Driving license of foreign citizens

In the legal practice of companies with foreign workers, the question arises whether foreign citizens have the right to drive a company car, having only a

foreign driver's license. 

Clause 2 of Article 20 of the Federal Law of December 10, 1995 N 196-FL (as amended on 07/03/2016) “On Road Safety” (hereinafter referred to as Law No. 196-FL) states that legal entities and individual entrepreneurs are prohibited from:

allow drivers to drive vehicles who do not have Russian national driver's licenses confirming the right to drive vehicles of the respective categories and subcategories; in any form whatsoever to compel vehicle drivers to violate road safety requirements or to encourage for such violation.

For violation of this requirement, administrative liability is provided for officials in the form of a fine in the amount of 50,000 rubles. (Art. 12.32.1 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation).

On June 1, 2017, paragraph 13 of Article 25 of this law came into force, according to which driving is not allowed on the basis of foreign national or international driving permits in business and work activities directly related to driving.

It should be noted that the responsibility for violation of this requirement is provided for by part 1 of article 12.7 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses of December 30, 2001 N 195-FL (as amended on April 17, 2017, as amended of May 23, 2017) - driving a vehicle a driver who does not have the right to drive a vehicle (except for a school ride) is an administrative fine in the amount of 5,000 to 15,000 rubles.

Thus, the above norms establish a ban on foreigners working as drivers for driving without Russian national driving permits, the first norm (clause 2 of Article 20 of Law N 196-FL) applies to employers, the second (clause 13 of Article 25 of Law N 196- FL) - in relation to foreign citizens themselves.

At the same time, the aforementioned clauses in this wording were introduced by Federal Law No. 92-FL of 07.05.2013 “On Amendments to the Federal Law“ On Road Traffic Safety ”and the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation”, the explanatory note to which is indicated that the law was adopted in order to establish a ban on engaging persons who do not have driving licenses of the relevant categories issued in the Russian Federation to work as drivers, as well as to bring national legislation Federation in accordance with the requirements of the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic.

Thus, the above prohibitions apply specifically to foreign drivers and do not affect the rights of other foreign citizens to drive vehicles in Russia. For foreigners - non-drivers according to their positions, there are rules allowing them to drive vehicles on the basis of foreign national or international driving permits1.

Foreign citizens have the right to drive vehicles of Russia on the basis of foreign national or international driving permits. Obtaining Russian national driving licenses is required only for persons of foreign countries whose work activity is directly related to driving, that is, for drivers.

[1] Persons permanently or temporarily residing or temporarily staying on the territory of the Russian Federation are allowed to drive vehicles on the basis of Russian national driving permits, and in the absence thereof, on the basis of foreign national or international driving permits, subject to the restrictions specified in paragraph 13 of this article (Clause 12 of Article 25 of Law No. 196-FL).
Persons who are not citizens of the Russian Federation are allowed to drive vehicles on the territory of the Russian Federation on the basis of an international driver's license, provided it is presented together with a national driver's license (Clause 14 of Article 25 of Law No. 196-FL).
A national driver's license issued in a foreign country that is not a party to the international treaties in the field of road safety in cooperation with the Russian Federation is considered valid for driving on the territory of the Russian Federation on a reciprocal basis, provided that it is presented together with the duly certified translation into Russian, except in cases where all the entries in this driver's license are made and and duplicated letters coinciding in spelling to Russian or the Latin alphabet (paragraph 15 of Article 25 of the Law N 196-FL).

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