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The use of foreign driver’s license in national territory shall follow the guidelines set out in the CONTRAN Resolution n. 360, of September 29, 2010, available for consultation at the Ministry of Infrastructure web site, as well as the other norms in the Brazilian Traffic Code – CTB (Law n. 9.503/1997).
However, in order to respond to the main questions of the foreign drivers, we briefly explain the applicable rules. There are three main hypotheses.
The first one refers to the driver of a motor vehicle coming from a foreign country and duly licensed in it, who will remain for LESS than 180 (one hundred and eighty) days in Brazilian territory, counted from the date of entry into the country. In these situations, the driver must check if his country of origin is a signatory of international conventions or agreements, ratified and approved by the Federative Republic of Brazil, see here: List of Countries by the Vienna Convention. List of Countries by the other Conventions.
If so, they may drive carrying only their original (foreign) license and official identification document valid in Brazil (usually the passport or Identity Card, for MERCOSUR member countries), according to Article 1 of the said resolution.
It is important to remember that all of the documents must be within the validity period.
If not, the driver can not drive using exclusively his foreign driver's license.
The second hypothesis occurs in the cases of a driver of a motor vehicle coming from a foreign country and duly licensed in it, who will remain for a period of MORE than 180 (one hundred and eighty) days in Brazilian territory, counted from the date of entry into the country. In this situation, the foreigner must undergo the physical and mental aptitude tests and psychological evaluation, according to Article 147 of the Brazilian Traffic Code - CTB, respecting its category.
The third and last hypothesis applies to foreigners from countries that do not possess licenses recognized by the Brazilian government, that is, those that are not covered by international conventions or agreements, ratified and approved by the Federative Republic of Brazil.
In this situation, foreign drivers may only drive in the National Territory by exchanging their original license for the national equivalent with the agency or executive entity of transit of the States or of the Federal District, and passing the Physical and Mental Aptitude Tests, Psychological and Vehicle Direction Evaluation, respecting its category, with the objective of obtaining the National Driver's License, as determined by Article 2 of the Resolution.
Finally, foreigners who do not have a license in the country of origin may obtain Brazilian license as long as they have a regular stay in the country and meet all of the requirements established in the Brazilian traffic legislation in force.