Drivers considered normally resident in Greece are required to get an άδεια οδήγησης/adeia odigisis (AO) — also called δίπλωμα οδήγησης/diploma odigisis or driver’s license/permit — by taking lessons at a driving school and passing written and practical tests, if not already in possession of an unexpired license issued by an EU/EEA member state.
Anyone with an unexpired license issued by an EU/EEA member state may drive in Greece without restriction, as long as the class/category matches the vehicle being driven.
*Article last updated January 30, 2015, with a major revision on May 7, 2014 from real-life experience. One update pending.
- Who is exempt
- Residency requirement
- Lessons and documents
- How much it costs
- Processing time
The Ministry of Transport article is outdated and differs from what happens in reality, which is why I conduct independent research and believe official websites are unreliable. Many embassy/consular, government and commercial websites copy these articles without second thought because they are “official,” so you are not necessarily getting confirmation from different sources.
I also caught some of these websites reusing my translations, information and first-hand experiences without permission on more than one occasion.
Be careful who you trust.
Who is exempt?
Persons eligible to convert or swap for a Greek driver’s license do not need to go through the normal process described in this article. You have this option if your license was issued in:
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Former Soviet Union (FSU): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
It does not matter what citizenship or nationality you have; it only matters that the license is still valid and issued by one of the countries listed above. If this applies to you, stop here and go to “Converting to a Greek driver’s license.”
If your license has already expired and it’s not possible to renew it in the country that issued it — or you are seeking a license in a different category (i.e. you have a motorcycle license and want a car license) — you must go through the normal process described below to drive legally.
1. Meet minimum age requirements
— Car: At least 18 years of age
— Scooter (up to 50cc): At least 15 years of age
— Motorcycle (up to 125cc): At least 16 years of age
— Motorcycle (more than 125cc): At least 18 to 21 years of age, depending on motor power
*I am looking for someone who went through the process of getting a class A license and took notes on his/her experience.
2. Not be in possession of a valid driver’s license issued in the EU/EEA
— Applicant must forfeit this license to get a Greek license.
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 or 185 days a year;
b) A non-Greek EU/EEA citizen who resides in Greece at least six (6) months or 185 days a year;
c) A non-EU citizen with an expired visa, who has applied for or is in possession of a residence permit.
For most people, residency in Greece begins after a stay of 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 contract.
When to apply
Your nationality/citizenship determines when to start the process.
- 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.
Driving school lessons & cost
Find a driving school and sign up for mandatory lessons. In nearly every neighborhood, there is a σχολή οδηγών/scholi odigon (driving school) with certified instructors.
- List of driving schools in Greece, organized by municipality (in Greek)
Ask residents in your area for a recommendation or visit a few schools and choose one. Each school has a different schedule of classes and pricelist, and classroom lessons can begin immediately.
*A friend who took lessons in March 2012 paid 500 euros for theory classes and driving lessons and 150 euros for the final driving test fee, which covers the cost of your instructor to attend the exam and bring the school’s car. It may be cheaper or more expensive at the school you select.
For cars and scooters/motorcycles, students must spend a total of 20 hours in the classroom for driver’s theory, plus one hour on the Ministry of Transport computer practice test. Study materials are available in Albanian, English, Greek and Russian, but language assistance at the school depends on staff.
- Questions on fuel economy and environment were added in 2009. See “Ερωτήσεις Οικονομικής – Οικολογικής Οδήγησης” in four languages.
- Practice tests can be found at Τεστ Οδήγησης in Albanian, Greek and English.
The school submits elements from ‘Documents and fees’ (below) to the Ministry of Transport to issue a learner’s permit, which is an A4-sized paperboard (karta) with the candidate’s personal info and space on the front/back to record final exam results. It is good for three (3) years.
For category B – automobiles, students spend a total of of 20 hours practical driving with an instructor, in a stick-shift (manual transmission) car provided by the school. It is by appointment.
Documents and fees
Photos, documents and fees for the driver’s license should be collected and paid before practical driving lessons start because the Ministry of Transport needs to issue a learner’s permit (karta).
1. 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
- See “How to certify a dilosi or other document,” if you need help.
2. 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
- See “How to certify a dilosi or other document,” if you need help.
3. Passport photos — Four to six (4-6)
— One for learner’s permit/card
— One for license
— One or two for health certificate from pathologist*
— One or two for health certificate from ophthalmologist or optometrist*
*Some doctors request two (2) photos for each health certificate; some want one (1). I carry extras, as it’s better to have too many than too few.
4. Two (2) fees paid to National Bank of Greece
— One receipt for 90 euros (5 copies) – 20 euros for the pathologist, 20 euros ophthalmologist/optometrist, 50 euros Ministry of Transport
— One receipt for 30 euros (5 copies) – Levy to cover cost of printing license
— Both fees paid to account ‘ND 638/1970’: Teller will know if you say “gia adeia odigisis”
- Find a location at, “National Bank of Greece“
5. 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)
- School provides a list of pathologists approved by the Ministry of Transport
6. 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
- School provides a list of ophthalmologists/optometrists approved by the Ministry of Transport
7. AFM/Greek tax number
— Know your number; proof of AFM not requested
8. Two (2) fees paid to the tax office
— One παράβολο/parabolo for 6 euros
— One παράβολο/parabolo for 18 euros, fixed χαρτοσήμο/xartisimo (stamp duty)*
— Go to the tameio (cashier) and say “gia adeia odigisis”
- Find a location at, “Greek tax offices/DOY/efories“
*If you already have a Greek license in a different category, you will be asked to pay 27.02 euros.
9. Dilosi (statement of facts)
— Provided by the driving school, the text (in Greek) says that you authorize them to act on your behalf on matters pertaining to documents, tests and inquiries on the issuance of a driver’s license
— Provided by the driving school and sent to the ministry office
— Requests basic information (name, address, etc.)
— Language preference for written test (Albanian, English, Greek, Russian)
— Signature in a marked box will be used on your driver’s license
11. Alternate name documentation, if applicable
– Dual Greek citizens who have a name different than the transliterated Latin name should provide a photocopy of a non-Greek passport or birth certificate or other official document specified by Greek authorities.
*Effective November 7, 2011. See section below called, ‘How is my Greek name written in Latin?’ for more information.
Candidates may also specify blood type by submitting a document issued by a private doctor, lab or hospital, though this is optional.
Sometime in 2014, the Ministry of Finance said it intends to allow applicants to pay fees online via the TAXIS website (gsis.gr). I will update when it’s operational.
The driving school instructor decides when you are ready to take final exams.
- If you are not ready upon completion of the required number of hours in theory and/or practice, you may need to attend and pay for more lessons.
- If you are ready, the written test is scheduled at the “Ministry of Transport office” nearest you. The school can give you the address.
To take the written exam, bring your Greek ID (Greek citizens) or residence permit/certificate/card (non-Greek citizens) and learner’s permit to the Ministry of Transport testing location at the scheduled time. The test should be administered in whatever language you specified on the application described in #10 under ‘Documents and fees.’
— If you do not show up for your appointment, there is a 15-day penalty before making another.
— If the test is not in the language you indicated, you can tell them you are a no-show and wait 15 days or fail intentionally and wait one week.
You’re given a number as you enter the room, then anonymously assigned to a computer where you must answer 30 multiple-choice questions from a possible 300 questions on a touch-screen — 29 questions on driving and traffic signs; one question on the environment. You are allowed to skip questions and come back, but answers cannot be changed after pressing ‘verify.’
Talking or cheating is an automatic fail and disqualification from taking the exam for six (6) months.
When everyone in the room has completed the test, results are printed and disclosed on the spot. You must score 29/30 or 30/30 to pass.
— If you get more than one wrong and fail, there is a one-week waiting period during which you need to attend and pay for more theory lessons, then make an appointment and take the test again. If you fail it a second time, you must attend and pay for more theory lessons, make another appointment and take it again.
— If you pass, take the results to the driving school and have the instructor schedule the final driving test.
Results are recorded on your learner’s permit, then signed, stamped and returned.
More information about testing is available at, “Θεωρητική εξέταση υποψηφίων οδηγών μέσω Η/Υ (ΜΣΘΕΥΟ).”
You and the instructor go together to the driving test with the school’s car; you will need to show your learner’s permit and Greek ID (Greek citizens) or residence permit/certificate/card (non-Greek citizens). Two examiners sit in the back seat, and the instructor sits in the passenger seat.
Test is only administered in Greek.
First part is oral. Examiners ask you questions about the vehicle.
Second part is driving, which can include parallel parking in four maneuvers, driving on a highway, reversing around a corner, changing lanes, entering an intersection and respecting right of way, shifting gears on a hill. It lasts approximately 15-20 minutes from start to finish.
— Some people come back early if they fail.
— Some people are kept longer if examiners need more time to gauge a driver’s abilities before passing or failing them.
You are only allowed to make one major error. A serious mistake is cause for automatic failure and an immediate end to the test.
Results are easy to understand.
— If they give back your learner’s permit, you failed. You will be required to take and pay for 10 hours of practical lessons before taking the test again.
— If they keep your learner’s permit, you passed.
You do not get a paper or interim/temporary driver’s license, if you passed. In the event you are stopped by police, they pull records from the Ministry of Transport database and see a license is being processed under your name/AFM.
What happens after passing both exams?
A red ‘N’ should be placed in the back window of your vehicle for one (1) year, which informs everyone that
you are a new driver. There is no standardized ‘N’ sign — some people purchase tiny T-shirts with suction cups from Jumbo, others tape up plastic signs from auto supply shops; I’ve also seen paper signs that look homemade.
The examiner sends your learner’s permit with results to the Ministry of Transport regional office, which forwards paperwork to Greek police. They oversee printing of the license and then send it back to the ministry.
It can take 20 to 30 days for license issuance, according to the driving school and ministry, though it can take longer if your photo or papers are rejected. The driving school follows up and/or you inquire at the ministry or check its progress online at, “Εμφάνιση της προόδου εκτύπωσης άδειας οδήγησης.” It is only in Greek and sometimes does not work or show the correct information.
You or the driving school can pick it up in person at the local Ministry of Transport office, when ready.
About the adeia odigisis (AO)
The majority of drivers in Greece have the pink paper booklet permits (above), which are valid in all EU member states until the year 2033 or until the driver reaches age 65.
New licenses issued since April 1, 2009 are plastic cards with layers of security (photo at top of article), which harmonizes with an EU directive made mandatory on January 19, 2013. It does not have a microchip or swipe strip, so it cannot store personal records or fingerprints.
Date of issuance is the date you passed your driver’s test, not when the license was printed.
Surname in Greek*
Surname in Latin letters
Name in Greek*
Name in Latin letters
DD/MM/YYYY (Date of birth) + Municipality of birth (if applicable)
Date of driver’s license issuance + Issuing municipality
Date of expiration
ΑΦΜ (Greek tax number)
Type of license – Category A, B, C, D, B+E, C+E, D+E
*A non-Greek citizen’s name is not in Greek letters; it follows the spelling on your passport.
Unique identification number of license card
Blood type (optional)
Types of licenses awarded to driver (if multiple categories) and when
Expiration of each license
Restrictions on each license
How is my Greek name written in Latin?
Names in English/Latin letters on driver’s licenses are transliterated from Greek, following a formula set by ELOT 743 that harmonizes with the International Standard (ISO 843). To see your name transliterated to Latin, click “ELOT 743 Translator,” use the left column and enter your name in Greek letters.
As of November 2011, law 401/2011 gives citizens the right to specify a transliterated name AND a translated name, as long as you present documentation specified above in #11 in ‘Documents and fees’. For example:
- ΠΑΝΑΓΙΟΤΗΣ, followed by PANAGIOTIS OR PETER (taken from a private email).
A license expires every 15 years. On the driver’s 65th birthday, it must be renewed every 2 years by submitting all the same documents and fees again. No lessons, driving or written tests are required, but renewal is not automatic.
Lost, stolen, damaged licenses
Anyone with an unexpired Greek driver’s license can request a replacement, if it was lost or stolen, damaged or worn. See “Replacing a Greek driver’s license.”
Greek driving school owners, instructors and associated personnel offering to issue you papers and certificates in exchange for fee, and without you completing any lessons or exams, face between 13 months to six years in jail.
— First-hand experiences of a Greek citizen (2007), Greek-American (2009) and an American (2012)
“Πρόστιμο 200 ευρώ σε οδηγούς χωρίς δίπλωμα οδήγησης” — Naftemporiki
“Γάμος με ψηφιακά παράβολα” — To Vima
“Απλοποιημένο σύστημα εξέτασης για άδειες οδήγησης” — Eleftherotypia
“Ανώνυμα τεστ για νέους οδηγούς” — Ta Nea
“Αλλάζουν οι εξετάσεις για δίπλωμα οδήγησης (mp3)” — To Vima
“Φάμπρικα έκδοσης πλαστών διπλωμάτων οδήγησης στην Αν. Θεσσαλονίκη” — Ta Nea
“Μετατροπή ισχύουσας άδειας οδήγησης από Η.Π.Α. Καναδά Αυστραλία Ιαπωνία Νότιο Αφρική και Νότια Κορέα σε αντίστοιχη Ελληνική” — yme.gr
“Μετατροπή ισχύουσας άδειας οδήγησης από κράτος – μέλος της Ε.Ε.” — yme.gr
Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”
- Livingingreece.gr was created in 2007 to present meticulously researched original articles that fill a gap left by traditional media, government portals and commercial websites/forums run by people without credentials.
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