How to get a driver's licence in Portugal
If you're living in Portugal as a resident, you may need to exchange your driving licence for a Portuguese driver's licence.
Car rental in Portugal may be an option for short-term stays but should you settle long-term, you need to ensure that your driving license is valid for an extended period of time. Our guide points you in the right direction to getting a driver's licence in Portugal.
Driving in Portugal
As a temporary visitor in Portugal (up to six months) you may drive using your current international license or pink EU licence.
Exchaning your driver's licence in Portugal
Once you have become a resident in Portugal, you must obtain a Portuguese licence or use your EU driving licence until it expires. Holders of Australian and US driving licences are also able to drive in Portugal for up to six months without an international driving licence. Should you hold a driving licence and wish to drive beyond the six month period, you are required to exchange your licences for a Portuguese one. Otherwise, you can expect heavy penalties.
To validate your current licence, categories A, B and B + E, you will need: your current driving license; a recent passport photograph; a photocopy of your identity card; a photocopy of your Taxpayer Card and a medical certificate issued by a doctor.
Portuguese law compels drivers at the age of 50, 60, 65 and 70 (from all categories) to undergo regular medical and psychological examinations when revalidating their driving licences.
In order to apply for a driving licence for the first time, you should be at least 16 years of age. If you are not an adult, you will need written consent from a parent or guardian. A police check will be conducted to verify that you do not have a police prohibition order of any kind. You will also have to pass a physical, mental and psychological examination. Finally, you need to prove that you have been a resident of Portugal for at least 185 days in the last year. Before you enrol with a driving school, make sure it is a government-licensed driving centre.
Prior to taking the driving exam, you need to have taken a minimum of 32 hours of driving lessons, and passed the theoretical part of the test. Choose from a list of certified driving schools across Portugal.
Once you have completed your course with a driving school, you can apply for a registration form for a driving licence. This must be completed and submitted to the IMTT (Institute for Mobility and Land Transport).
In Portugal, driving exams consist of three parts: theoretical, technical and practical. For the theoretical part, you will need to answer 30 questions in 35 minutes, and you have to answer at least 27 of them correctly. This is followed by a technical exam which lasts about 50 minutes. The practical driving test lasts around 40–50 minutes, with both an instructor and an examiner present in the car.
For non-Portuguese citizens who do not speak the language well, your Embassy or Consulate may accredit an interpreter to be present the exam. You should bring the following documents with you for the exam: passport or ID card, residency card, instruction manual. Should you fail your exam, you will need to book a new driving test at the same test centre via the driving school.
Speed limits and fines in Portugal
Built-up (urban) areas: 50 km/h = 30 mph
Other (rural) roads: 90 km/h = 54 mph
Motorways: 120 km/h = 72 mph (minimum 50 km/h = 30 mph)
Inside Urban area – excess of less than 20 kilometres (kms) = Fine up to EUR 300.00
Inside Urban area – excess of 20 to 40 kms = Fine up to EUR 600.00
Inside Urban area – excess of 40 to 60 kms = Fine up to EUR 1,500.00
Inside Urban area – excess of 60 kms = Fine up to EUR 2,500.00
Rural roads – excess of less 30 kms = Fine up to EUR 300.00
Rural roads – excess of 30 to 60 kms = Fine up to EUR 600.00
Rural roads – excess of 60 to 80 kms = Fine up to EUR 1,500.00
Rural roads – excess of 80 kms = Fine up to EUR 2,500.0
Keep in mind that 'On the Spot' traffic fines are now applied. Police may demand immediate payment either in cash or by credit card.
Teodora Bojidarova Todorova / Expatica
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