If you decide to live in Portugal you may also decide to pass your driver's license. Less expensive and less complicated than in other countries, the Portuguese driver's license is recognized throughout Europe. However, the language barrier can sometimes be a brake to take the plunge. Locals say "Who knows how to drive in Lisbon knows how to drive anywhere in the world". How much does it cost ? What are the steps? How are the exams going? Bob, the Expats Personal Assistant tells you all about how to pass your driver's license in Portugal.
How to register for a Portuguese driver's license
You have decided to pass the driving license in Portugal? Super challenge! It may seem difficult or impossible to think when one does not understand the language (and even less to know how to drive) and yet it is easier to obtain it in Portugal than in France. The first thing to do will be to choose your driving school. If you live in Lisbon the most famous group is Segurança Maxima with schools in every neighborhood and especially promotions. In Portugal for an all-inclusive package you have to count 300 - 350 € maximum. Yes it's cheaper than in others countries and you'll see that it's also easier. Be careful of any hidden fees, but before Bob will answer a question that comes up regularly.
Is it possible to pass your driver's license in English in Portugal?
Some schools offer to take classes with an instructor who speaks English for a higher fee. However the examination of the code of the road and the practical examination are to pass obligatory in Portuguese. Bob's advice is to do all the training in Portuguese: in a short time you will have improved your level of Portuguese and learned to drive. Two birds with one stone !
Once your driving school has been chosen, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Certificado de registro de cidadão de União Europeia
- ID Photo
- Valid identity card or passport
- Medical Certificate (Atestado médico)
- Contribuente Number (NIF)
- The form that you can fill out with the receptionist
Regarding the medical certificate Segurança Maxima driving schools offers to do it in the premises of their school Cais do Sodré for € 15. This certificate must be in Portuguese obligatorily. This cost is in addition to the price of the license package. In concrete terms, the standard package includes:
- 28 theoretical lessons
- 30 practical lessons (including 6 in simulator)
- Registration for the examination of the highway code (one passage)
- Registration for the practical exam (one passage)
Examination of the Highway Code in Portugal
You should normally attend all the theorical lessons in order to be able to understand all the topics of the Portuguese Highway Code. The average age in the classrooms is young because in Portugal as in Europe it is normal to pass it as soon as possible. The code of the road is substantially the same as that which can be found in other countries.
As soon as you feel close you can ask to pass the examination of the code of the road. On Lisbon the center is at Metro Station Chelas. You will be called to take your exam in a room that includes offices and computer sots as pictured.
The questions are randomly distributed. There are 30 and you can make mistakes. Beyond that, you will have to go back to your examination of the rules of the road. The questions have been the same for at least 20 years, so there are free sites like: bomcudctor or codigo quizzes that offer the same questions as those asked during the exam. You can answer in the order you want, change the answer to a question. At the end of 30 minutes the system stops and the examiner calls you one by one to tell you the number of errors. Of the 30 questions there are 25 common sense and logic (always take the most "reassuring" answer and that leads to the least risk taking), and 5 where you have to know the answer (or try luck) ;)). You passed the exam? Congratulations! Bob will explain now the driving.
Learning to drive in Portugal
Learning to drive in Portugal requires passing the first 6 lessons in simulator. You will be able to familiarize yourself with the interior of a car and its elements. Nothing to see unfortunately with Gran Turismo virtual reality, these lessons will be especially for you the opportunity to try to stall as little as possible.
Then you can take your first real driving lessons. Bob, of course, believes that the quality of learning depends greatly on the complicity between the instructor and the apprentice. Do not hesitate to ask another instructor if yours does not make you comfortable. Regarding the level of language you will have to learn
Concerning the level of language you will have to learn some essential words:
- Esquerda (Left)
- Direita (Right)
- Em fremte (All right)
- Marcha atras (Reverse)
- Estacionar (Parking)
By mastering his words you will understand 90% of what the instructor will tell you to do. And for the remaining 10% this will give you an additional opportunity to hone your Portuguese. You will be able to choose the date of the exam once all the lessons have been completed.
The practical test takes place in the same place as the theoretical one. You will already know the places and will be confident! There are a hundred different courses for the practical exam: a draw chooses one for you and your partner. Indeed in Portugal you are 4 people in the car on the day of the exam. The examiner, the instructor, you and another person passing it at the same time. The exam lasts 25 minutes: 20 minutes to make the journey from point A to point B, as well as 5 minutes of maneuvering (reverse direction of travel, parking reverse). The other person then takes the wheel to go from point B to point A while also doing maneuvers. You have the examiner's answer right after returning to the examination center.
That's all ? Yes: no trick questions about speed limits while driving, no test to know if you know how to change a tire or check the oil level. Bob told you, it's easier to get your driver's license in Portugal than in other countries.
If you pass the exam, congratulations! You earn the right to immediately pay € 30 fee for issuing your license that you will receive to your address within 2 months. Otherwise nothing is lost: you will have to do 8 driving lessons again (invoiced at 35 € each) and register again for the exam (90 €). So the price can go up quickly if you do not get it right the first time.