Getting a Portuguese Driving License

Written By Lara Silva

Are you looking to get a driving license in Portugal? This guide has everything you need to know about getting a Portuguese driving license, from exams to classes. Keep in mind that you are unlikely to obtain a license in less than six months in Portugal, particularly if you need the teaching to be in English. 

Getting your driving license in Portugal can cost anywhere between 600 and 1,000 euros, depending on the driving school of your choice and how well you’re progressing. If you need extra classes or fail exams, the cost can be much higher. 

Guide to Driving in Portugal

Types of Driving Licenses in Portugal

 There are multiple types of driving licenses in Portugal. Take a look at the graph below. 

Who can get a driving License in Portugal?

General Age Requirements (A, A1, A2, and B)

While in Portugal, people under 18 cannot obtain the common B license for light vehicles, 16-year-olds can obtain the B1, AM, and A1 article. The B1 license refers to heavy quadricycles called microcars. The A1 license refers to motorcycles up to 125 cm2 and with a power rating up to 11 kw. The AM article refers to mopeds under 50 cm3.

From the age of 18, you can obtain an A2, B, and BE license. An A2 category license refers to motorcycles with a power rating up to up to 35 kw, as well as category AM and A1 vehicles. 18-year-olds can also get a B category license for light vehicles and a BE license which includes a trailer. 

A category A license can be obtained for motorcycles with a cylinder capacity up to 125 cm3 and a power rating up to 11 km if the person has had an A2 license for at least two years or are 24 years old.

Driving School in Portugal

If you are a first-time driver, to obtain a driving license in Portugal, you must attend both practical and theory lessons and pass two tests which we will discuss soon. You will do so at a certified driving school in Portugal. 

If you don’t speak Portuguese, a translator might be available to translate the test into your language.

You will need to get a medical report done before admission to a driving school which can take up to two weeks to process.

Portuguese Driving License Exams

Before taking the driving exam, you legally need at least 32 hours of driving lessons at a driving school. Before taking the driving exam, you must also have passed the theoretical exam. To take the theoretical exam, you need at least 28 theoretical classes and 16 practical classes.

However, if you feel you are ready, you can request to have the theory exam booked. At the driving school, you will be given a theory book with everything you need to know called “Codigo de Estrada.” After the lessons, you will be asked to practice for the exam online.

In the theoretical test, you will have to answer 30 multiple choice questions in 35 minutes and can only get three answers wrong (Passing mark: 27 out of 30). This exam tends to be harder than the other exams.

The practical driving exam takes 40 to 50 minutes. You won’t be alone in the car with the examiner who will evaluate you as your instructor will also be in the car, as well as another person taking the test. 

Along with proving you can drive safely, you will be asked to parallel park and circulate a sidewalk. 

After the driving test is finished, the examiner will tell you if you passed your test. If so, you will pay a small account to issue your driving license, which you will receive in less than a month. You can drive right away with a provisional license.

If you do not pass the test, you will need to repay the registration fee for the test, which is around 90 euros.

Photo by Ben Mullins (Unsplash)

Foreign Driving License in Portugal

A driving license from a non-EU country is not recognized in Portugal. You must exchange it within 185 days of obtaining your residency in Portugal.

To change your foreign driving license for a Portuguese one, instead of getting a whole new Portuguese one, the process is simple. You can submit an application online and will have to pay a small fee, less than 40 euros. 

You will need the following documents:

  • A photocopy of a personal identification document
  • Tax identification number
  • A medical certificate issued by a doctor 
  • Favorable psychological assessment certificate issued by a psychologist for Group 2 drivers
  • A declaration issued by an issuing authority or diplomatic or consular authority, attesting to the authenticity of the driving license
  • A translation of the driving license, authenticated by the consular service of Portugal 

However, exchanging some driving licenses from certain countries in Portugal obliges you to take a practical driving test. 

Driving License Validity

A driving license’s validity depends on its category. For Group 1 licenses which include categories AM, A1, A2, A, B1, B, and BE, a license is valid for 15 years until you turn 50 years old. When you turn 60, it expires every five years. When you turn 70, it expires every two years. 

For group two licenses which include categories C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, and De, they expire every five years from the age of 40 to 65. You must then revalidate the license at 68. From age 68 and up, you must revalidate it every two years.

Revalidating Driving License

You must revalidate your driving license when it expires. You can do it online at the Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT), at an IMT service desk, or citizen shop.

If you do it online, log in to IMT with your tax identification number (NIF) and your finances portal password.

If you need a psychological aptitude certificate (CAP) or medical certificate, these should also be submitted.

If you revalidate your driving license on location, you must submit your citizen card (or your NIF and identification number or residence permit), as well as the driving license that will be replaced.

It costs 27 euros to revalidate your license online until the age of 70 and less than 40 to do so online if you are over 70 years old. On location, it costs 30 euros until the age of 70 and 15 euros if you are over 70.

You need a medical certificate or psychological aptitude certificate (CAP) in the following scenarios:

    • Group 1 Light vehicles (M, A1, A2, A, B1, B, BE): From 60 years old or if your license has a 147 restriction that demands it.
    • Group 2 Heavy vehicles (C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, DE): Always

(Basic) Road Safety Rules in Portugal

Let’s go through the basic road safety rules in Portugal. The list is pretty long, but the rules are pretty much the same as in other European Union countries.

  • Cars drive on the right and can only overtake other cars on the left
  • Cars already in the roundabout have the right of way (or priority)
  • At a crossing, if there is no stop sign or traffic light, cars from the right have priority
  • You cannot cross a white line or double white lines
  • You need to stop at stop signs and red lights, even if there is no one coming
  • You can only use your phone in hands-free mode
  • Seatbelts are mandatory

Speed Limits

The speed limits in Portugal vary depending on the location, but there are three main speed limits.

  • 50 kilometers per hour in residential areas
  • 90 kilometers per hour on rural roads
  • 120 kilometers per hour on motorways

Whenever the speed limit is not one of these three, it will appear on a white and blue sign. 

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