What you need to know about driving licences in Luxembourg
Insights •Expat Corner• 12.09.2017 • Presented by Simône van Schouwenburg - Business Development ING Expat Services
(Photo : ING)
You’ve decided to relocate in Luxembourg and you will probably want to drive. But can you drive with your original driving licence? If not, how to apply for a local driving licence? And what about the licence penalty points system? Find out the answers below…
Do you have to register or exchange your driving licence?
It depends on the country where your driving licence was issued.
If your driving licence was issued by an EEA Member State (the European Economic Area includes the 28 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you can, at any time, exchange or register it at the Société Nationale de la Circulation Automobile (SNCA), that is the National Traffic Company. Registration is optional but highly recommended so that the Luxembourg authorities can quickly issue with a Luxembourg licence if your own licence is lost or stolen. Exchange is only mandatory in the event of an offence resulting in the restriction, suspension or cancellation of the licence or the loss of points.
If your driving licence was issued by a non-EEA Member State, you are entitled to use your licence for a period of one year before having it transcribed, i.e. exchanged against a Luxembourg driving licence.
How does the licence penalty points system work?
Since 2002, Luxembourg operates a penalty points system. Each driver on the road, including drivers with foreign-issued driving licence and non-Luxembourg residents, starts with an allocation of 12 points. If you don’t hold a Luxembourg licence, you are granted a virtual licence which also starts with 12 points. The points are removed from this balance for infractions committed (1 point for not wearing a safety belt, 2 points for driving slightly over the speed limit or not observing a stop sign, 4 points for driving without a valid licence or insurance, etc.). If all points are lost, the licence is suspended for a 12-month period.
What are the consequences? If you hold a Luxembourg licence, you will not have the right to drive anywhere and the licence will be physically confiscated by the police. This also applies if you hold an EEA licence and are normal resident in Luxembourg. In all other cases, your driving licence will not be confiscated but you are banned to drive in Luxembourg for the duration of the suspension. During the suspension period, you must follow a 5-day course at the Driving Safety Training Centre in Colmar-Berg. At the end of the suspension period, you get your driving licence with all 12 points back.
If you have lost points, there are two ways for recovering them. All points are recovered if you don’t commit any additional offence (resulting in a loss of points) for a period of 3 consecutive years. Once every 3 years, you may recover 3 points by following a one-day course at the official driving centre in Colmar-Berg.
What to do in case of theft or loss?
Driving a motor vehicle without being able to produce a valid licence when required to do so is prohibited by law. If your driving licence is lost, stolen, accidentally damaged or destroyed, you must apply as soon as possible for a duplicate at the Driving Licence Office of the SNCA. If your driving licence has never been neither transcribed nor registered in Luxembourg, you must contact the authority that issued your licence in your country of origin in order to receive a certificate of authenticity before starting the replacement process.
What is the standard European driving licence?
All the Member States of the European Economic Area has adopted the standard European driving licence in January 2013. The licence is a credit-card style, single plastic-coated document, renewable every 10 or 15 years depending on the Member State (10 years in Luxembourg). It means that the new driving licence delivered by the SNCA, in case of theft, loss, damage, exchange or renewing of your driving licence issued by the authority in your country of origin, will be a European driving licence. If your driving licence was issued before 19 January 2013, it remains valid for the length of time stated on the licence. However, such driving licences must be exchanged before 19 January 2033 for the new type of driving licence.
For any further information, don’t hesitate to visit the website of the SNCA and, for your administrative procedures online, guichet.lu .
The two sites are only available in French (and German for guichet.lu).