Ukrainians can keep their driving licences in the EU, say MEPs

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

MEPs backed on Thursday a proposal to allow Ukrainian refugees to keep their national driving licences, exempting them from the obligation to exchange them for EU ones.

Only two weeks after the European Commission presented its proposal, MEPs agreed to simplify the procedure for Ukrainian refugees to keep their driving licences in the EU, with 561 votes to six and five abstentions.

Ukrainians who fled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and got temporary protection status will be able to continue using their Ukrainian driving licence, without needing to exchange it for an EU driving licence or to sit a new driving test, as long as they enjoy the temporary protection status. If their driving licence is lost or stolen, EU countries will be able to issue new EU driving licences, provided they verify with Ukrainian authorities that the person held a valid driver licence in the country and the person in question presents a certificate that they are physically and mentally fit to drive.

Under certain conditions, Ukrainian refugees who worked as lorry and bus drivers will be able to get their Ukrainian-issued certificates of professional competence recognised in the EU, following a short training course and a test. This will enable them to work in the EU during the period of temporary protection and to help export Ukrainian goods.

Next steps

The draft rules will now have to be formally adopted by the EU Council. The regulation will enter into force five days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

Background information

There is currently no harmonised EU framework for the exchange of driving licences or certificates of professional competence issued by third countries such as Ukraine. The possibility to exchange driving licences can be laid down either in national legislation or under existing bilateral agreements between EU member states and Ukraine. Some countries require drivers to carry an official translation of their Ukrainian driving licence, accompanied by an international driving licence, and to exchange them for an EU country’s driving licence after six months of residence.

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