posted by in Azores forum
It's always best to get information straight from the IMT webpage. Each country is different, therefore, I'm speaking here from my own personal experience.
Non-EU license holders are allowed to drive in Portugal using their foreign license for a fixed period. How long you’ll be allowed to use your existing license depends on where you’re from.
The United States is part of the Road Traffic International Agreements, meaning you must exchange your non-EU driving license within 185 days after obtaining residence in Portugal. As a US citizen we can use our license for six months before you must exchange it for a Portuguese driving license.
When exchanging a US license for a driving license in Portugal, American citizens need to apply for an abstract of their driving record from their last state of residence and a physician’s certificate to prove that you are fit to drive.
Get the oldest record that you can find!!!! and yes you have to get a physical from a doctor.
NOTE: One thing I found out when I exchanged my license is Portugal only recognized my driving history back to my last renewal of my stateside license issue date which affected my driver's insurance rate. I was told that if I could produce a copy of my oldest license they could reduce my rate. I'm still trying to find one, but for now my rate is not that bad around 160 euros a year.
When you give up or turn in your license, you will be driving on a temporary letter of permit. When I received my Portuguese license my US license was returned to me with VOID punched through it.
Hope that helps.