Easier driving licence exchange for foreigners announced

Obligatory driving test to be scrapped and foreigners will be given longer time to exchange their licences for a Danish one

Among Denmark's expat community, one of the biggest complaints is the difficulty and costs associated with obtaining a Danish driving licence. Business leaders have also long lobbied for change, arguing that the current rules are an annoyance to their foreign employees and a hindrance to recruiting international talent.


The justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), has now heeded these concerns and announced plans to scrap the obligatory driving test for foreigners from non-EU countries. The plan would also allow foreigners to use their home country's driving licence for up to one year before switching to a Danish one.


"For many years, there has been a wish amongst the business community that the exchange of foreign driving licences be made more flexible," Bødskov said. "It has been viewed as a nuisance among many who come here to work or study and are forced to start from scratch and pass a driving test, even though they have driven for years in their homelands without having been in accidents or committing traffic violations."


READ MORE: Driving license exchange rules may be eased


Two years of experience, five years with no licence revocation

The justice minister said his ministry is eager to find a model that will ensure continued traffic safety in Denmark while not creating unnecessary barriers for foreigners. 


Bødskov said that the new requirements will allow foreigners who come from countries that have a level of road safety that is comparable to Denmark to exchange their licences if they have at least two years of driving experience and have not had their driving privileges revoked within the last five years. He singled out foreigners from the US and Canada as being among those who would have easier access to a Danish driving licence, but said that the Justice Ministry will discuss practicalities with other countries that have expressed a desire for an easier licence exchange. 


AmCham: "One less problem to deal with"
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Denmark has been a major advocate for changes to the driving licence requirements, and the group praised Bødskov's decision to do away with "the very irritating and completely superfluous barriers" for foreigners. 


"We are naturally very happy with the minister's proposal," AmCham's executive director, Stephen Brugger, said. "If the administrative procedures get hammered out, it will be a marked improvement for the international businesses and experts who come to Denmark." 


Brugger said the changes will also be a plus for Denmark.


"The highly-qualified foreigners who contribute so much to the Danish economy [will now] have one less problem to deal with when they consider coming to Denmark," he said.


Bødskov's plan, which does not need parliamentary approval, is expected to come into effect on December 1. 

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