May 14, 2021
From 3 May, a new international driving license, recognized in an additional 39 countries, can be applied for at the Transport Service’s customer service offices. Estonia’s accession to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic was approved by the Government of the Republic at the beginning of this year, which means that driving licenses issued in Estonia are now recognized in most countries of the world.
“The new driving license now offers our entrepreneurs significantly better conditions. This is a major victory, especially for the transit sector. It will also be much more convenient for ordinary citizens to travel in the future. When the global corona pandemic recedes, we definitely expect a large number of applicants for it, “said Joel Jesse, Director of the Transport Service of the Transport Board.
Which countries will be added?
Countries that will start recognizing Estonian driving licenses due to the 1949 Geneva Convention: Algeria, Argentina, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Jordan , Cambodia, Canada, Republic of the Congo, Laos, Lesotho, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and New Zealand. Also Hong Kong and Macau.
When traveling to a Contracting Party to the Geneva Convention, an international driving license in accordance with the Geneva Convention, valid for one year, must be applied for from the Transport Agency. An international driving license is issued on the basis of a valid Estonian national driving license, and in order to obtain it, an identity document and a color paper document with a size of at least 35 × 45 mm must be submitted to the service bureau and a state fee of 26 euros must be paid.
Estonia has previously acceded to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which recognizes the driving license issued by Estonia and the other countries that have acceded to the convention. The countries of the European Economic Area also recognize the Estonian driving license.
Two different driving licenses
The international driving license model in the Geneva Convention differs from the international driving license model in the Vienna Convention, so there will be two different international driving licenses in the future, one corresponding to the Vienna Convention and one corresponding to the Geneva Convention.
This means that if you plan to visit countries that have acceded to different conventions, it may be necessary to apply for two international driving licenses. Although the Estonian driving license complies with the Vienna Convention, the practice has shown that it does not count for some states party to the Vienna Convention and an additional international driving license is still required.
Estonia itself recognizes:
- a driving license issued by a Member State of the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation
- a driving license issued in a Contracting State to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic
- a driving license issued in a Contracting State to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic
- a driving license of a foreign state which has entered into an international agreement on the mutual recognition of driving licenses with Estonia