How to get a driver's licence in Portugal

How to get a driver's licence in Portugal

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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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4 Comments To This Article

  • Roger posted:

    on 18th November 2016, 13:47:13 - Reply

    An article titled "How to get a driver's licence in Portugal" should tell us where to go to get it. What's the Portuguese equivalent of the DVLA or DMV? Have they a website showing addresses of where to go?
  • echo posted:

    on 26th July 2016, 19:07:00 - Reply

    thanks for the link..
  • John posted:

    on 22nd May 2015, 17:29:25 - Reply

    Prepare to wait for many months (been waiting for 3 months now and they told me I must wait for 6 or more months, but hopefully it will arrive sooner) in order to receive your new Portuguese driver's licence. And keep in mind that at the time of application of a Portuguese driver's license they will take away your existing driver's license from whatever country you are from. The good news is, if you want to go back to your country of origin for a driving, they can give your old DL back for the time of travel if you return the piece of paper that they gave you as a temporary driver's license. I did not know this, so I lost my US Green Card because of not knowing this, as I could not go back to USA and drive there. It was stupid of me, I know.
  • Maria posted:

    on 16th May 2015, 22:55:58 - Reply

    For those who are looking to obtain a driver's license in Portugal, you can always practice the tests online at www.testesdecodigogratis.com. They have all the questions from IMTT, identical to the exam and on top of that an instructor to clarify any questions you may have. Highly recommended! In addition, if you are not fluent in Portuguese, you can always have a translator at the time of the exam :) good luck!