Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Converting to a Greek driver’s license

Greek drivers license
Classic Greek driver’s license

Driver’s licenses from other EU/EEA member states carry the same rights and standing as driver’s licenses issued in Greece and may be converted to a Greek driver’s license (άδεια οδήγησης/adeia odigisis or δίπλωμα οδήγησης/diploma odigisis) with minimum bureaucracy. Driver’s licenses from certain non-EU countries can and should be converted to a Greek driver’s license, without going through the normal process and expense of obtaining one.

The procedure you follow depends on where your current driver’s license was issued. Your nationality/citizenship is only relevant when determining the waiting period in which you must wait to apply.

Note that only licenses of the same class may be swapped, i.e., Αuto for auto, motorcycle for motorcycle. Otherwise, you are expected to obtain a Greek driver’s license the normal way described in “How to get a Greek driver’s license.”

*Article last updated September 22, 2014, with a major revision in 2013 from real-life experience, not official websites that rarely match reality and are (very) outdated.

For licenses issued by EU/EEA member states

It is legal to drive in Greece with a driver’s license issued by other EU /EEA member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway without need to convert to a Greek driver’s license, as long as the license remains valid. Your nationality/citizenship is irrelevant.

Conversion to a Greek driver’s license usually becomes an issue when the license will expire soon and cannot be renewed in its country of origin.

EU directives say drivers must swap or apply for a driver’s license of the new EU/EEA member state after permanently residing there for one (1) year. Each EU/EEA country has different policies. Greece does not follow or enforce this directive.

Basic criteria

Applicants should:

1. Be in possession of a valid license issued by a non-Greek EU/EEA member state

2. Not hold a Greek license or a second/third license from another EU/EEA member state in the same class
— You must be surrender and/or combine them if in different classes, i.e. motorcycle, heavy truck, auto;

3. Be normally resident in Greece
— Normally resident means residing in Greece at least 185 days a year.

When to apply

Your nationality/citizenship determines when to apply:

  • Greek citizens: Can begin immediately
  • Non-Greek EU/EEA citizens: Can start 95 days after issuance of a residence certificate/permit for Greece
  • Non-EU/EEA citizens: Can begin 185 days after issuance of a residence permit card/sticker. A bebaiosi (blue paper with photo) is only acceptable if you are in renewal of a previous permit.

Documents and fees

1. Valid driver’s license, plus one (1) photocopy (not certified)

2. Official translation of your driver’s license into Greek

3. Proof of identity — One (1) photocopy and the original for verification
— Greek citizens: Greek ID/tautotita, copy of front and back on one side of paper, then certified at a KEP Citizen Service Centre or police station
— Non-Greek citizens: Passport, copy of photo page, then certified by police station or lawyer

4. Proof of residency for non-Greek citizens
— Non-Greek EU/EEA citizens: Residence certificate/permit
— Non-EU/EEA citizens: Residence permit sticker/card
— One (1) photocopy, then certified at a KEP Citizen Service Centre or police station

5. Two (2) color passport photos
— One to affix your new license
— One to keep on file with your application

6. One fee paid to the tax office
— One (1) παράβολο/parabolo (receipt of deposit) for 18 euros – fixed χαρτοσήμο/xartosimo (stamp duty)
— Go to the tameio (cashier)

7. One fee paid to the National Bank of Greece
— One (1) receipt for 30 euros – levy to cover cost of printing license
— Paid to account of ‘ND 638/1970′: Teller will know if you say “gia adeia odigisis’

10. Application and forms to be completed in Greek
— Provided by public sector office

Sometime in 2014, the Ministry of Finance intends to allow applicants to pay fees online via the TAXIS website ( I will update when it’s operational.

Where to apply

Applicants can take everything to a Ministry of Transport office nearest their residence:

or a KEP Citizen Centre, which tend to be more conveniently located, open longer hours and may have staff to assist you in English. Find a location near you:

*Greek media/government announced on August 22, 2014 that KEP now handles transactions for driver’s licenses. This is baffling, as this has been the case for several years.

For certain non-EU driver’s licenses

If you are “normally resident” in Greece and have a driver’s license from one of the following countries, you have the option to swap for a Greek driver’s license:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Former Soviet Union (FSU): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan;
  • United States.

If the non-EU/EEA country that issued your current driver’s license is not listed, you must go through the normal process of obtaining a Greek driver’s license described in “How to get a Greek driver’s license.”

It used to be that many could get away with carrying a driver’s license and an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) without concern for being stopped or risking penalties, but implementation and enforcement of the law have been  stepped up as of January 2009. The fine is at least 200 euros and between one (1) to 12 months in jail.

* Please note that an IDP is not a license. It is a permit that provides a translation of your existing, valid driver’s license.

Basic criteria

Applicants should:

1. Be in possession of a valid, unexpired license issued by Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United States or Uzbekistan.

2. Not hold a Greek license or a second/third license from another EU/EEA member state in the same class
— You must be surrender and/or combine them if in different classes, i.e. motorcycle, heavy truck, auto;

3. Be normally resident in Greece

Who is “normally resident”?

“Normally resident” is:
a) A Greek citizen who resides in Greece at least six (6) months of the year;
b) a non-Greek EU citizen who resides in Greece at least six (6) months of the year;
c) a non-EU citizen with an expired visa, who has applied for or is in possession of a residence permit.

Evidence or admission of residency in many cases begins after 90 days and/or by registering for utilities (cell phone, phone, electricity, water, etc.) and/or upon signing a lease, mortgage, car loan or other agreement.

When to apply

Nationality/citizenship determines when you can start the process.

  • Greek citizens can apply right away.
  • Non-Greek EU citizens can apply 95 days after a document or permit/certificate can be produced as evidence of their residence in Greece.
  • Non-EU citizens can apply 185 days from the date their residence permit/card was issued. A bebaiosi (blue paper with photo) is only acceptable if you are in renewal of a previous permit.

Documents and fees

1. Proof of AFM (Greek tax number)
— Photocopy of your last tax statement (ekkatharistiko), any utility bill in your name or the paper you were given when it was originally issued

2. Dilosi (statement of facts)
— Stating that you do not hold a license from another country except the one being converted and have the physical and mental skills required to operate a vehicle in the relevant class.
— Some locations have copies with prewritten text; others expect you to buy a dilosi and write your own

3. License being converted – Original and one (1) photocopy (not certified)

4. Driver’s abstract
— A driver’s abstract must state that your license is valid and there are no outstanding tickets, warrants or other holds
— Request it through the authority that issued your driver’s license (i.e., the Department of Motor Vehicles or Ministry of Transport), then have them send it to the Greek consulate/embassy in your home country/state, which will translate it to Greek and forward to the Ministry of Transportation in Greece. This method is stated because it is assumed you have given up your former residence and now live in Greece full time. Specify instructions on what you want done at each stage with a letter.

5. Official translations of your driver’s license (#3) and the driver’s abstract (#4) into Greek
— Must be from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Translation Department or a lawyer, if it was not already done by the Greek consulate/embassy.

6. Proof of identity
— Greek citizens: Greek ID/tautotita, one (1) copy of front and back on one side of paper, then certified at a KEP Citizen Service Centre or police station
— Non-Greek citizens: Passport, one (1) copy of photo page, then certified by police station or lawyer

7. Proof of residency for non-Greek citizens
— Non-Greek EU/EEA citizens: Residence certificate/permit
— Non-EU/EEA citizens: Residence permit sticker/card
— One (1) photocopy, then certified at a KEP Citizen Service Centre or police station

8. One fee paid to the tax office
— One παράβολο/parabolo (receipt of deposit) for 18 euros – fixed χαρτοσήμο/xartosimo (stamp duty)
— Go to the tameio (cashier)

9. Two (2)  fees paid to National Bank of Greece
— One receipt (5 copies) for 90 euros to cover cost of two (2) health certificates
— One receipt (5 copies) for 30 euros – levy to cover cost of printing license
— Paid to account ‘ND 638/1970′: Teller will know if you say “gia adeia odigisis”

10. Six (6) color passport photos
— One for your license
— One to keep on file with your application
— Two for each of two health certificates*

*Some doctors ask for two; some want one.

11. Health certificate from a pathologist
— Make an appointment with a pathologist off the list
— Bring your photos and National Bank of Greece receipts for 90 euros
— Bring your vivliario, so the doctor can review your medical history
— If you don’t have a vivliario, the doctor will ask questions and decide on further exams (or not)

12. Health certificate from an ophthalmologist/optometrist
— Make an appointment with an eye doctor off the list
— Bring your photos and National Bank of Greece receipts for 90 euros
— Doctor will administer a vision test and determine if more exams are necessary

There are no online forms and applications, which are advanced concepts in Greece. Everything is done in person.

Sometime in 2014, the Ministry of Finance said that intends to allow applicants to pay fees online via the TAXIS website ( I will update when it’s operational.

Where to apply

Applicants can take everything to a Ministry of Transport office nearest their residence:

or a KEP Citizen Centre, which tend to be more conveniently located, open longer hours and may have staff to assist you in English. Find a location near you:

The only legitimate excuse for not applying for a Greek driver’s license is if, after 185 days, your residence/work permit sticker/card has not been issued since authorities cannot accept the bebaiosi (blue certificate of receipt with photo).

*Greek media/government announced on August 22 that KEP now handles transactions for driver’s licenses. This is baffling, as this has been the case for several years.

Processing time

It normally takes less than a week for the application to be processed once you apply, and 20-30 days for issurance. When you pick up the Greek license in person, your current license will be confiscated, canceled and held on file.

Should you decide to secure another license during a visit to your homeland, your Greek license will be revoked if you’re caught with both. Technically, Greek law does not permit a holder to have two licenses. However, I understand that many people have two licenses, keeping one at home for use in another country they visit frequently or as a convenience for ID purposes.

Validity in other EU/EEA countries

A non-EU citizen who converts a non-EU driver’s license to a Greek one, then moves to another EU/EEA country, must contact authorities of the new country to check the validity of the converted Greek driver’s license. Most EU/EEA countries only recognize EU/EEA driver’s licenses held by EU/EEA citizens, not those held by non-EU citizens who swapped or converted a non-EU driver’s license. In that case, you would forfeit the Greek license and start again according to laws in the new country.

A non-EU citizen who earned a Greek driver’s license the normal way by paying for classroom/driving lessons and passing the written/driving exams will, in the majority of cases, be allowed by authorities in other EU/EEA countries to keep it. See, “How to get a Greek driver’s license.”

Expiration date

A Greek license expires every 15 years.

For more details on renewing after age 65 and what the Greek license looks like and the information it includes, see ‘Expiration date’ and ‘About the adeia odigisis (AO) in “How to get a Greek driver’s license.”

How do I replace a Greek driver’s license?

Greek driver’s licenses can be replaced if worn, damaged, lost or stolen. See, “Replacing a Greek driver’s license.”

Current Greek driver’s license

Future of EU driver’s licenses

The EU aims to standardize all driver’s licenses in member states with a credit card sized license bearing a swipe strip on the back side for easier identification and security reasons, similar to those being used in the United States. As of April 1, 2009, Greece started issuing cards to new drivers but has not made them mandatory for existing driver’s license holders with the pink paper booklet license.

There is already an EU/EEA standard in place, but it is not mandatory or enforced. Thus, all member states have different rules and a combined total of 110 different licenses of varying size, color and composition.

It is wrong to assume that all EU member states have the same rules and regulations regarding driver’s license.

The Law

KOK Article 94

*Hat tip to CEO, who sourced and sent me the doc via email.

Used to update article

Πρόστιμο 200 ευρώ σε οδηγούς χωρίς δίπλωμα οδήγησης” — Naftemporiki
Μετατροπή ισχύουσας άδειας οδήγησης από Η.Π.Α. Καναδά Αυστραλία Ιαπωνία Νότιο Αφρική και Νότια Κορέα σε αντίστοιχη Ελληνική” —
Μετατροπή ισχύουσας άδειας οδήγησης από κράτος – μέλος της Ε.Ε.” —
Swapping Canadian license for Greek” — Clarks in Greece
Γάμος με ψηφιακά παράβολα” — To Vima

Used for comparison

Both articles were published in English several years after mine and you are free to click through, but be aware that the info is grossly outdated and inaccurate, as is typical of official Greek government websites. This is why my articles are independently verified and combined with real-life experience.

Converting a valid driving licence from USA Canada Australia Japan South Africa and South Korea into the corresponding Greek licence” — Ministry of Transport
Driving License Conversion” — Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Plagiarism note

I started and wrote the article above before official government websites existed and embassies/consulates and English-language news began disseminating practical information on Greece.

Many have repurposed my information without doing their own translations/research or gathering first-hand experience. Therefore, you are not necessarily getting confirmation from different sources.

Be careful who you trust.

My last update contains first-hand details not available anywhere else, making my information easy to identify.

In the News

Driving in Greece a parable to living in Greece” — Kathimerini
Driving school and doctors caught issuing fake driver’s licenses” — Ta Nea and Zougla

Related posts

The first time I drove in Athens
Tickets and fines in Greece
Athens Ring: What, where, why, when?

Update pending


  melusina wrote @ May 21st, 2007 at 22:27

Thank you for this! I’ve been wondering what to do – convert my TN license or what – and how to do it. But I’m not really sure I’m willing to give up my U.S. license so, I guess I’ll stick with that if it is valid here.

Kat Reply:

Glad I could help in any small way. I haven’t given mine up in 10 years and actually renewed mine in CA when I was last there. Was easy, quick and without hassle. However, it should be noted that I do not drive in Greece very often and have never been stopped. If you drive often and there is the possibility of being stopped, you need to swap.

Everyone I know who swapped for a Greek one said it was a huge hassle.

  melusina wrote @ May 23rd, 2007 at 18:22

Well, I just really don’t want to give up my U.S. license, especially since so many states have issues exchanging EU licenses (my parents live in Virginia – you can only exchange the license if it is from Germany or France). If it was easy to keep swapping back and forth, fine, but since my license is my second form of U.S. ID I really don’t want to give it up.

  ajl wrote @ September 17th, 2007 at 23:23

Fantastic article – here is my situation.

– I am american born (California), with a greek passport because of my mother

– my wife, spanish, and I live in Madrid

– I’d like to convert my CA DL into a Greek one, so that I can buy a car and get insurance in Spain; passing the spanish driving test is extremely difficult and expensive

– i am only 42 years old, and have never done, nor intend to do, any military service in Greece

Question: What would be the easiest way to convert my CDL into a Greek DL? I would love to be able to do this by mail, or by hiring someone in Athens to help me do it. (are you interested???) Must I travel to Athens myself? What about my Military Service requirement?

Anyway, this is a fantastic website. I’ve shared it with my whole family.
Keep up the great work!
Please respond if you have some spare time.


  Antonios wrote @ January 10th, 2008 at 22:34

Does a Greek Drivers license show your address like a US license?

Kat Reply:

A – Yes, but it is nothing like a U.S. license.

  The Scorpion wrote @ January 11th, 2008 at 14:15

I saw some poor Greek student the other day trying to park, and he kept driving up on the sidewalk and the car lurched a few times.

But, I thought to myself, he’ll pass and be on the road very soon.

That thought scared me for a little while.

Kat Reply:

The S – LOL! You kill me :) The amazing thing is the cost involved in hours of classes in theory and practical training, yet the reality of driving in Greece persists, and stats show it keeps getting worse. I think it’s partially because the license never needs to be renewed. Here’s some related commentary: “Sharing our space with others.”

  FMS wrote @ January 13th, 2008 at 01:38

A few years ago, a Greek friend of mine told me [with some pride] how his father had paid for the driving licences of his two sisters in their early twenties. This was because they drove so badly that it was clear they could never pass a test; so, the family sent one million drachmae by cheque in the post. The licences arrived by return post.

A few months later, one of the girls was nearly killed in a car crash which seemed to be her fault. I took the opportunity to discreetly mention that this is why we have to have tests of driving skills and licences that prove those skills: the friend was so angry. “I don’t want to hear this….”

You know something? I have no sympathy for the people who die on Greek roads with their awful driving, but I have a lot of sympathy for pedestrians and other victims who have to suffer this crap.

  Vasiliki wrote @ June 9th, 2008 at 08:14

Kat, I need some advice. My sister moved to Greece in 2006 and she had her purse stolen yesterday (along with her CA driver’s license). I don’t know how to help her. How can she get her CA license replaced? She doesn’t read Greek very well so I can’t imagine she can pass the driver’s test. I went to the US Embassy’s website and it basically states that if someone lives in Greece for more than 180 days, then they need to convert their US driver’s license to a Greek one. Granted, she should have done that over a year ago, she now can’t do it because she doesn’t have a physical driver’s license to show. I feel so helpless. Advise?

Thank you so much Kat! You’re a lifesaver! I love your site! You’re on my faves now!

Kat Reply:

It’s really nice that you’re trying to help out your sister. There are a lot of people here who do not speak Greek very well, but would like to help themselves somehow and that’s one reason I started this site in English.

First of all, I’ve never found any written law that says we must absolutely swap, and I’ve inquired at the police station and transport authority, as well as looked through official documentation in Greek. So I’m not sure where the American Embassy is sourcing this information; I’ve found a number of inconsistencies in their information in other areas as well. A lot of people do not swap (including me in 11 years) because a CDL is worth more to me, and I never get pulled over here. Your sister should not feel bad about not swapping.

Second, she could go through the process of getting a Greek license the hard way, that is taking hours of theory classes and practical driving courses. They offer them in English, but the thing is she’d have to pay thousands of euros (not an exaggeration) to learn something she already knows how to do.

Last, the only way she can replace her CA driver’s license is to be in California and go to the DMV. Why? Because she is required to appear in person to give her thumbprint, sign her application and have her photo taken digitally.

If she has no plans to be in CA anytime soon, I’m not sure what can be done because the requirements are pretty strict for security reasons. You could call them and see if there are any ways around (though I doubt it because of the thumbprint and photo). The good news is she wouldn’t have to take any tests, and once she completes the process, she can leave CA and have someone send her the license when it arrives in the mail.

Should she not have an address in CA, either hers or a relative’s, she can actually apply for a duplicate or replacement driver’s license in another state where she or someone else does (i.e. you). Using NY as an example, she can request an abstract on letterhead from the CA DMV that verifies she did have a valid license there. With this abstract, she could apply with as little as her passport and SS card. I do not see anything about taking a thumbprint, and I do not know if they take photos digitally. You could inquire and see what can be done in her absence, though I suspect all proper agencies want applicants to appear in person.

Thank you for dropping in and contributing to the discussion :)

  Paul wrote @ June 10th, 2008 at 21:28

Just this weekend I thought I had lost my wallet with my driving licence in it (turned out I’d left it in a local shop and got it back yesterday) and so I’ll be looking into how to replace a UK licence – I’ll post here if I discover anything useful.

What I would very strongly advise, though, is for anyone driving on a foreign licence to make a photocopy of it, keep that in your wallet/car and keep the actual licence in a safe place at home. I know it’s technically illegal to drive without having your licence with you but I know of a couple of cases where the traffic police have pulled someone over, been presented with a photocopy and made no fuss at all. Conversely, I’ve never heard of anyone being fined for showing a photocopy.

@ Vasso
From a brief look at the procedure for renewing a driving licence in the UK it seems that the issuing authorities can grab a photograph from a passport database, so I definitely think it’s worth a phone call to CA to find out if remote renewal is somehow possible.

Kat Reply:

Good comment and information. Re: Vasso’s sister. The photo is likely no problem, but the fingerprint is also required for CA. Her sister may or may not still have an address there, which is the reason I used NY as an example in case another DMV is necessary.

  Amalia wrote @ September 17th, 2008 at 18:50

Great site…Bravo Kat!
Just want to confirm this. Did you say that you are using your US drivers license in Greece and that you do not have a Greek license? Giving up my US license is also an issue for me but my situation is a little complicated. I have moved to Germany, my current license is from Texas which does not have an agreement with Germany as of yet (worse than not knowing Greek which I do) so my partner and I (who has dual citizenship GR/USA) were thinking to get our licenses in Greece and prevent this nightmare here in Germany. I am waiting for my Greek papers to be processed to get my citizenship on top of all of this. Would really appreciate your input and keep up the great work!!

Kat Reply:

I’ve only had a US license the entire time I’ve been here because: a) I value my CDL as a form of ID and return to the USA to drive often enough where I will not give it up; b) it states my organ donation wishes, which is something you cannot get with a Greek driver’s license or jumping through a number of legal hoops to have these wishes stated in Greek; and c) I rarely drive in Greece and have never been stopped by authorities. Public transport is often faster than driving, affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly, in spite of the various manners and odors I suffer to be green.

I assume you mean that you’re first getting Greek citizenship, since you cannot get a Greek passport without it; it doesn’t work in reverse.

I also hope you realize that getting Greek citizenship is not enough. If you read the requirements in the article, it says you must have a Greek tautotita (#7), plus an AFM (tax number) in order to pay the fees associated with converting to a Greek driver’s license (#9). In order to get an AFM from the eforia (tax office), you must have a permanent resident address in Greece. Plus #12 states you must present a printed tax statement from the eforia (ekkatharistiko) or a utility bill in your name from OTE, DEH, a cell phone company or EVDAP as proof you have an established and ongoing presence here in GR.

Everything I’m saying is already stated in the article above.

  Danny wrote @ January 25th, 2009 at 13:00

Convert your US DL to Greek one and when first time you go back to the US issue a new one then you have two !!

  Nikola wrote @ January 29th, 2009 at 18:05

Hi, I am currently living in Thailand and have recently aquired a Thai license but it is a provisional one year license and after one year it will upgrade to the full 5 year license. I cannot get an International Driving Permit until then either. I was just wondering because i am moving to greece in 1 month whether i could convert it to a Greek license? By the way i am a Greek citizen so i have no problem with all that bureaucratic mumbo jumbo.. Please advise

Kat Reply:

N – If you’re a Greek citizen, you cannot convert without a license from an EU country or a non-EU country listed above. You are expected to get a Greek license by paying for hours of theoretical and practical lessons. Even if your Thai license were a full license, Thailand is not on the list and therefore you do not qualify.

  Nikola wrote @ February 3rd, 2009 at 05:47

Thanks for the response i just have a couple more questions,

So what am i to do? I dont want to go through the loooooong process of getting a greek license. Should i therefore just wait till my thai license is a full license then drive with an IDP or what? I have a document that states in english that the license is valid. Also on the license it has an english translation of the details. So in theory i could be able to drive in greece for that one year period then get a IDP after that right?

Kat Reply:

In your original comment, you said you had “no problem with bureaucratic mumbo jumbo,” so it seems you’ve changed your mind. What you do is up to you. Once you decide to not follow the rules, you are at the mercy of the law and its consequences, unless you have connections to bail you out.

If you are moving to Greece in one month and your Thai license doesn’t qualify you to get an IDP for almost a year, you’ll essentially be driving illegally for that year. Your Thai license entitles you to drive in Thailand, and it makes no difference if it’s in English; it is completely worthless in Greece, unless you have an IDP accompanying it. And if they find out you are living here and not a visitor, you are subject to fines and jail time. Good luck.

  Amy wrote @ February 17th, 2009 at 15:10

Hi Kat,

I wrote to you on (Amalia wrote @ September 17th, 2008 at 18:50) regarding this whole license process. This is what I/we experienced in Jan. We currently live in Munich. We are both U.S. citizens, however one of us is also a EU citizen (Greek).

We had all the proper paperwork sent from the Greek Embassy in Houston to Chania. When we went in to process our licenses, I, who does not have a Greek ID asked about the ‘Residence Permit’ that they require. They said go to the police station to get your residence permit. Went and was told that you are an American citizen, you need to go to your local Dimo to get the paper. Went to the Dimo and was told you do not need a resident permit as a ‘Greek/American’. She wrote this down on paper and I returned back to the DL office.

They then said you must go to some other office to get your ‘license’. When we called them, it turned out that they would issue me an “International” Greek license that was valid for only 6 months to drive legally there. On the other hand my partner (the Greek citizen) went through loops and hoops to finally get her papers processed. When all the papers were finally completed/stamps etc. she took them back to the DL office and then it came; “Give us your American license’, she happened to be with her Mom who is very outspoken and had already called her attorney to ask about this.

The attorney told her, they have no legal right to take her license. She relayed this to the ‘women’ in the office who were all well you know ……LOUD……and the mom said no we are not giving you her license. The manager from the back came out who had previously advised us and I may add had the same last name of my partner. When he came out the woman said nothing again about the US license and they left.

Now the license is ready and mom went back to pick it up and sure enough the woman asked for the American license. The manager was not in but would be returning today. I will let you know what happens with all of this.

I got absolutely nowhere without my Greek ID and I am not sure if that was right or they just didn’t know what to do. I would have thought that the Embassy would have said something to me if it was not possible. At this point, I have decided to exchange my Texas license for a MA one (where I am from) and then exchange my MA one for a German one. The Greek process is just waaaay too complicated, my God!!!! Texas and Germany do not have any agreements as of yet for DL exchanges as does MA. Some have said in Germany they try to take your DL and some say they have not. We will see and if so I will also request a duplicate license.

Just to clarify things; we were going the Greek route because we need an EU license to live in Germany and would have had to pay lots and go through all exams and road tests here do to having a Texas license with no agreement.

Thanks! and hope this was helpful…

Kat Reply:

I never heard back from you about what happened, but I wanted to clarify a few things so readers can understand what happened to you and why.

Hyphenated Greeks who are Greek citizens with Greek ID cards can try and swap using the process above as long as all of the other requirements are met. This is why your partner (Greek citizen) jumped through all those hoops to get her papers processed. Because it is a ‘swap,’ it is proper that they confiscate the U.S. license when giving your partner or her representative the Greek license. Swap implies there is an exchange. If it wasn’t a swap, or you don’t want to give up the U.S. license, your partner is required to complete and pay thousands of euros for both practical and theory classes, take exams, then get the appropriate certificates (same as Germany).

If you are a U.S. citizen (of no Greek origin), they would have allowed you to apply for a Greek residence permit. Because you are a U.S. citizen of Greek origin, the woman was correct in saying you cannot apply. Why? Because you are of Greek descent/origin and have the right to claim Greek citizenship, a Greek passport and a Greek ID, whether you want it or not. If you don’t have them, you must get them to achieve what you’re trying to do and then jump through the same hoops as your partner to get a Greek driver’s license.

The Embassy likely didn’t tell you all of this because they were uniformed or uninterested in helping you for whatever reason. This happens a lot, and many of these people come to this website for help.

Btw, what they require in Germany is basically what they require in Greece for all countries not on the swap list. If you staked your claim and applied for Greek citizenship, a Greek passport and Greek ID, it would still cost much less time and money than taking exams and road tests.

  tag wrote @ March 17th, 2009 at 23:57

I would like to say your website is brilliant, and well written. I would like very much to befriend you. I respect your intelligence, and hope that I can come to you in the future for further advice. My current situation is this. I am an American living in the EU, but can’t exchange my licence in the country I am in. I was looking hoping to do some driving licence tourism, but there doesn’t seem to be any loopholes. It seems like they make it almost impossible to get a licence in most EU countries with their demand for proof of address, medical exams, translations, and residency requirements. I know that you have already gone through this in your post, but I thought I would ask you what you suggest for my unique situation.

Kat Reply:

Your situation is not unique; it’s the same as everyone else looking for a shortcut. Therefore, my answer is the same. There are no loopholes, and these rules and requirements exist for a reason. As an American abroad, I do whatever I can to follow rules when it comes to bureaucracy because breaking them makes me vulnerable to someone else’s control. It also reflects badly on my country and fellow citizens.

  nancy wrote @ May 7th, 2009 at 21:37

i have a question for you, a friend of mine was pulled over and told that if she is a resident than she is driving illegally and he said he would let her go this time but he would ticket her the next time. is there any way to know for sure if there is this law.

he said if you are a resident of greece it is illegal to drive with an international and us licence. can you help me answer this


Kat Reply:

Whether someone is required to convert to a Greek license depends on whether (s)he is a “normal resident” of Greece. If she is a normal resident of Greece and has a U.S. license, she will be obligated to convert to a Greek license.

Who is a “normal resident”? 1) A Greek citizen who lives in Greece for at least 6 months of the year; 2) a non-Greek EU citizen who lives in Greece for at least 6 months of the year; 3) a non-EU citizen with an expired visa, who has applied for a residence permit or is in possession of one. Many pass the “resident” mark after 90 days, and “residence” becomes evident upon signing a lease or an agreement for utilities (phone, electricity, etc.).

When should she apply? That depends on her nationality/citizenship. If she is a Greek citizen, she can convert the license right away. If she is a citizen of another EU member state, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, she would apply sometime after 95 days. If she is a non-EU citizen, she needs to apply 185 days after her residence/work permit is issued.

If she is a non-EU citizen and doesn’t yet have an official residence/work permit, she can drive with the U.S. license and an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) (assuming they’re both valid and unexpired) from the day she arrived in Greece until the 186th day her permit was/is issued. I’ve attached the relevant law to the article; it’s in Greek.

  Panayotis wrote @ May 12th, 2009 at 19:01

Hi there

I moved from NYC 2 years ago but officially obtained my Greek ID upon finishing my military service in Fe 09. I want a Greek licence. I don’t live in NY anymore.

How can I get the Consulate to obtain a copy of my driving record? How will I know if they have sent it to the proper ministry here in Athens? Must I wait for the driving record to be giving to the ministry in order to hand in the rest of my paper work?

Thanks in advance

Kat Reply:

You need to request your driver’s abstract from the New York DMV, explain that you don’t live in New York any longer, have them forward it to the Greek Consulate in New York, which will send it to the Transport Ministry. I assume the easiest way to accomplish this would be to order one online (the NY DMV offers this option) or draft at least one letter detailing what you need and what you want accomplished, which you could instruct each institution to pass to the next. Alternately, if you have the option, I suppose you could have a relative or friend help.

The only way you can know if the ball didn’t get dropped is to check on things yourself, which is what most of us do with everything. I realize it isn’t foolproof, but that’s the way things are.

  Anna wrote @ July 6th, 2009 at 19:25

URgent…Ok, I am living here in Greece and I want to convert my CA drivers liscense to a Greek one, when I called this driving school they said that there is no such thing (swap a US D.L) and that they only swap for European Countries…..they gave me a hard time and said that they are 100% sure that they don’t swap, they don’t make any sense, can you please give me a website or information that I can go to that can handle it. Everything you have on ur site is very accurate, but they are saying that my information is wrong. Please email me asap. Thank you so much!

Kat Reply:

I don’t see the urgency in this request, and I only email people if the subject is of a professional or sensitive nature, which is not the case. If you’re Greek, living in Greece for any amount of time or have even one Greek friend/relative, you should know that many people try to claim ignorance, are ignorant or deny the accuracy of information to avoid helping you, hoping you will go away. And sometimes, that’s not a bad thing because you can find more competent people elsewhere.

Your information or information you learned from this website?

You can confirm what I say at the KEP website, American Embassy in Athens website, in Greek and English newspapers and by searching the Κώδικας Οδικής Κυκλοφορίας at You can also go in person to KEP or call 1500 for help. I don’t and won’t quote these as sources because I wrote my article before any of these places had an article (or even a website) of their own, and I acquired my information through first-hand experience and from friends who shared documentation/knowledge with me.

I know I’m 100 percent right, and several of my friends were able to swap. The Government Gazette Directive is 1030B passed August 9, 2002, and it hasn’t changed since then. Best of luck.

  Dean wrote @ January 18th, 2010 at 11:55

Your web site is fantastic. Greece should pay you since your legwork has no doubt made things easier both on the foreigners you help and on the Greek government itself.

Here’s my situation:
I am currently living in the Netherlands and hold a drivers license issued by the State of New York. The Netherlands does not accept conversion of a NY license to a Dutch license (big surprise). I am a Greek citizen and possess a Greek ID and passport. I also have a Type B “Permanent Resident Abroad” certificate exempting me from military service.

From what I’ve read on your web site and others, if you are a Greek citizen, Greece does not check to see if you are “normally resident” in issuing you a Greek drivers license, so I don’t anticipate any problems getting one (and my grandparents have an address there in case I need to give one to the authorities). My main concern is that if I were to obtain a Greek license, it would flag me in some military database as “normally resident” (even though I can prove on paper that I’m living in the Netherlands) and I would be subject to conscription.

Am I being paranoid? Could Greece really be so sophisticated that the Ministry of Transport and the Stratoligia are in cahoots? Is my concern warranted and I might be in danger of conscription should I obtain a Greek drivers license, or is this a non-issue?

Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. (I combed over this message board and I don’t think anyone asked a question completely identical to mine, but if someone did please forgive the repetition.)


Kat Reply:

This website helps both foreigners and Greek citizens like yourself (or are you a foreigner also?), so your comment is appreciated but inaccurate.

In any case, here’s the thing:
— “Normally resident” requires that Greek citizens live in Greece for more than 6 months of the year. You don’t.
— The Type B Permanent Resident Abroad certificate that exempts you from military duty requires you to live abroad for more than 6 months of the year. You do.

They may not go to your grandparents’ house to check if you’re “normally resident,” but a flag will be raised on your ‘abroad’ status as soon as you go on record as having an address in Greece. There may not be a common thread between the ministry of transport and ministry of defense, but activity on your AFM and tautotita can easily be traced. No one can say for sure how centralized or sophisticated things are because standards are always changing, and this is Greece so “results may vary.” That’s the problem with a system that isn’t black and white.

What you’re trying to do is have it both ways and get away with it. Therefore, you must live with the uncertainty and possible consequences as a result of your decision.

  Fab wrote @ February 1st, 2010 at 08:32

Can I bring the driver’s abstract with me to Greece or is it mandatory for it to go through the Consulate? Also, is it the driver’s abstract that I need or just a letter from the DMV saying that my license is still valid etc. THANKS.

Kat Reply:

You can bring one with you, but keep in mind that non-EU citizens (Americans) can’t apply for a swap until 185 days after a residence permit is issued. Meaning, it could be a year before you’ll need to present the abstract. There is no stated limit (i.e., abstracts issued in the last 60 days) and authorities may or may not accept it as valid. That’s the problem with a “flexible,” unclear system.

The article says “driver’s abstract”, so you need a driver’s abstract. It shows:
* name, date of birth, mailing address of the driver;
* driver license class, endorsements, restrictions;
* current status and expiration date of the driver license;
* any suspensions or revocations of the driver license, accidents, moving violation convictions.

It’s much more than a letter. Some DMV locations allow drivers to order abstracts online.

  George wrote @ February 2nd, 2010 at 14:53

Are there any consequences to driving with an international drivers license (along with a US driver’s License) indefinitely in Greece instead of getting a Greek Driving license?

Note from Kat: Commentator found the answer on his own in the article and pointed out a correction. Thank you!

  Ali wrote @ May 23rd, 2010 at 23:16

Comment 1:
Kat you’re amazing! Thanks for educating me through your expertise. I was unaware of the fact that I had to swap my American license for a Greek one! I was under the impression that I was legal with my unexpired American DL along with my unexpired IDP.

I’m returning to the States to renew my ADL because 10 years have passed, and I can no longer renew it online. I will aIso renew my IDP. I don’t know why I’m so reluctant to swap my ADL for a Greek DL. I go back to the States every summer and need my ADL. If you have time I would appreciate your opinion! Best Regards, Ali

Comment 2:
Kat, between you and me, and any hackers in my system, I’ve been lucky enough to break the law for 20 years. Although, the older we get the wiser we get, I think I might get legal. Thanks for all your knowledgeable advise. Warm Regards Ali

Kat Reply:

Many years ago, we could get away with doing that. But police have been making more checks as part of implementing the law, so there’s more pressure to convert to a Greek license.

I understand you wanting to keep your driver’s license from the USA, especially since you travel back there enough to use it for identity and driving purposes. However, if you live the majority of your year in Greece, the law says you need to convert. I’m flattered you want my advice on this matter, but I’m not in a position to encourage you to break the law. The decision needs to be yours.

  Leo wrote @ June 18th, 2010 at 15:30

Thank you so much for all the good work.

I have an important question, and hoping someone here might know the answer and help me.

I come from a non-EU country and have valid residence permit sticker in my passport.
1. Does the residence sticker makes my driving here not possible, although tourists can drive regularly for 6 months?
2. Is there a way I can drive the car if it is registered by my family member in my home country, with a valid international permit (int. permit to drive other people’s car, apostilled in court)? I have a work permit for 6 more months, need a car, and cannot afford a Greek one.
3. Is there a way I can drive my own car for an amount of time (like tourists can, for 6 months) with my home country license plates?


Kat Reply:

For the record, you have three complex questions, not one. I numbered them for clarity.

1. Just as tourists can drive regularly for 6 months, so can non-EU citizens in Greece with a permit sticker/card. As it says above, the law gives you 185 days from the day your permit is issued before it becomes necessary to apply for a Greek driver’s license.
2. As I understand, the car must be registered to you for a minimum number of months before it is brought into the country; it cannot belong to someone who lives outside Greece.
3. As I understand from the ministry of finance and tax office, a car with foreign plates can be driven up to 185 days before swapping for Greek plates.

Do not compare yourself as a resident — living in Greece more than 185 days a year and in possession of a residence permit — to a tourist who must prove he/she has his/her residence abroad and does not work in Greece.

Also be aware that bringing a foreign car into Greece will mean you need to pay custom fees and duties at the border or port.

You must contact the Greek tax office AND Greek customs office (DIPEAK) or Greek finance ministry ( to get information directly from them that applies to your special situation, or risk penalties and seizure of the vehicle; please do not consult a forum as there is too much to lose if you get the wrong advice. This also the reason I cannot assist you further.

  Jacquline wrote @ November 3rd, 2010 at 14:36

Hi, thanks so much for this very detailed information, but I am still very confused and have recieved many different answers. I would greatly appreciate emailing or skyping to ask you some more specific questions reguarding how I (a recently married American to a Greek) should proceed in obtaining a Greek license.

Basically I am unsure of whether I need to continue to wait and how much the total cost will be appox. ?

We married in Jan. 2010 and I got my Greek residence card on March 2010.

Any and all help from another American who has been through this process is greatly appreciated!

Kat Reply:

Please see “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me” to learn why I do not offer personalized consultation.

As I say in the second paragraph, there are two elements:
a) Where your current license was issued determines what instructions you follow (you didn’t say, but I assume the United States);
b) Your citizenship determines when you apply.

Answers to your questions are in the article. I’ll quote directly from it:
— Do you need to continue to wait? In the section, “For certain non-EU licenses” under “When should I apply?”, it says: “Non-EU citizens should apply 185 days from the date their residence permit/card was issued.”
— How much is the total cost? In the same section under “Converting your license for a Greek one requires,” the costs are listed in #9 and #10. So that would be: 18 + (2×45) + 30 = 138 euros. The cost of passport photos and photocopies will depend on where you have them done, so I cannot estimate that cost.

All best.

  Henry wrote @ December 27th, 2010 at 23:53

I am a Polish citizen living in Greece (Have a working permit and AFM) I am holding an Israeli driving license is it possible to replace it with a Greek one?

Kat Reply:

Israel is not on the list of countries that have the privilege of converting to or replacing the license with a Greek driver’s license. That means you must get a Greek driver’s license the normal way, which is to go to a Greek driving school and sign up and pay money to take lessons.

  Maria wrote @ January 3rd, 2011 at 13:17

I have dual citizenship here in Greece and in the states. I have obtained all the paperwork needed to convert my American DL to a EU license. However, I do have a few questions.

Do I have to get my driving record translated? (and where can I do this)

Also, can I take my driving record to the ypourgeio metaforon by myself, or do I have to send it through the American Embassy?

My last question is, do I take all my paperwork to the ypourgeio metaforon or to a KEP? When I called KEP, they told me I must take it to the Dimarxeio in Ilioupoli, since I live there.

Thank you for your help!

Kat Reply:

Nearly all of your questions are already answered in the article above.

In the section that applies to you, it says in #5 that the driving record must be translated into Greek, and there’s a link to where it can be done.

Nothing is processed through the American embassy, only the Greek embassy/consulate nearest your former residence in the USA if the driving record needs to be requested this way. Since you have it, this doesn’t apply to you.

Never heard of any Dimarxeio processing a Greek driver’s license conversion. KEP and the transport ministry are listed by the YME as the only ones authorized to perform this task, as I say above.

  anna wrote @ January 6th, 2011 at 08:00

Do you know if New Zealand is on the list of countries in which you can simply swap your license for a Greek one? Thank you!

Kat Reply:

The only non-EU countries allowed to swap for a Greek driver’s license are listed in the section, “For certain non-EU driver’s licenses.” If it changes, the article will be updated. All best.

  Tino wrote @ March 14th, 2011 at 04:52

Notice Greece allows people with licenses from Former Soviet Union countries. This is to facilitate the “Pontiaki” migrants from Black Sea Russia, Armenia and Georgia. Most of these people who are young 25-35 simple brought the documents during the anarchy of the 1990’s with a few hundred dollars bribe. These Pontiaki (most of whom are not really Greek) then go to the Western Europe and change their Greek licenses for a local Ducth German or Uk one. This “back door” needs to be shut down…

Kat Reply:

Allowing former Soviet countries to convert to Greek driver’s licenses is a recent revision in the law, so it seems they opened the door rather than closed it. Why? Questioning government decisions and the reasons behind them is a fruitless endeavor.

Thank you also for taking the time to read almost 90 pages of the website until 3:00.

  farhan wrote @ May 1st, 2011 at 01:16

i have pakistani licence can i convert this to a greek licence

Kat Reply:

Read the section, “For certain non-EU driver’s licenses.”

  ajl wrote @ December 9th, 2011 at 22:28

I’m overwhelmed by all the information you’ve compiled – I don’t know
how you do it.. !!! Fantastic work – in case you don’t hear it enough, THANK YOU.

Question: In Spain, there is the service of a Gestor. Basically a clerk who knows “the system” quite well, and for a fee will help you with tasks like permits, licenses, registerring for ones different needs, etc. Does this service exist in Athens?

I’m preparing a visit to Athens in January to exchange my CDL to a Greek Drivers License and will need help – someone to “hold my hand” during this process. Do you have any advice on finding someone to provide this service? Craigslist, perhaps?

Anyway, I thought this would be good info for the board if it does exist. Thanks again for all your amazing work. Happy Holidays.

Kat Reply:

There are attorneys and ordinary citizens claiming to offer this type of service, but they are not necessarily competent or worth the money, which is why I learned to do everything myself and then turned that knowledge into a website to help everyone help themselves. Dozens of people found the instructions above to be more than sufficient — more complete than official websites — and you’re essentially asking me to slight my work by recommending someone.

Many Greeks would say you’re not worthy of being a citizen until you’ve served Greek military and/or done everyday bureaucracy yourself. Greek citizens also have KEP (listed above) to assist them, which non-Greeks like me don’t have the privilege of using for 90 percent of transactions.

Also be aware that checks and consequences have been stepped up, so if you are converting a U.S. license to a Greek license without being “normally resident” in Greece, somewhere along the way they’ll find out. I already see two ways that can happen.

  Charity wrote @ January 22nd, 2012 at 12:57

Hi, I just wanted to add that I recent;y got my Greek drivers license by basically trading in my American one (long story). One of the last things I had to do to get it was to get an AFM tax number (mentioned above). They said it would be ‘easy’ to do when in fact although an easier bureaucracy to follow than the license it still had it’s pitfalls. I was required to have a copy of my valid rental agreement and a document my husband signed stating that we still lived together. I can’t remember what else I needed – but the rest was what I expected – passport, taftotita etc. The lady there told me that everyone should have one even if they aren’t working because it was only through having this that one is eligible for things like your husband’s pension when he dies…..

Kat Reply:

Instructions for swapping a U.S. license for a Greek license are detailed above, based on official documentation I translated and real-life experience, not official websites.

How to get a Greek tax number (AFM) is also covered on this website, as is getting a Greek social security number (AMKA). The majority of people, though not everyone, need both.

  Wendy wrote @ March 25th, 2012 at 02:56

Your question was moved to “How to get a Greek driver’s license.”

  Craig wrote @ May 18th, 2012 at 12:35

I exchanged my UK Driving Licence for a Greek one and the whole process took me about 5-6 months. I used my local KEP who were quite helpful by normal standards.

My advice for the certified translation is to use a lawyer. This is what I did, it was much quicker & less hassle than other options. I paid 80 Euros, which I think is quite reasonable in comparison to others who quoted 100 Euros plus.

EU Law states that you must exchange your EU Licence within 1 year, when staying permanently in another EU Country. However, through my experience after I realised that there isn’t such a strong legal enforcement here in Greece about such issues. But I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry :)

  H wrote @ May 20th, 2012 at 22:33

Thank you for the great website..
I want to make sure if the information concerning the list of contries which their licences can be exchanged with a greek one is up to date. I eould like to confirm if a drivinglicence from the FSU contries you listed can be ecvhanged with a greek one. I have checked the Ministry of Transportation’s website and did not find the FSU contries listed but all other contries were there.

I am asking you frankly coz i have more trust that your website contains info which is up to date and i dont trust official greek websites.
Thanks again and awaiting your response

Kat Reply:

My information comes from the Sources listed — paper documentation I received from Ministry of Transportation office, first-hand experience from people who converted their license and the Greek version of the MOT website. I do not take information from the English version, which is incomplete and outdated. I always make the extra effort to do independent research because “official” websites in Greek and English-language news articles on Greece never match what happens in real life.

Should you go through the process and find something different, please come back and tell me. My readers give back to the website by sharing their experience, which keeps information fresh as amendments are passed and it helps me to help everyone.

I appreciate your kind words. All best.

  Aqil wrote @ June 14th, 2012 at 15:28

i am living in Athens Greece since long and have residence permit and all other papers from Greek Government . I have Pakistani and international driving license that i have to change Greek driving license. I shall be thank full for your immediate action Thank you best regards

Kat Reply:

Read the article starting from section “For certain non-EU driver’s licenses.” Good luck.

  JP wrote @ August 4th, 2012 at 00:23

Hi, great website with some very, very useful practical experiences.

I am a New Zealand born Greek holding a Greek Passport and GreekID.

I have a current NZ passport and drivers licence.

I live in Dubai and hold a UAE drivers licence.

I spend 2 months each year in Greece and hate the ordeal of getting an international licence in the UAE.

In your opinion, what is my best option for getting a Greek licence? I don’t want to hand over another licence but will if it is an easier process as I can simply get another one again when I return to either NZ or the UAE.

Your insights would be appreciated.


Kat Reply:

In the section, “For certain non-EU driver’s licenses,” New Zealand and UAE are not listed as countries that have the option to convert to a Greek license.

So, as it says in the same section, the only option is to go through the normal process and a link to that article is provided. Only you can decide if it’s worth the trouble and expense.

  Kat wrote @ August 4th, 2012 at 09:54

Note to All: A majority 80% of questions are redundant. If this continues, I will permanently close this post to questions and comments.

This is my third and final warning.

  Helen wrote @ December 29th, 2012 at 12:08

for those who think that they can drive with converted greek dl from nonEU in EU contries

if you have an eu driving licence that has been issued in exchange for a non-eu dl in the country where you now live and wish to move to another eu country you cannot assume your new licence will be recognised there. it contains code indicating the country that originally issued it.

So from my experience you are not allowed to drive for more than 12 months in EU countries with converted dl if your original one is not from EU country

  stavros wrote @ December 3rd, 2013 at 19:12

I want to ask a question….I live in USA the last 3 years I have driving license Greek. Have to give exams to get the USA license, or i need I have to go change?
thank you

Kat Reply:

This website is about Greece and converting to Greek licenses, not how Greek licenses are converted or swapped in other countries around the world.

In the U.S., the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the state you reside sets the rules. Most states only allow drivers with unexpired ‘Out-of-Country’ licenses to drive legally for 90 days, after which they must apply for a permit, submit documents, pass exams and/or convert. I don’t know where you live, so you need to do a simple Web search for the DMV in the state you live and follow whatever they advise.

  Ahmed wrote @ May 10th, 2014 at 23:28

If i’m a non-EU citizen with an expired visa, who has applied for or is in possession of a residence permit. how much time should i wait ?

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough info for me or anyone to answer your question, but the answer is in the article above.

If you have a license issued from another EU member state, see ‘When to apply’ in section ‘For licenses issued by EU/EEA member states.’

If you have a license issued by one of the non-EU countries listed in section ‘For certain non-EU driver’s licenses,’ see ‘When to apply.’

If you don’t have a license issued by an EU member state or one of the non-EU countries listed above, you must get a Greek driver’s license the normal way. See, “How to get a Greek driver’s license.”

  Elisa wrote @ August 6th, 2014 at 03:04

Would you know if we can drive in Greece with a New Zealand Driver’s License? We will be hiring a car to drive from Athens to Navplion and then exploring for a few days.

Kind regards

Kat Reply:

My answer assumes you are not normally resident in Greece, though you did not say.

You are permitted to drive in Greece as a tourist if you have an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can apply for one and get one rather easily (I’m told) via AA in NZ (click link for info and instructions).

  Demetri wrote @ August 19th, 2014 at 23:27

This site is just great work. Congratulations! I have your site in my favorites ever since I moved to Athens (from Boston) in 2008. Back in ’08 I converted my MA (Massachusetts) driver’s license to a Greek one and surrendered 1 of the 2 MA Driver’s licenses I had (I had a duplicate one because I lost the other one at some point, and then found it). I’m going back to the States next month and I was wondering if I can renew my (now expired) MA driver’s license or you think they have been notified by the Greek authorities that the specific license has been surrendered? If that’s the case, is my only option to be able to drive in the states to get an international permit from ELPA?

Thank you very much in advance.


I did what you said and it worked out fine… I just renewed my driver’s license. FYI, if an MA driver’s license expires, someone can renew it within 4 years, otherwise he/she will have to re-take the driving tests.

Thanks again for your help!


Kat Reply:

Although state services and records have become more synchronized in Greece, I highly doubt there’s a way for the DMV to verify that your license is in the hands of Greek authorities. It’s even more doubtful that Greek authorities have notified MA.

I encourage you to apply for renewal, especially if you still maintain a residence/address there (a requirement, btw). If you’re successful, don’t carry the MA license in Greece. If you’re stopped and police see you have a Greek and MA license, they’ll confiscate one on the spot. You’re “not allowed” to have both.

Thank you for your loyalty all these years. Wishing you all the best.

My pleasure!

Every U.S. state has different laws governing driver’s licenses.

Glad it worked out, and hope to see you again :)

  John P wrote @ September 8th, 2014 at 01:18

thank you very much for your resources. I am Canadian living in Toronto. We visit Greece every year . We have just purchased a summer home in Halkidiki. I want to buy a boat under 10 metres. I have an Ontario Boaters license . Is this acceptable for a visitor? Do you know what I have to do? Thank You in adavance

Kat Reply:

Hi there,

Thanks for your question. Let me say from the start that I have no knowledge of boats or sailing in Greece. However, I gather from a Google search that what you need depends on what kind of boat you buy and how/where you plan to use it. Without knowing these details, I can only dispense general advice and point you to some links for further research.

From what I understand, there are different classifications and levels. Most countries require that a foreign license be accompanied by an International Certificate of Competence (ICC). For more info:|K=224990

On a related note, the type of boat you purchase will also have impact on taxes so check with the eforia to save yourself an unwanted surprise.

  yannis wrote @ November 12th, 2014 at 17:35

I am a Greek national and recently returned from the UK to live permantly in Greece. I currently hold a valid professional driving licence issued in the UK and I am having difficulty in converting it to a greek one. The authorities keep referring to my very first licence which of course has expired. When I first moved to the UK this first licence was swapped and surrendered/ sent back to Greece and I was issued with the current licence which I have now. They indicate that they do not recognise my current valid UK licence. Am I wrong in thinking that my current valid licence should be able to be converted especially as I am in the EU? I have spent many hours going round in circles with them. Do you have any advice on what I can do please. Any help would be so appreciated as this is stopping me from getting employment

Kat Reply:

I think it’s important to understand that Greece doesn’t operate on what makes sense or care what you think. It only matters what you can prove. This is the reason I keep copies of absolutely everything I think might matter later on.

While there are EU directives set forth as guidelines or minimums that member countries must follow, each country can override directives with their own laws or not follow them as Greece is notorious for doing, even after a court orders it. Further, the UK and Greece are still different countries with different laws around issuing licenses.

If you have paperwork related to the events you describe as proof, and you’re willing to put aside the UK mentality and ingratiate yourself to Greek authorities, you may be able to convince someone to help. Otherwise, I’m afraid I don’t have further advice.

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