Foreign driver’s licenses in Finland
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. There are several limitations to using a foreign driver’s license in Finland and exchanging a foreign license to a Finnish one is recommended, maybe even necessary. After all, a Finnish driver’s license is usually a valid ID, unlike for example the 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. Furthermore, in some cases the foreign license must be accompanied with an international driving license or an official translation of the license.
Driving licenses issued by EU/EEA countries, as well as those issued by certain contracting states, may be changed to a Finnish driving license even if the foreign license would be valid in Finland as such. The licenses issued by some countries are valid for two years from the date the license holder takes up permanent residence in Finland. To maintain the right to drive in Finland, it is necessary to exchange such license to a Finnish one prior to the expiry of two years’ time limit or the expiry date of the original license. In the cases that the foreign license does not give legal right to drive in Finland, the license holder must participate in driver’s examination before a Finnish license may be issued. Sometimes it is also necessary to participate in driving school before the examination. As an example, a Mexican driving license is not valid in Finland.
Many aspects must be taken into consideration when defining the legal right to drive in Finland with foreign driving licenses. We at FRS are pleased to quote for our services whether it is consultation regarding the license matters in general, or assistance with the application process for obtaining new driving license in Finland.
As of 1.1.2016 the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) is the responsible authority in matters concerning the transport sector. Trafi’s service provider Ajovarma Oy receives and handles all applications in relation to driving licenses from the beginning of this year.