drive in that country.
There are many reasons to get another one, among others
  • you may want to get a New Zealand one as it is in English and maybe more widely accepted than let's say a Finnish one in Finnish
  • you may want to get a Philippine one as it is a Vienna Convention style one (A, B, C, D, E with B being the car) which you could exchange in many other countries for a local one
  • you may want to get a local one in many countries as it facilitates transactions with the administration or in daily life
  • you may want to get one of a very poor country as it makes you less vulnerable to police problems if you are abroad
Of course, if you are in a country where you have a licence, you can only use the local one. But there are enough situations where you have a choice of different ones and you may want to show one which causes less troubles.
 
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There are many reasons to get another one, among others
  • you may want to get a New Zealand one as it is in English and maybe more widely accepted than let's say a Finnish one in Finnish
  • you may want to get a Philippine one as it is a Vienna Convention style one (A, B, C, D, E with B being the car) which you could exchange in many other countries for a local one
  • you may want to get a local one in many countries as it facilitates transactions with the administration or in daily life
  • you may want to get one of a very poor country as it makes you less vulnerable to police problems if you are abroad
Of course, if you are in a country where you have a licence, you can only use the local one. But there are enough situations where you have a choice of different ones and you may want to show one which causes less troubles.
My driver license is not from an English speaking country, and I have been in quite a lot of places. No one has rejected it because of the language. It's from an EU country though.
No idea about the second point.
The third one could be a good idea. If I lose mine, I assume I have to go back to my home country, but I'll have to replace it. But I still don't see much of a reason, especially in case the police will take it, I still can't drive on the roads of that country.
The last point seems dubious to me. In my experience with getting tickets abroad, the police doesn't give a s**t whether you're a foreigner or not, so why would that matter?
 
My driver license is not from an English speaking country, and I have been in quite a lot of places. No one has rejected it because of the language. It's from an EU country though.
You probably never hired in New Zealand.

The third one could be a good idea. If I lose mine, I assume I have to go back to my home country, but I'll have to replace it. But I still don't see much of a reason, especially in case the police will take it, I still can't drive on the roads of that country.
Then, you do not travel enough. Many people here are only in one country for one week. Hence, it does make sense to have a couple (and also not to drive like an idiot).

The last point seems dubious to me. In my experience with getting tickets abroad, the police doesn't give a s**t whether you're a foreigner or not, so why would that matter?
You may get better treatment if you show one from a friendly nation than one from an unfriendly nation.
 
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Hello all,

Generally I have found that when you apply for a driving licence in another country it is exchanged for your current one.

Why have I heard that some people have multiple driving licences then?

I am wondering, is it possible to simply apply for a licence based off my current one (in some countries), and receive the new licence without having to give them my current licence?

If so, in which countries?
I think that pretty much everywhere in the world you can let them make a local driving license based on your foreign license.
Of course, most places have 'white-lists' for that, I can't imagine developed countries letting you convert a license from Haiti without any additional driving test,
while a license from a first world country would be converted without any test.

I have 4 driving licenses right now, and one international (only valid together with one of those licenses) right now.
One of them is from a western country, the other 3 and the international one are from well known countries in East Asia and South East Asia.
I haven't made them on purpose, it just happened that I lived there for a while and it was time to convert to the local license.

Just keep in mind that some driving licenses expire faster than the others, some are only valid for 1 year, until you live there long enough to get a 10 year one.
It really depends, but you can find detailed information just googling (use Genspark) how to convert foreign driving license in ..., and the country you wish for.
 
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That should actually work, but if you gave up your residency in your home country that won't be possible or ?

It will depend on the country where you used to have residency, some will have no problem issuing a new license, others won't.
I've done it a few times and never had a problem, nobody asked me if I was still residing in the country, they just issued a new one.
At the end of the day, how many driver's licenses do you need....
These days you can get an international license and that will work in most countries for at least a year.
 
What is the benefit of doing this? If a cop takes your driver's license, it doesn't matter whether you have it or not, you are not allowed to drive in that country.
An international license is valid just for a year, after that you NEED a local license (or pay bribes when stopped, what comes cheaper in some places than getting a license).
Some countries don't accept international licenses at all, so that you actually need a local one to be driving legally.

In less developed countries, you may have more corruption at a lower level. Having a license you don't care about losing is a big plus.

You might encounter a cop that takes your license to verify your info (I had one police guy at a road checkpoint in Sayabully province in Laos about 20 years ago taking my passport and 'reading it' upside down (I bet it was his first encounter with the alphabet), following up by asking for a bribe (I wasn't even on my own vehicle, but just on a local bus) just to let me continue.
(I gave him the equivalent of 5 cents, just to continue - because the locals on the bus were waiting to go on), today's bribes are much higher.

In Cambodia one used to have to pull the keys from the bike and put it in your pocket when getting stopped by police, as they would take the keys and ask you for money to get them returned if you werent pulling them first, even without any traffic violations.

One can use driving licenses for ID reasons or as a security deposit at some places (some take it as a security deposit for a rental bike if you don't want to leave your passport with them - as inane as it sounds - as the shop will keep your license while you are driving, and you'll have nothing to show to the cops when getting stopped.

Even following all laws, some "licensed government thugs" might still ask you for bribes and take your license to the police station, if you don't pay them. Have fun financing the karaoke party for the cops, having more licenses gives you peace of mind and more options.
 
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