Increase in Counterfeit Foreign Driver's Licenses Raises Concerns in Estonia

In the past year, slightly over 3800 foreign driver’s licenses were submitted to the Estonian Transport Administration for exchange, with nearly fifty of them being counterfeit. The number of counterfeits has tripled compared to previous years.

“Out of a couple of hundred licenses, doubts arose regarding the authenticity of the submitted driver’s licenses. Fortunately, most suspicions did not confirm, but 44 counterfeits were identified,” said Tiit Poll, the head of the driving license service department at the Estonian Transport Administration.

Thirty-four counterfeit licenses were discovered in Northern Estonia, one in Ida-Viru County, and nine in Southeast Estonia.

Among the counterfeits in 2023, there is a rising trend of fabricated driver’s licenses, known as pseudo driver’s licenses, which have not been issued by any existing national authority. Most of these are ordered from the internet. The top three consist of Pakistani driver’s licenses, pseudo driver’s licenses, and Ukrainian driver’s licenses.

While 3814 driver’s licenses were submitted for exchange last year with 44 counterfeits detected, in 2022, 3578 licenses were submitted, and in 2021, 3344 licenses were submitted, with 13 counterfeits discovered in both years.

The Estonian Transport Administration encounters foreign driver’s licenses when exchanging licenses for foreigners moving to Estonia and returning Estonians. The Transport Administration collaborates closely with the Police and Border Guard Board’s document experts, both in daily document checks and in annual training for officials.

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