In exactly ten days, on 19 January, a new driving license will come into use in the EU. The plasticised credit card-sized licence will replace the 100 or so models found in Europeans' wallets today. It may or may not include an electronic chip - depending on each member state's choice - that contains the information printed on the licence or other data, with the aim of reducing fraud.

With these new rules, driving licences with unlimited validity will come to an end. The new licence will have to be replaced every ten years (or every 15 years if states choose this option). Licences for professional drivers will be valid for five years. Does this mean that all currently valid driving licences will have to be replaced? Over the longer term, yes. However, renewals will be phased in as the licences expire. Driving licences with unlimited validity - like those in Belgium - will have to be replaced by 19 January 2033. States may require physical or mental aptitude tests for licence renewals if they consider it necessary. For professional drivers, a medical exam will be mandatory every time the licence is renewed.

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