This advice applies to residents the state of Florida.  Your experience in other states may differ.

You probably want to read this first.

If you intend to become a resident of Portugal, you will want a Portuguese driving license.

American Driving Licenses are recognized for car rentals, but to avoid the hassle of International Driver licenses, or taking the Portuguese driving test (in Portuguese!), you might want apply for a Portuguese one.

Keep in mind that  the Portuguese DMV (known as the IMT) takes your American license away when you get one from them.  No worries, you can always ask the Florida DMV for a new one, saying the old was lost, or whatever.

Now here are the required steps:

(Figure on 2 – 3 months of pushing paperwork around before you move to PT, to be on the safe side.)

1) get your driving history.

you can probably get it from your nearest FLA DMV office

if that does not work, you have to request it from the Florida Bureau of Records. That takes 2 weeks.

https://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/abstract.html

2) Send your driving records to “apostille” it (ie, have the State certify it is official)

https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/other-services/apostille-notarial-certification/

3) have 2 color copies of your FL license notarized and apostilled too

4) you might need to have the nearest Portuguese consulate verify authenticity of your documents (I am going to call them on the week of 9/10/18 to find out if this is the case, so stay tuned for updates)

6996 Piazza Grande Avenue, Suite 201, Orlando, FL
Orlando, Florida 32835
(407) 601-2252

5) have a couple of extra passport-sized pictures of yourself, just in case

6) Once in PT, get a form from a doctor saying you are healthy enough to drive

7) Have a couple of extra passport-sized pictures of yourself, just in case

8) Go to your local IMT with all your papers. In Tavira, where I am headed, this is here.

You are now free to roam Portugal at will.