Some EU citizens living in Estonia will have to exchange their driver's licenses ({{commentsTotal}})

EU citizens living in Estonia who have driver's licenses with a long period of validity will have to exchange their licenses as the EU-wide system is being synchronized.

The EU currently has more than 100 different type of driver's licenses in circulation. The system is now being adjusted, and that requires the owners of licenses with long expiration dates to replace them with Estonian ones.

"There are licenses that are valid for an unspecified term or until the owner's 70th birthday. Such licenses have to be exchanged within two years of taking up residency in Estonia," said Toivo Kangur, the representative of the Estonian Road Administration.

People who hold driver's licenses issued in a member state of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation that are valid for a period longer than 10 years will also have to exchange them for an Estonian license within 24 months of moving to Estonia.

People who have been living in Estonia for more than two years will have to get a new license by January 19.

Antti Häkli, a Finnish national living in Estonia, is surprised by the requirement. Although Häkli holds a temporary residence permit, he qualifies as a permanent resident - the law stipulates that a permanent residence of a person is in the country where he or she spends at least 185 days in a year.

"I currently hold a Finnish driver's license that is valid until 2056. I spend most of my time in Tallinn - I work and live in Estonia, visiting Finland about once a month," he said. "I actually find the news surprising. If I already have a valid driver's license with an EU logo on it, I'm baffled by why I have to get a new one."

Detailed information on the requirements for driver's licenses on a country by country basis can be found here.