Can expatriates drive in Ivory Coast? If so, can they use their original driver's license or do they have to apply for a local driver's license? Find out in this article.
If you have just moved to Ivory Coast, you are allowed to drive in the country for a maximum period of six months. In case you are planning to make a long-term stay, that is a more than six months stay, you are required to obtain a local driver's license in accordance with Ivorian laws.
Converting your driver's license
Expatriates who are in possession of a foreign driver's license have to convert it into a local driver's license. First of all, the foreign driver's license has to be authenticated by related authorities in your home country. In general, the request has to be made at the nearest municipality to the place where the driver's license has been delivered. The rest of the procedures will then be undertaken in Ivory Coast.
You will have to call at the Direction Générale des Transports Terrestres et de la Circulation (DGTTC), that is the Transports Department, at Le Plateau, Abidjan with the following documents:
- the authentication certificate delivered by competent authorities in your home country
- your original driver's license along with a copy
- your identity documents (original and copy).
Application procedures are free of charge and the request is processed within 24 hours. The Transports Department will then issue an authorization for exchange which you will have to produce to the Centre de gestion intégrée (CGI). Several branches are available in the major Ivorian cities, namely Yamoussoukro, San Pedro, Abidjan, etc. You also have to produce your original driver's license and your identity documents.
You new local driver's license will then be issued against administrative fees which are generally equal to 88,500 CFA francs.
Car registration and other formalities
Whether you are buying a new imported vehicle or a second-hand vehicle in Ivory Coast, you are required to register your car at the CGI. To apply for the car registration certificate, the following documents have to be produced:
- a copy of your identity card
- a master copy of the vehicle's sale certificate if need be
- a copy of the vehicle's original registration certificate where it applies
- a copy of the vehicle's fitness certificate where it applies
- the former owner's car registration certificate if it applies
- your proof of address
- a request for vehicle registration document
- an application form specifying the seller and the owner's identity details as certified by a municipality along with a municipal stamp on the front and a police station's stamp and a tax stamp on the back side.
In case you have bought a second-hand vehicle, you don't need to change the registration plates. However, the vehicle must undergo a fitness test and obtain a car insurance before being allowed to circulate around the country.
Road signs in Ivory Coast are fair enough. However, only 6,500 km out of 70,000 km of roads are paved. Indeed, the country's road infrastructure is clearly lacking. In some places, you are likely to come across huge potholes and distorted carriageways which can be quite difficult and risky for drivers.