What do people from abroad need to know to drive in Lithuania? // You are based in Vilnius, and what about your car? All about driving in Lithuania
Foreign nationals who choose to work and live in Vilnius often arrive with their own cars. Others decide to bring their own vehicle when they have lived in Vilnius for a period of time. Here is a comprehensive guide to what you need to know to drive in Lithuania – both about registering your car and about your driving licence.
You can drive a car registered in a European Union (EU) country in Lithuania for 180 days per calendar year, or 90 days per calendar year if it is registered in a third country. If you come to Lithuania for tourist purposes with a car registered abroad, you do not need to register it in Lithuania and you can use it in public traffic.
If you have arrived for permanent residence in Lithuania, you must register your car here. You must have a declared place of residence. If you do not have one and you are not listed in the register of undeclared residents, then you can only register the vehicle in your name temporarily, for a period of 6 months, by presenting a document confirming your address – this can be a document issued by the Centre of Registers on the ownership or lease of the car in Lithuania, or a written consent from the person who has declared his/her place of residence that his/her address will be used for the registration.
If your car was registered in a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA), you must first ensure that your car has a valid vehicle inspection and that you have compulsory third-party liability insurance.
If your car was registered in a country outside the EEA, you will also need to have your car inspected to make sure it meets the requirements for vehicles in Lithuania.
The car’s technical inspection or technical expertise is carried out by companies that provide these services, for more information click here.
When registering your car at a Regitra branch, you need to present the following documents: an identity document, a temporary residence permit for Lithuania, and the car registration certificate. If you are registering a car from a non-EEA country, you will also need a technical inspection certificate.
By the way, all vehicles coming from abroad are also subject to identification at Regitra, so the vehicle itself must be presented, not just its documents.
If you change your place of residence and move to Lithuania from a third country, you can bring your personal belongings, including your car, into the country without paying import duties and VAT. More information here.
If you have a driving licence issued in an EU or EEA country, you can drive in Lithuania with it. However, the validity of driving licences issued by third countries depends on whether they comply with international conventions, such as the Geneva and Vienna Road traffic conventions (Geneva Convention and Vienna Convention). If a driving licence does not meet these requirements, an international driving licence is required in addition to the national driving licence. If you have any questions, consult Regitra specialists.
If you become a permanent resident of Lithuania, you should exchange your driving licence for a Lithuanian one. To be considered a permanent resident, you must have employment and/or personal ties with Lithuania and must live here for at least 185 days per calendar year.
Driving licences issued in EU or EEA countries are exchanged without any additional tests – as with car registration, you need to provide Regitra with a proof of identity and documents proving your declared place of residence or permanent residence in Lithuania (e.g., an employment contract, an extract from the Employment Service, a document from a training institution, etc.). You also need a valid medical certificate for the driver’s health check – available from any health centre, usually for a fee. When changing your driving licence in Lithuania, you must submit all these documents together with your national licence.
Driving licences issued in countries outside the EU or EEA are exchanged after you have passed the theory and practice driving tests at Regitra. You do not need to take the exams if your driving licence is issued in Switzerland, the Republic of Korea (only for B and BE categories), the United Arab Emirates (only for A1, A2, A, B and D1 categories), Moldova (only for AM, A1, A2, A, B1 and B categories), or if the licence you are replacing was issued in a country in the EU or the EEA.
The theory and practical driving tests are held at Regitra offices, for more information and registration click here.
A national driving licence issued in a third country is replaced if it has not expired. If the driving licence has already expired during your stay in Lithuania, it can be exchanged within 1 year of your arrival in Lithuania. In this case, you will also need to submit to Regitra all the documents listed above and your national driving licence with a translation into Lithuanian (signature of the translator required).
Exemptions for Ukrainian nationals
Ukrainians currently residing in Lithuania are granted temporary protection and are therefore exempted from car registration – you can drive a car registered in Ukraine for more than 90 days without registering it in Lithuania.
There is also an exemption for the validity of driving licences – according to the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine, the validity of expired driving licences issued in Ukraine is extended for the entire period of martial law and for one more year from the date of its termination or lifting.
Regitra has prepared a handbook with frequently asked questions for Ukrainians arriving in Lithuania in Lithuanian and Ukrainian.