My Bolivian partner currently lives in Czechia through a work Visa and they have a Czechia-issued, European driving license.

Now they are thinking of moving to France and they are studying to take the French driving test, as they think that when their Czech work visa is no longer valid, their driving permit will be suspended as well.

I was curious about this so I tried to find a source. I browsed through Act No. 326/1999 Coll., on the Residence of Aliens in the Territory of the Czech Republic as well as a few other sites, but I haven't been able to find anything related to this topic.

My partner says that they when they signed the conditions for their driving license, this was one of the clauses

Does a non-EU national with a Czech work visa lose their Czechia-issued, European driving license rights when they lose their work visa due to moving to another country?

  • Just to be clear: This is a license they obtained through a test in the Czech Republic? Or by exchanging a non-EU license? Is the period of validity stated on the card ten years? Is there any restrictions on the license itself (codes under the table on the back)? – Relaxed May 26 '20 at 19:12
  • My partner says there are no codes in the back of the card. – edoreld May 27 '20 at 18:33
  • What about the other questions? – Relaxed May 28 '20 at 12:40
  • They obtained the license by a test in the Czech Republic. I am not sure about period of validity. – edoreld May 31 '20 at 15:12

I see no reason it should be suspended. You should in fact be able to exchange it for a French license, for free.

The clause she signed is probably slightly different: In the EU, you are not allowed to pass the test outside of your country of residence. In particular, you are not supposed to go shop for an “easy“ state to pass the test or circumvent a suspended license in your state of residence. She was probably reminded of that.

  • I am not sure about the details in the French interpretation of the regulations, but at least in Germany, there are also requirements regarding the duration of residence abroad. To get a driver's licence from another EU state approved in Germany, you must have been resident at least 6 months in the issuing country. If the French have the sam e requirements, it might be a problem if OP's partner has been living less than 6 months in the Czech Republic. – jarnbjo May 27 '20 at 10:32
  • @jarnbjo There is a requirement like that but only for driving licenses obtained outside of the EU/EEA. In fact, in France and I suspect in most member states, for a license from another EU/EEA country, you don't even need to submit any evidence that you were a legal resident in the country that issued the license. So it's not a problem in this case. – Relaxed May 27 '20 at 11:02
  • I know Germany is facing a lot of Führerscheintourismus and is consequently more fastidious about that but their requirements have always seemed legally questionable to me. The directive has no concept of a driving license getting “approved” by a member state. The whole point is to avoid the bureaucratic hurdles created by regular recognition regimes and to ensure that EU licenses are valid throughout the EU, period. Case in point: the license can be exchanged but it is not mandatory. It's the issuing member state that's supposed to enforce all the requirements. – Relaxed May 27 '20 at 11:09
  • Interestingly, the relevant federal ministry seems to be aware of the issue and quite honestly admits to being somewhat powerless but at the same time trying to push the enveloppe compared to what a straightforward interpretation of the directive would imply: “Die zuständigen Behörden arbeiten – unter kontinuierlicher Berücksichtigung auch der aktuellen Rechtsprechung des Europäischen Gerichtshofes – engagiert an Lösungen zur effektiven Bekämpfung des Missbrauchs von Führerscheinregelungen. Die weitere Entwicklung ist abzuwarten.” – Relaxed May 27 '20 at 11:11
  • In practice, any requirements they might impose, legally or illegally, would mainly come up if you commit a driving offense, are involved in an accident (and having been driving without a proper license would obviously make everything that much worse) or you have to renew the license at the end of its validity period. Until then, you have a valid license which you can show to the police, use to rent a car, etc. – Relaxed May 27 '20 at 16:07

The answer to your question will change depending on how you respond to @Relaxed's comment above.

  • If the license was obtained by passing the Czech license test, then no need to exchange (based on the links below)

  • If the license was obtained by exchanging a Bolivian license for a Czech license, then there might be a need to pass the test in France. This is because of two reasons:

    1. Check out the "sample story" on this page. The new EU country has to recognize the original Bolivian license in order to continue driving in France.

    2. This list from the French government shows the countries with which France has reciprocity agreements. Unfortunately, Bolivia is not in it.

    Thus based on 1) and 2) above, and the procedures spelled out on this page (in French), you would need to pass the test again in France.

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