Getting a driving licence in Portugal

Many English speakers are looking on the internet for information on how to obtain a driving licence in Portugal. I think some of them already live in the country, in Lisbon or elsewhere, but others are making enquiries and are considering moving to Portugal. You are right to find out in advance, because the process of obtaining a driving licence, the difficulties of the tests, the price, the waiting times and the administrative procedures are not the same everywhere. I am going to make a point here on everything you need to know to pass your driving license in Portugal.

Getting your driver's license in portugal

Prices and deadlines for the Portuguese driving licence

To start with, and this is good news, getting a driving licence in Portugal is much cheaper than elsewhere. You will have to count on average around 400€ all inclusive:

  • Theoretical courses
  • Driving hours
  • Passing the theory exam
  • Passing the practical test
  • Possible options (Book, USB key with tests)
  • The compulsory medical certificate
  • The costs of issuing a driving licence by the ITM
  • Etc…

This is a far cry from the average prices in Europe, ranging from €600 for the lucky ones to more than €1000 for the others. It must be said that as the standard of living is not the same in Lisbon, it is normal that driving licence prices adapt to the local environment.
Then, you should know that things are also going fast in Portugal, as it will take about 4 months between registration and the driving license.

Registration for the Portuguese driving licence

No big change compared to Europe as far as the documents required for the Portuguese driving licence are concerned. You will first have to choose your car school. It is necessary to be careful on this point before committing yourself, that’s why you will find a list of the different driving schools in Lisbon at the end of this article.

The different documents you need to provide to your Portuguese driving school in order to register are the following:

Passing your driving licence in Portugal in English

portugal driving licence in english

This is a question that many people ask themselves, and it may indeed seem difficult to get a driving licence in Portugal if you do not speak the language. However, Portuguese people generally speak English very well and you will certainly be able to find someone who speaks your language for driving lessons.

This may be a relief for you but it is still not a solution that I recommend, for the simple reason that the practical and theoretical driving license exams in Portugal can only be taken in Portuguese. It will therefore be difficult for you to understand all the questions and instructions of the examiner in the car if you have done all your training in French or English.

Learning Portuguese may be complicated for some people, but the vocabulary related to driving licences and driving in Portugal is limited. I can therefore only advise you to work on this vocabulary a little before you start your lessons and carry out your training in Portuguese. You should normally have a good command of the Portuguese driving vocabulary by the time you take your exams.

Driving theory test in Portugal

No big changes either in the driving theory test itself and in comparison with Europe. You will have to attend all your lessons but you can ask directly to take the exam if you feel ready. The exam always takes place in an approved room that will change depending on the city in Portugal where you take the tests: for the city of Lisbon, the room is located at the Chelas metro station.

During your theory exam, you will have to answer 30 questions that are proposed randomly and that have been the same for a very long time. You will find below two websites to train in advance and work on your Portuguese driving vocabulary:

Of the 30 answers you will give, you must not make more than 3 mistakes, otherwise you will fail your exam and retake it. You will also find “Codigo da Estrada” books in bookshops to practice!

The Portuguese driving test

The theory test is at the same place as the driving test, so you will be confident. Don’t try to know in advance which route you will have to drive, as there are about 100 different routes: yours will be drawn by lot.

You won’t be alone in the test car because you will have with you :

  • Another person who is also taking his or her driver’s license…
  • The examiner who will evaluate you
  • The instructor with whom you took your classes

On this side, the presentation is identical to that of the passage of the driving licence in some european countries. One of the two people to take the test will make the outward journey and the other will make the return journey. It takes about half an hour with a long driving part and a shorter one for manoeuvres. Contrary to the French driving license, you will be exempted from questions about changing the wheel or the oil level of your vehicle, which will greatly simplify the test!

You will know immediately at the end of your test whether or not you have your Portuguese driver’s license. If the answer is yes, you will have to pay 30€ for the issuing fee of your driving licence, which you will receive within 15 days at your home.
If not, you will have to take eight new lessons which will be charged around 35€. The registration fee for the driving test in Portugal is 90€: an additional fee that you should avoid, so I wish you good luck!

The driving schools of Lisbon

The driving schools of Lisbon

As seen above, you will find below a list of driving schools to pass your driving license in Lisbon. It is advisable before committing yourself to contact them and find out the conditions, prices and details of what is included in the price of your “Driving Pack” :

  • Segurança Maxima
  • Neuropa
  • Grancoop
  • IDAL
  • Benficartas
  • Ouriquense

These are just a few examples of driving schools in Lisbon, there are many others but more or less serious. The first on the list is often the one mentioned in the good pupils for learning to drive in Portugal.

Essencial Portugal and your Portuguese driving licence

Essencial Portugal gives you all the information you need to help you settle and live in the country. Preparing and making a success of your expatriation cannot be improvised. In the context of the driving license, you can consult the different pages below:

quality of life lisbon

Essencial Portugal

Get in touch with trusted English-speaking professionals based in Portugal to help you with your administrative or expatriation procedures. 

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