Jul 26, 2023 Finland Relocation Services

Foreign driver’s license in Finland -  Exchange Requirements

Many foreign employees moving to Finland have a driver’s license in their home country and driving may have been a significant factor of their life there. It is essential to understand the country's regulations on license validity and exchange requirements.

Here's a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process of exchanging your foreign license for a Finnish one. 

There are several limitations to using a foreign driver’s license in Finland, and exchanging a foreign license for a Finnish one is recommended, maybe even necessary. After all, a Finnish driver’s license is usually a valid ID, unlike, for example, a residence permit.

Whether you may drive with your foreign driving license in Finland or not depends on the issuing country and where the license holder was officially residing at the time of issuance. In some cases, the foreign license must be accompanied by an international driving license or an official translation of the license.

EU/EEA Licenses:
Licenses from EU/EEA countries are valid for all categories indicated on your license as long as it remains valid. Permanent residents or those who have studied in Finland for at least six months can exchange their license for a Finnish one. If your EU/EEA license has expired, you will need a medical certificate to complete the exchange.

Contracting States (Geneva/Vienna Conventions):
Licenses issued in contracting states like Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan or countries under the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention are also valid. However, they must be exchanged within two years of establishing permanent residency in Finland. Ensure your license is translated if it's not in Latin script​.

Driving licenses issued by EU/EEA countries and those issued by contracting states may be changed to a Finnish driving license even if the foreign license would be valid in Finland as such.

Other Foreign Licenses:
Licenses from other recognized countries are valid for one year from the time of your permanent registration in Finland. However, you may need to pass a driver's examination (theory and practical tests) before obtaining a Finnish license. Always carry a medical certificate and an official translation if required​.

For more thorough information, visit the Ajokortti-info website, which is hosted by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom

If the foreign license does not give the holder a legal right to drive in Finland, the holder must participate in a driver’s examination before a Finnish license may be issued. Sometimes, it is also necessary to participate in driving school before the examination. For example, a Mexican driving license is not valid in Finland.

Understanding the requirements for exchanging a foreign driver's license in Finland is crucial for maintaining your ability to drive legally. Ajovarma Oy handles all applications for the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom). 

Many aspects must be considered when defining the legal right to drive with foreign driving licenses in Finland. We at FRS are pleased to quote for our services, whether it is a consultation regarding license matters in general or assistance with the application process for obtaining a new driving license in Finland. Contact us!

Published by Finland Relocation Services July 26, 2023
Finland Relocation Services