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Obtaining and exchange of driving licence

Driving licence is the documented proof of rights to drive vehicles of the categories indicated therein. It complies with the provisions of 1968 Vienna Convention “On Road Traffic” and legal enactments of the EU, and it is valid for driving vehicles both in Latvia and abroad. Driving licence is valid for 10 years (except those of categories C1, C1E, D1, D1E, C, CE, D or DE having the entry on acquired professional knowledge – these are valid for 5 years).

Driving licence issued in Latvia have to be exchanged when: it has expired; it is damaged; name, family name or personal identification code has changed; a person so wishes; the driver having the restriction code 78 in the Driving licence which allows for driving a vehicle with automatic gearbox only, passes driving test with a vehicle equipped with the manual gearbox.

A person permanently residing in Latvia or who stays in Latvia more than 185 days per calendar year (and has the place of residence declared in Latvia) can have his/her Driving licence issued abroad exchanged for Latvian one, or such a person can acquire it.

A driver who arrives in Latvia from abroad and stays in Latvia for more than one year has to exchange the Driving licence in accordance with the established procedure; this requirement does not apply to the Driving licence issued in the EU Member State or EFTA country, and to persons having diplomatic or consular immunity and privileges. The driving exam has to be passed in order to exchange foreign Driving licence.

For a foreigner, in order to acquire Driving licence, it necessary to:

  • attend a driving school;
  • finish the course on the first aid;
  • undergo medical examination;
  • pass the theoretical exam at CSDD. The questions of the theoretical exam are focused on understanding different traffic situations rather than on formal memorizing of rules. This exam is to be taken on a PC in one of the following languages: Latvian, English, French, German or Russian;
  • pass the driving exam at CSDD. During that the skill of the new driver to perform maneuvers which are necessary most often is evaluated, as well as ability to join the traffic flow both in town and outside. Since 2005 modern vehicles – cars and motorcycles – are used for practical exams all equipped with digital videosurveilance systems. This allows for recording the course of the exam and to analyze it in case of appeal, as well as to see that inspectors comply with professional criteria set by CSDD and to eradicate corruption;

To exchange the Driving licence the following is necessary: passport or personal identification card (the person must have Latvian personal identification code); the Driving licence to be exchanged; valid medical examination card (it must be presented, if no data is available in the CSDD Register). It can be verified by using e-services of CSDD or by calling information line of CSDD (payable) 90004099. The medical examination card is issued by family doctors and designated commissions at medical establishments.