For Foreigners

How to change your driver’s license to a Polish one

So, have you taken the plunge and tried driving in Poland? I know – for me it’s a lot different than in America. It’s scary even. I hate driving in new cities here – it’s stressful! There are many different rules and I never know who goes first. So, if you plan on driving here in Poland, you have to get a Polish driver’s license. Studying for the test will help you learn the rules as well. Overall, it’s a win-win, but it’s def a challenge.

So, here’s the general way things work. If you’re currently living in Poland and you’d like to drive a car, you can do so for 6 months on an international driver’s license, or you can simply get a Polish license. I wrote simply, but it’s not that simple, unfortunately. If you’re American, check out what the US Embassy says about it. For general information on how to get a driver’s license in Poland, check out

Go to the doctor for an examination

The first thing you’ll need to do is get a doctor’s approval (orzeczenie lekarskie) that you can drive. Generally, not every doctor does this, so you need to find one who does. You pay about 200 zł for the doc to ask you a series of ridiculous questions about your health, like if you have problems with your eyesight or if you have any other medical issues, never even examining you themselves.

Submit an application at the nearest city hall (Urząd Miejski)

You’ll need to fill out an application – normally a category B license – which you can find here, and submit it in person at the Urząd or by post, along with pics, your doctor’s approval, copy of your ID (karta pobytu, etc.), and copy of your current driver’s license. After that, the Urząd will provide you with a number called PKK (Profilu Kandydata na Kierowcę).

Sign up for the written exam

After submitting the application and receiving your PKK, you can sign up for the exam. Luckily for Americans, NO DRIVING REQUIRED – you only need to take the written exam – NO PRACTICAL! Because for sure you don’t know how to drive a stick, right? Worst 2 weeks of my life learning to drive stick.

However, it’s not like the 10 ridiculously simple questions you have on the American exam, such as “What do you do at a stop sign?” I actually failed the first time thinking I didn’t need to study much because I thought it couldn’t possibly be that hard ? So, yes, you genuinely need to study for the Polish driver’s license exam. There is a huge bank of potential questions and lots of very particular rules you need to know.

You can take the exam in English – yay!

Happily, you won’t have to suffer through the Polish version of the exam. You can do it in English – phew! Just get the Driver’s Handbook for a Cat. B license and start studying! You can find them online for around 50 zł.

Handing over your original license

The biggest surprise of this whole process for me was the fact that I had to relinquish my American driver’s license in order to get my Polish one – WTF? This is especially an issue for Americans who use their driver’s licenses as ID cards, so it was pretty upsetting for me. The people at city hall informed me that they’d be sending it to the American Embassy, who would be then sending it to the DMV in my hometown, where I could pick it up when I needed it. Furious, I called the Embassy, and they reassured me they also thought the idea silly and would send it back to me by mail. Sure enough, a couple weeks later, it was returned to me in an normal envelope ? So, don’t fret! It’ll all work out in the end.

NOTE: I’ve heard on some forums that occasionally here, if you’re American, they’ll give you a license that says you can only drive an automatic car – interesting. That didn’t happen to me, but be sure to look out for that. It would be rather limiting.

Another annoying thing is that my first driver’s license was only valid for 5 years, so then I had to change it and do the doctor’s approval bullshit all over again. This time I got 15 years, which I think is standard.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Powodzenia!

NOTE: I’m not exactly an expert on the subject, so some of these things might be not 100% true or are subject to change, so be sure to do your own research as well.

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  • Reply Bob 24 July 2021 at 12:04

    Nicely written

  • Reply Ron Ti 27 July 2021 at 20:32

    Hello Leah
    You’ve pretty much got it all there. But just one thing, I found the best method to learn was not a book, but an online site where you psay, and then you can just do the questions online , exactly as you would at the testing centre. The questions are exactly the same set they use in the offical examination/ test. The website is here:

    I basically did just about all the questions thew weeks before the test. I think there were ? 2000, i’m not sure, but its all on the site. It was a good spend. There were no surprises when I sat the theory test. Like you, thanks God, I did not have to do a practical test!

    Lastly you were brave trying to wing the driving theory test the first time. There are quirky things with Polish road rules that differ significantly from Australia, that is for sure, One of the trickest set of questions was actually the hand signals given by Polish cops- they show you a police officer and ask you a question about what he is telling you to do. I found the hand signals are totally opposite to what I was used to ( =and thats not just becuase australians drive on the left BTW).

    Lastly, yes, I had to surrender my Tasmanian drivers licence as well, and it ended up at the Australian embassy in Warsaw.

    PS: have you got your citzenship yet??????

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 11 August 2021 at 14:55

      Ron! Still waiting for my citizenship approval – should be in by September! I guess they need more time in the summer 🙂 You know how it is. That’s a great tip about the test you can online to practice! I bet that helps tremendously. I’m guessing that didn’t exist back in the day when I took the test. I think it was 8-9 years ago 🙂

      • Reply ronald ti 11 August 2021 at 14:59

        Hi Leah!

        Yes, this website is indispensible, especially since the web interface actually is exactly the same as the one they use at WORD test centre ( =I did mine in Krakow). Keep well, i’m actually started work in Estonia but commuting backwards and frowards with Poland, cheers!

  • Reply Kip 1 August 2021 at 16:47

    Great article and a good place for me to start the process. Thank you!

  • Reply Mateusz 27 August 2021 at 10:32

    Very nice article. However, there are few things worth mentioning. Theory exam cost only 30 zł, but the medical checkup by the doctor, oscillates around 200 zł. You touched the subject of books and @Ron mentioned “drivingtest” portal for exercise purposes, which I find reaaaaaally useful! However, if you still need additional help with the theory exam or practice driving in Poland, you may call people from local driving school and ask them for help (in English). Of course, it will cost additional money, but still – we have an option like this.

  • Reply Ross 28 September 2021 at 09:16

    Hi Leah,

    Thanks for the article. Great read. Another important thing is – its straight forward if one can apply for the drivers license in the the city registered in their residence permit.

    And for learning the materials, the book is good but not enough. I was recommended these CD’s and books from my friend. Luckily one can copy the disk contents in their PC. And we don’t need to carry around the CD any more. The software allows to learn at your pace and take as many tests as you want. I agree with Ron about the tricky hand signals.

  • Reply Witek 6 December 2021 at 20:53

    Now you can collect punkty karne which you couldn’t with your Florida drivers license 🙂

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 6 December 2021 at 21:05

      Are you sure? You can definitely collect points for tickets and such.

      • Reply Witek 6 December 2021 at 21:27

        Yup! American DL can’t collect them. I’ve gotten pulled over a few times here in the last 8 years and they always check their database to see if I don’t have a Polish license as well for the points. They also always ask for the International Driver’s License that you need to get from AAA.

        On a side note, non-PL registered cars can’t be forced to pay parking tickets either. So if you have a car, lets say, registered in Germany… you can theoretically just not pay for public street parking.

        • Reply Leah Morawiec 7 December 2021 at 08:46

          Ah I see. Well I’ve had my Polish driver’s license for 9 years 🙂 I just happened to write about it now haha

  • Reply Lizzie 13 April 2022 at 00:15

    We’ve been trying to do this for my husband for three years now and haven’t been able to yet. Polish Urzad says that DMV doesn’t reply to their letters and American DMV doesn’t want to send anything out of the country therefore the Polish side is not able to get the confirmation they need to change my husband’s license. I’m exhausted with this and I have no idea how you guys did this. I’m starting to go crazy with all of this back and forth.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 13 June 2022 at 08:57

      Seems really strange they need anything from the DMV. All I needed was my driver’s license. Sounds like the easier route would be just to take the exam from start to finish – written and practical.

    • Reply Fer Cornejo 4 April 2024 at 11:37

      Hi Lizzie, Hope this find you well. I have collected all documents needed to replace my American DL to Polish one. As far as I understood in this article – I just needed to present/copy my American DV , However today they asked me to provide a ”confirmation” from the DMV as apparently you had the same issue. My question is of you were able to get this conformation and how ??

  • Reply Christopher Newell 23 August 2022 at 16:11

    Great article! Very helpful thank you, but I noticed you didn’t mention something. Where do you take the actual test?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 24 August 2022 at 08:30

      Chris – great question! Thanks for pointing that out. You need to take the take at Wojewódzkim Ośrodku Ruchu Drogowego – the Polish DMV 🙂

    • Reply Faslu Rahman 5 June 2023 at 13:54

      Hello leah
      Today i passed polish theory exam,what should i do next?shoud i take any documents from word to submit in district office or just wait for to ready polish driving license

  • Reply Mikayla 22 September 2022 at 22:58

    Hi Leah, where did you learn how to drive stick here in Poland? Anything you recommend and what time commitment/costs should are to be expected?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 29 September 2022 at 09:00

      Oh, I just drove. Firstly with a friend and then in my car on my own. It took me about two weeks to get the hang of it 🙂

  • Reply Kalina 3 January 2023 at 23:29

    Hi Leah, you mentioned that your first driving licence was issues for 5 years – do you mean your Polish one or American? My husband was trying to get it after a few months of waiting for a confirmation from Polish embassy in Mexico and an approval on his original driving licence from the state that issued it (an additional step required for countries that are not part of traffic Geneva convention), he got his PKK, passed theory and today went to collect the licence. Which is valid for literally 2 months (that’s when his Mexican one is about to expire). This leaves us so frustrated. I wrote to the municipality, but haven’t heard back yet, and I wonder if there is any chance to renew the Polish driving licence without going though all this process yet.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 January 2023 at 08:38


      Two months?! Ugh that’s so ridiculous. My first Polish license was valid for 5 years. The second one for 15. Now I guess all he has to do to renew is I guess probably take the medical exam again – at least that’s what I had to do – and then reapply. But no taking the exams or anything like that. Still that would be annoying as the medical exam costs over 200 zł and it’s basically a formality. Super frustrating :/

  • Reply KKD 6 February 2023 at 15:42

    Hi, Leah!! Thank you so much for your very detailed and excellent article, I’ve got my health approval, and it indeed cost me 200zlt, haha; I’d like to ask you how long it took to finish all this and get your Polish license?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 6 February 2023 at 15:47

      Hi there! Happy to help. Well at least the price hasn’t changed in a while 🙂 I’d expect it to cost more nowadays. If I remember correctly, it took a couple months. I had to pass the written test (I passed the second time) and then just waiting for the card to be made and everything. Unfortunately nowadays I’ve heard that you have to have some verification of your American license from the DMV. Not sure if that’s true in all instances though!

  • Reply Beate 17 May 2023 at 16:13

    I have a question: I received my Polish driving licence today (my South African one was converted). Tomorrow my national visa expires, and my residence permit is in process – but I have the stamp in my passport. My second name is Yvonne, but is spelled Yuonne. My question is this: do Polish licences only have Polish letters? Since V is not a Polish letter, did they intentionally change it to U?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 18 May 2023 at 09:12

      Beate – to me it sounds just like a clerical error. I would contact them and see what they say about it. Most likely they’ll need to change it.

  • Reply Faslu rahman 5 June 2023 at 13:48

    Hello Leah
    I have a question,i passed polish theory exam today,what should i do next?should i take DL theory exam passing certificate from word to submit in district office or just wait for to ready polish driving license

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 5 June 2023 at 14:19

      Hi there! Congrats 🙂 As far as I know you need to take this paper to the office (Urząd Komunikacji) where you submit your application for a driver’s license, as they will need to see that as well.

  • Reply Wesley Allan 31 July 2023 at 23:07

    Curious.. I’m US MILITARY.. I bought a Vehicle in Poland how do I register the car with rent contract? Can I do it with a passport?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 April 2024 at 12:56

      Hm I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer to this. Hope you figured it out!

  • Reply Antonio 11 August 2023 at 09:28

    Thanks for the great post. My Italian driving license expires in 2025 and i m planning to convert it into Polish one since i live here permanently. Do you think they will prolong it as well (10/15 years) or they will just exchange and keep the expiring date (2025)? If they will keep the same expiring date i guess it makes no sense to convert it now and better wait 2025. Second question, is a theory exam really required for converting / renewing the license only? Cheers

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 April 2024 at 12:55

      They’ll definitely prolong it as it’s a totally separate license, so no worries 🙂 But it may only last as long as your current residence permit.

  • Reply Fer Cornejo 4 April 2024 at 11:45

    Hi Leah, Hope this find you well ! After reading your article, I went to the closest city hall to verify if I have all doc needed to exchange my American DL to the Polish one. Besides all of documents mentioned – they also asked me to have my American DL translated + they need a letter confirmation from the DMV ( I have no idea why??) so my question is if you’ve encounter this issue or do you know how to get a confirmation from the DMV to be honest I haven’t heard such requirements.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 April 2024 at 12:54

      Yes I’ve heard the same thing. Often they need confirmation because they want to know that your American license isn’t e.g. suspended or maybe you have a DUI or something. So that’s why they ask for it and apparently it’s pretty hard to get :/ I hope it works out for you!

      • Reply Fer Cornejo 4 April 2024 at 14:02

        thank you for your fast response ! I hope so too !

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