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Czech Driver’s License for Foreigners

Exchanging a driver's license for foreigners in the Czech Republic

Foreigners in the Czech Republic have two options to obtain a Czech driving license. The first is exchanging your driver’s license from your home country for a Czech one. The second is going through the full process of obtaining a license as a first-time driver through a driving school.

In this post, we’ll share how foreigners can get a Czech driving license, either through exchange or getting licensed otherwise. We’ll include information on Czech driving schools, license categories & type-approval rules, international driving licenses, and common problems that might arise.

Note: After Brexit, UK citizens are still able to exchange their driver's license, as it meets EU standards.

1 - How to exchange an EU driver's license for a Czech one

If you are a holder of an EU driver's license, you are still eligible to use it for driving in the Czech Republic or any other EU country. This fact makes it a bit difficult if you are willing to exchange your driving license to the Czech one though!

The reason is simple: the exchange of an EU driver's license to a Czech one is voluntary and not obligatory. If you hold a driving license which can be legally used for driving in Czechia, there is no need to exchange at all.

Yet, if you insist on exchanging your valid / expired EU driver's license, you will need to prove 6 months of Czech fiscal residency. This is a mandatory provision of the application. We’ll get more into fiscal residency below.

Remember: Any damaged, stolen, lost or expired driver’s license which was issued in an EU country CAN be exchanged for a Czech driver’s license on the condition of proving a 6-month stay in the Czech Republic (fiscal residency).

2 - How to exchange a non-EU driving license for a Czech one

If you have a non-EU driving license, you may or may not meet the European Economic Area (EEA) driving license standards. Some countries have agreements with the EU, while others do not.

If you have a driving license from a country which doesn't issue EU-standard driving licenses, you will have to pass driving school in the Czech Republic.
Should you have a driving license from a country which does issue an EU standard driving license, you are obliged to exchange it to the Czech one within 90 days of the start of your official stay in the Czech Republic.

What are EU driving license standards?

If your driver’s license is written in the Latin alphabet and the numbers (such as date of birth) are the same as in the Czech driver’s license, you can exchange your driver's license for a Czech one. This is without any obligation to pass a driver’s test again.

The exchange of your driver’s license (if up to EU standards) for a Czech driver’s license will be free of charge if you exchange it after 90 days of your legal stay. This is because when you have official Czech residency in the Czech Republic, it is mandatory to exchange the driver's license for a Czech one after 3 months of stay.

Note: Japan and South Korea have a bilateral agreement with the Czech Republic. As long as your driver's license is translated officially from Japanese or Korean to the Czech language, you can exchange it with no problems.

Countries that meet European driving license standards
  • Albania
  • Serbia
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • UK (After Brexit, UK citizens with Czech Official Residency are still able to exchange their driver's licence, as it meets EU standards!)
  • Brasil

Countries that do not meet European driving license standards
  • USA
  • India
  • UAE
  • Australia

Czech driving license categories and type-approval rules

The Czech driving license includes the same categories and provisions of type-approval rules as the European driving license.
A driving license issued by the Czech Republic is thus recognized throughout the European Economic Area (EEA). It can be used as long as it is valid, the driver is of age to drive the type of vehicle, and the license has not been suspended, restricted or revoked.
In the Czech Republic, the driver’s license types are as follows.

Class AM license (moped and smaller 2 or 3-wheeled vehicles)

  • The Class AM driver’s license certifies a driver to control mopeds and 2 or 3 wheel vehicles under certain provisions. The vehicle must have a maximum design speed of no more than 45 kmph (28 mph), and a cylinder capacity not over 50 cubic centimetres.

Class A, A1, and A1 license (motorcycles, three-wheeled vehicles)

  • Class A1: includes all AM license provisions and certifies the driver to control motorcycles not over 125 cubic centimetres. The motorcycle’s power also must not exceed 11 kilowatts (15 hp), while three-wheeled cycles must not exceed 15 kw (20 hp).
  • Class A2: includes all A1 and AM provisions, and certifies the driver to control motorcycles not exceeding 35 kw (47 hp). The vehicle must also have a power / weight ratio not over 0.2 kw per kilogram, nor be from a vehicle of more than double its power.
  • Class A: includes A1, A2, and AM provisions, and any motorcycle or tricycle not in Class A1 or A2.

Class B, BE, and B1 license (motor vehicles)

  • Class B: includes AM license provisions and motor vehicles not 3,500 kg (7,700 lb) maximum authorised mass (MAM). The motor vehicle must also carry no more than 8 passengers in addition to the driving, and is allowed to tow trailers under certain provisions.
  • Class BE: includes class B motor vehicles and any combination of vehicles for towing any number of trailers, or a semi-trailer that meets provisions.
  • Class B1: Heavy quads

Class C, C1, C1E, and CE license (large goods vehicles)

  • Class C1: requires a Class B license and certifies a driver for large goods vehicles not over 7.5 tonnes MAM. This is with or without a trailer, with a maximum mass of no more than 750 kg.
  • Class C1E: requires a Class C1 license, includes class BE provisions, and certifies a driver to combine vehicles with a tractor trailer from category C1. The trailers or semi-trailers must be no more than 750 kg, while the combined mass cannot exceed 12,000 kg (26,000 lb).
  • Class C: requires a Class B license for 1 year, includes C1 provisions, and authorises the driver to control large goods vehicles no more than 8 + 1 seats (lorry). The trailer also must be no more than 750 kg (1,650 lb).
  • Class CE: requires a class C license, includes BE and C1E provisions, and authorises other combinations of vehicles and trailers.

Type / Category D (buses)

  • Class D1: requires a Class B license, and authorises the driver to control light buses. Under this class, the bus must not exceed 16 + 1 seats, and must have a maximum length no longer than 8 metres (26 feet).
  • Class D1E: requires a Class D1 license, and authorises the driver to use a combination of D1 vehicles including its trailers and semi-trailers.
  • Class D: requires a Class B license, and authorises the driver to control vehicles with over 8 + 1 seats (buses).
  • Class DE: requires a Class D license, and authorises the driver to combine vehicles with a tractor vehicle of Category D under certain mass restrictions.

Common problems exchanging for a Czech driver’s license

Some of the most common problems foreigners face when attempting to exchange their driver’s license for a Czech one include:
  • Your foreign driving license doesn’t match EU standards - every number is connected to specific info about the driver (e.g: 1 is surname, 2 is first name)
  • You will not be able to prove 6-months stay in the Czech republic
  • You don’t speak Czech and didn’t bring a translator with you

If you need help arranging a Czech driver's license, feel free to contact us!

3 - How to get an international driver's license

If you have a driving license which can not be exchanged to a Czech one and you do not intend to take driving school, there is still one more chance to legally drive in the Czech Republic.
In this case, you can apply for an international driver's license from your home country. International driver's licenses have a validity of 1 year, and they cannot be exchanged for another country's license. However, it is enough for you to legally drive in any other country. After the expiration of your international driver's license, you can either get another international driving license from your home country, or pass driving school in the Czech Republic.

If you already have a Czech driving license and intend to drive in non-EU countries, you can obtain an international driving license from the Czech Authority.

4 - The alternative: driving school in the Czech Republic

Now, if you have a driving license that can not be exchanged in the Czech Republic and you also don't have an international driving license, the only way to legally drive is to pass driving school.

According to the current law, you should have 26 hours of driving experience with an accredited driving school instructor, plus a study of theoretical tests. You should also bring a general letter of health and eligibility for the driver from a GP to the school. Download the form of general health and eligibility for driving, and have your GP complete it.

Both of these services are provided by the driving school. The school will make an appointment for both the tests and the exam.

Don’t speak Czech? No problem!

If you don’t speak Czech, you can hire a translator for the tests. After you pass the tests, you will be able to continue onto the second part of the exam, which is the driving skills part. After successfully passing the driving skills aspect, you will get an application form with stamps from the school along with the examination results.
After successfully completing these steps, you can apply for a Czech driver’s license. The procedure of registration and producing your driving license takes approximately 20 days.

Foreigners must prove 6 months stay in the Czech Republic, and should therefore have a biometric card that’s older than 6 months. Most third-country nationals have residency permits for 2 years and renew them for the next 2 years each time.

If you have just collected your new biometric card and it is not older than 6 months, the only solution is getting a confirmation of your full legal stay history from the immigration office.

Confirmation of full legal stay in the Czech Republic for Third nationalities

You can download the confirmation form of full legal stay, and apply for it at any immigration office.
The service fee is 50 CZK which you must pay in stamps from the Post Office.
If you are visiting the MOI offices without an appointment, you should get the number / ticket “OTHERS”.

Fiscal Residency in the Czech Republic

Proving fiscal residency in the Czech Republic is mandatory for some specific acts, such as an application for your first driver’s license, or the Exchange of a foreign driver’s license.

The process of proving residency can be very challenging, as the person you present documents to can have their own rules and stipulations.
The most important condition to get a driver’s license exchanged is proof of a 6 months stay in the Czech Republic. Be advised, a temporary residency certificate is not proof of a 6-month stay; it’s only a supporting document!

Proof-of-stay in the Czech Republic can be a lease agreement, bank statement, or work contract for the past 6 months. If you are a Trade license holder, you can provide your income tax report from the previous year or health insurance payment statements for the last 6 months.

Summary of documents that can be used are the following:

  • Rental agreement
  • Work contract (if you have a work contract for an unlimited period, you will additionally present a confirmation from your employer that your employment hasn’t been terminated and that you still work at that company)
  • Income Tax report
  • Trade license
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills (gas, electricity, TV, internet)
  • Invoices from a carrier provider (phone, mobile data, etc) – O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile
  • Prague parking permit confirmation
  • Confirmation of public transport payments (Lítačka)
  • Czech residency (temporary residence as an EU citizen, or any other non-EU residence / visa)
  • Czech tax residency certificate
  • Study confirmation
  • Documentation for your family members (spouse, children)

Registration and production of the first driver's license takes 20 days. Express production of driver's license exchange or renewal of the existing driver's license can be arranged in 5 days for an additional registration office fee.

If you are a holder of Czech Permanent residence, you don’t need to prove your fiscal residency!

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