How to get a Portuguese driving license as a foreigner (2023)

Find out how to get hold of a Portuguese driving license as a foreigner – and whether you need one – by reading our guide.

You don’t typically need a Portuguese driving license as a temporary visitor in Portugal (up to six months). It’s generally possible to drive using your international license or EU license during this period.

If you relocate to Portugal, however, requirements change once you get a Portuguese residence permit. After this, certain nationalities have a timeframe in which they must apply for a Portuguese driving license. Other nationalities, such as EU citizens, can continue to drive without a Portuguese driver’s license but must register with Portugal’s traffic authority.

This guide explains if you need a driving license in Portugal, who can arrange a Portuguese driving license exchange and who will need to take the driver license test in Portuguese. There’s also some information on the general road rules in Portugal and the process of importing a car to Portugal.

Who needs a Portuguese driving license?

You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age to drive a car in Portugal. As a temporary visitor, you’re allowed to use a valid international license for up to six months. If you use your license after this date without getting a Portuguese driving license, you could face heavy fines. When driving as a visitor, it’s worth getting an International Driving Permit, even though it isn’t necessary in all cases.

If you relocate to Portugal and become a permanent resident, however, the conditions change. EU/EEA licenses are valid until they expire. If you have a non-EU license, you may be mandated to get a Portuguese driving license.


(Video) How to exchange a foreign driving license in Portugal, online

Portugal driving license exchange: for EU licenses

If you move to Portugal and want to continue using your international driving permit, inform the Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT, Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes) within 30 days of obtaining your residence certificate. You can also continue using your EU driving license until it expires. Failure to let the IMT know you’ll be using your old license can result in significant fines.

However, it can still be worthwhile to arrange a Portugal driving license exchange for your EU license. This is largely because if your license is damaged, stolen or lost, it can only be replaced by the organization that issued it. This may cause problems in some cases, for example, if you have a UK license the DVLA doesn’t renew or replace licenses abroad.

When registering for a Portuguese driving license exchange, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of residency
  • A completed IMT Modelo 13 application form
  • A photocopy of your current driving license
  • Proof of identity

You will typically pay a fee and may need to provide a medical report if requested.

Even if you hold an EU driving license that remains valid for an unlimited period, you still must renew your license for a Portuguese one, two years after changing your official place of residence.


Portuguese driver’s licenses: for non-EU citizens

Non-EU license holders are allowed to drive in Portugal using their foreign license for a fixed period. How long you’ll be allowed to use your existing license depends on where you’re from.


Typically, if your country is part of the Road Traffic International Agreements, you must exchange your non-EU driving license within 185 days after obtaining residence in Portugal. If you’re an Australian, Canadian, South African or US citizen, for example, you can use your license for six months before you must exchange it for a Portuguese driving license.

When exchanging a US license for a driving license in Portugal, American citizens need to apply for an abstract of their driving record from their last state of residence and a physician’s certificate to prove they are fit to drive.

As Australian licenses don’t have a valid from date printed on them, citizens may need to get a document from the Australian authorities to confirm their license start date.

If you have previously exchanged your foreign license in another country, you are free to use your EU license.

You can find out how exchanging a license works for citizens from your country on the IMT website.

Driving license test in Portugal

When your foreign license expires, or if you’ve never had one at all, you’ll need to pass a Portuguese driving test. The driving test in Portugal consists of three parts – technical, theoretical and practical:

  • Theoretical – 30 questions in 35 minutes (Passing mark: 27 out of 30)
  • Technical exam – 50 minutes
  • Practical driving exam – 40-50 minutes with instructor and examiner present.

Prior to taking the driving exam, you’ll need to take at least 32 hours of lessons at a driving school. You must have passed the theoretical part of the test. Before you enrol with a driving school, make sure it is a government-licensed driving centre. 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 license and the practical driving exam.

(Video) Portuguese driving theory practice exam in Bomcondutor/Bomcondutor मा पोर्तुगाली ड्राइभिंग अभ्यास ।

If you don’t speak Portuguese, your Embassy may accredit an interpreter, who will be allowed to attend your exam and translate the driver license test in Portuguese.

Older drivers in Portugal need to undergo medical and psychological examinations when renewing the validity of their Portuguese driving license at ages 50, 60, 65 and 70, and drivers older than 70 must take a revalidation test.


Replacing a Portuguese driver’s license

If you lose or damage your Portuguese driving license or need to change your personal details, you can apply for a replacement by providing the following documents:

  • An IMT form
  • A photocopy of your passport or ID card
  • Two colour photographs.


Portugal driving authority

IMT – Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes
Av. das Forças Armadas 40, 1649-022 Lisbon
T: + 351 217 949 000 | E: [emailprotected] | W:

(Video) Portugal Driving License Exchange Complete Process

Driving in Portugal

General road rules in Portugal

  • The driver and all passengers must wear seatbelts.
  • You must carry both parts of your foreign driving license or driving license in Portugal.
  • You’ll also need your vehicle registration document, MOT and a certificate of car insurance.
  • It can be helpful to carry your passport in case you are randomly stopped.
  • You should carry a warning triangle and a reflective vest.
  • You should give priority to traffic from the right.
  • You’re not allowed to use green lanes on motorways unless you have an electronic toll collection device.
  • It’s illegal to carry a can of petrol in your car.

When a car flashes its headlights, it means they want the right of way. This is the opposite of how this works in some other European countries.

Speed limits in Portugal

An on-the-spot traffic fine can apply, where police may demand immediate payment either in cash or by credit card. Fines range from around €300 up to €2,500, depending on the excess over the speed limit and the zone, with higher fines imposed in urban areas.

  • Urban areas – 50 km/h
  • Rural roads – 90 km/h
  • Motorways – 120 km/h; minimum 50 km/h

Road signs and signals in Portugal

  • Warning signs are red triangles with illustrations in the center for sharp turns, narrow roads, and animal crossings.
  • An exclamation point means the danger is unspecified and you should pay extra attention.
  • Mandatory signs are blue and circular, while informational signs are usually rectangular.
  • A round white or blue sign with a red circle and diagonal cross means you’re not allowed to park.

You can find a list of Portuguese road signshere.

Drunk driving in Portugal

Drunk driving in Portugal results in significant fines. The drunk driving limit is 0.49g/L. If you are above the limit you can receive a fine of €1,250 and have your Portuguese driving license or international driving permit suspended for up to a year. People significantly over the limit could face double the fine and anything from a long driving ban to a year in prison.

Importing a car to Portugal

Importing a car to Portugal from your home country, registering and driving it can be a complicated process depending on where you’re bringing your car from. Whether you’ll need to pay import duty on your vehicle depends on a variety of factors, so it’s best to check the Portal das Financas website, where you can get an estimate of how much import tax you might need to pay. You will alsoneed to ensure your vehicle conforms to Portuguese road standards.

Once you’ve received your residency card, you will needto register your foreign car in Portugal. When you come to register your car, you’ll need to provide a tax clearance certificate issued by customs, your original receipt of purchase, a copy of your foreign registration certificate and a certificate of roadworthiness (IPO), which will be issued by an IMT-approved service centre.

If you’re importing a car to Portugal, there are a few rules:

  • You must carry a warning triangle in your car in case you break down.
  • If your car doesn’t have Euro plates, attach a sticker to the back of it denoting the country it’s from.
  • Carry a valid motor insurance certificate, registration document, and your MOT certificate if you’re driving a car that’s over three years old.

In addition to paying your annual road tax fee and ensuring your vehicle is insured, you’ll also need to have an IPO test done periodically to ensure your vehicle is up to scratch. If your vehicle is more than four years old, you’ll need to have this test done every two years up to the age of seven, and then annually thereafter.

(Video) Change driving licence in Portugal without having residence card #portugal #drivinglicense

When your vehicle passes the test, you get a report (Vinheta Verde) and a certificate with a badge; make sure you display the badge in your windscreen. If, however, your vehicle fails, you have 30 days to perform repairs before re-entering the vehicle for inspection.


Which country has the hardest drivers test? ›

The most difficult tests to pass

In China, the theory test contains 100 questions and requires you to memorise 1,000 in total. There are then two separate practical assessments, followed by a final theory test. New drivers in Croatia must attend 70-100 hours of mandatory driving school before attempting their test.

Can I give driving test in English in Portugal? ›

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.

Which country has the easiest driving test? ›

The Easiest Countries to Learn to Drive
  • 1: Croatia – Learn to Drive Score, 1.96/10. ...
  • 2: Brazil – Learn to Drive Score, 3.21/10. ...
  • 3: Hungary – Learn to Drive Score, 3.59/10. ...
  • 4: Bahrain – Learn to Drive Score, 3.62/10. ...
  • 5: Montenegro – Learn to Drive Score, 3.79/10. ...
  • Cheapest Countries. ...
  • Most Expensive Countries.
2 Jun 2022

Which European country has the easiest driving test? ›

According to expert opinion, there are many countries across the European Union where passing your test is not difficult, including Greece, Moldova and Belarus. Looking further afield, it is also apparently very easy to pass your driving test in Pakistan, India, Mexico, Honduras and Egypt.

Which country has safest drivers? ›

According to World Health Organization's figures, this is the list of the world's safest countries to drive.
The world's safest countries to drive
  • San Marino - 0 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Micronesia - 1.8.
  • Maldives - 1.9.
  • Norway - 2.9.
  • Sweden - 3.
  • Denmark - 3.
  • Palestinian territories - 3.2.
  • Israel - 3.3.

Which country driving Licence is powerful? ›

“Croatia is the toughest country to get behind the wheel due to their expensive and stringent driving tests that require a minimum amount of learning and monitoring to pass.
10 easiest countries to get your driver's license.
4United States
5 more rows
29 Sept 2021

How many driving lessons do you need in Portugal? ›

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.

How much do driving lessons cost in Portugal? ›

You will have to count on average around 400€ all inclusive: Theoretical courses. Driving hours. Passing the theory exam.

Can I take a driving test in Portugal? ›

Exams are taken at an IMT approved Driving Exam Centre (Centro de Exames de Condução) There are approximately 33 centres nationwide. The exam must be taken in the local area IMT area of registration. Take the following documents to the test: Passport.

Is driving test difficult? ›

When you look at it, a driving license test isn't difficult to pass. It's the smaller details and the fundamentals that are going to decide your driving license's fate at the RTO.

How much should you study for driving theory test? ›

In our professional view, we would highly recommend booking your theory test at least a month in advance, and spending around between 12 and 24 hours revising for your theory test within that time period.

How do you know when your ready for your driving test? ›

5 Signs to Show You're Ready to Take Your Driving Test
  • Your instructor thinks you're ready. Well, duh! ...
  • Your mock test was a dream. DGN Driving School. ...
  • You feel calm and confident. Confidence in your driving ability is great. ...
  • You can cope with the unfamiliar. ...
  • Do a little self-assessment.
3 Jun 2019

What is the hardest driver's license to get? ›

The Hardest Driving Test

The most difficult driving test has to go to the tiny European country of Finland, where it takes 3 years to get a full license. Getting the initial license requires a minimum of 37 hours of driving, a computerized test, and a city traffic test.

What state has hardest driving test? ›

SEATTLE -- Seattle may have had a recent reputation of having among the worst drivers in the nation, but it turns out this state is among the toughest to get a driver's license. In fact, a study by Siegfried & Jensen shows Washington is the hardest state in the nation to get a driver's license.

How do you get an EU driving licence? ›

To get an EU driving licence

be usually resident in the EU country where you are applying. meet the minimum age requirements. meet the minimum medical requirements. pass a driving test.

Which country has the deadliest roads? ›

Ten most dangerous countries to drive in
CountryEstimated road traffic death rate
1South Africa22.2
6 more rows
15 May 2022

Which European country has the most car accidents? ›

In 2020, 85 persons per million inhabitants were killed in road accidents in Romania, the highest in the EU.

Which country has less accidents? ›

The safest roads in the world can be found in Norway. Scoring an impressive 8.21 out of 10, the research found Norway the safest country to drive in.

Which country driving licence is international? ›

However it does recognises 1949 International Driving Permits. is not party to the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic, but recognizes 1949 International Driving Permits.
List Of Countries Recognising International Driving Permit.
AfghanistanCuracao (Netherlands Antilles)Ireland
52 more rows

Is UK driving licence hard? ›

The UK's driving test is among the most challenging in the world, with the current average pass rate standing at just 45.8%.

Which countries require international driving permit? ›

Countries that Require Americans to Obtain an IDP to Drive Overseas. International Driving Permits are Required* in the following countries for US Licensed Drivers: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, and Thailand.

What is Category A on a driving licence in Portugal? ›

Guide for obtaining a Portuguese driver's license
A1Motorcycles up to 11kW power with an engine capacity between 50 cm³ and 125 cm³ and AM category
A2Motorcycles up to 35 kW power, and AM and A1 categories
AMotorcycles with over 35 kW power and AM, A1 and A2 categories.
B1Heavy Quadricycles (microcar)
3 more rows

How long is a Portuguese driving license valid? ›

How long is a Portuguese driving licence valid for? A Portuguese driving licence is valid for 10 years until you reach age 60. After that, each licence is valid for five years until you reach age 70.

How long does a Portuguese driving licence last? ›

For the first time, on the date indicated on the driving license. Then, every 5 years, until you turn 70. From age 70 and up, you must revalidate the license every 2 years. From age 70 and up, you must revalidate the license every 2 years.

What happens if you drive without a license in Portugal? ›

Driving without a license in Portugal

Driving without a valid license is punishable by a fine. The amount will depend on the circumstances. If you have a driver's license but do not have it on your person and you are stopped while driving, you will receive a fine between €60 and €300.

Which countries driving license can be exchanged in Portugal? ›

What should I do to drive in the country? Driving licenses issued in EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), are valid in Portugal, and its exchange is voluntary.

What documents do I need to drive in Portugal? ›

Documents you need for driving in Portugal

If you have a photocard licence, you won't need an international driving permit (IDP). But you might if you only have an old-style paper licence. ID such as your passport. Evidence that you have valid car insurance for your trip.

Is it hard to drive in Portugal? ›

Driving in Portugal is generally easy. There are a lot of recent roads and they are mostly well maintained. Some villages on hills will have very narrow roads, so park outside and explore on foot. The most tension I felt was in the Algarve, because this is the place with the most tourists.

How do I get a driving licence in Portugal? ›

A driving licence must be obtained from a driving school. To do so, you need to attend lessons and sit the necessary highway code and driving tests for the category of licence you choose. Once you have attended the preparatory lessons, the driving school will enrol you in the necessary tests to obtain a licence.

Is Portugal a low income country? ›

In 2021, Portugal was among the European Union countries with the worst incomes. This was confirmed by the estimate of the 'per capita' Gross Domestic Product (GDPpc) released by Eurostat.

How do I pass my driving test first time? ›

How to pass your driving test first time
  1. How to pass your driving test first time. ...
  2. Practice makes perfect. ...
  3. Get to know the test route area. ...
  4. Memorise your 'show me, tell me' questions. ...
  5. Don't rush. ...
  6. Remember your checks. ...
  7. Make sure you take everything you need. ...
  8. Be on time.
28 Jun 2022

How long should I revise for driving theory test? ›

You should complete at least 20 hours of revision to make sure you are fully prepared for your theory test.

Can you pass theory test without revising? ›

It's still passable without much revision, but you can't expect to pass it solely on common sense questions. The boundary is 86% and I found that the common sense questions weren't enough by themselves to help me pass that mark. I ended up getting 50/50 on the theory questions and 59/75 on hazard perception.

How long does it take to pass a theory test? ›

Okay, so we've already established that you will need around 10 to 20 hours of revision for the theory test. You'll have to decide on the exact number yourself—looking at how much time you have on your hands and how well you retain information.

What is the best time of day to take driving test? ›

Mid-morning driving tests

Between 9am and 11am is generally a decent time to take a driving test because it's outside of rush hour and avoids the traffic increase in the run-up to lunchtime.

How can I impress my driving instructor? ›

To summarise:

Be confident but err on the side of caution. Don't let other road users influence you. Stick to what you know. Bring your instructor with you.

How do you pass a test? ›

10 Steps To Ace Your Next Test
  1. Get informed. Don't walk into your test unprepared for what you will face. ...
  2. Think like your teacher. ...
  3. Make your own study aids. ...
  4. Practice for the inevitable. ...
  5. Study every day. ...
  6. Cut out the distractions. ...
  7. Divide big concepts from smaller details. ...
  8. Don't neglect the “easy” stuff.

Which country is hardest to drive? ›

As for the best countries, in first place there is the United States (overall score 7.17), followed by Italy (6.38) and Spain (6.34). The United States is the highest-scoring nation when it comes to interest in road trips.
Cookie NameSERVERID33516
2 more rows
24 Feb 2022

What is the hardest driving test in the US? ›

WALTHAM (CBS) - Passing your driving test in Massachusetts is no easy accomplishment. A new study by Siegfried & Jensen, a personal injury law firm in Utah, found Massachusetts has the second hardest exam to pass in the country.

Is Dubai driving test hard? ›

As simple as that question sounds, it is quite common considering the Dubai driving test is arguably one of the toughest driving tests in the world. In fact, most candidates pass the Dubai driving test after trying and failing multiple times, so much that they think there is a conspiracy.

Is UK license hard to get? ›

The UK's driving test is among the most challenging in the world, with the current average pass rate standing at just 45.8%.

Which country has less accidents? ›

The safest roads in the world can be found in Norway. Scoring an impressive 8.21 out of 10, the research found Norway the safest country to drive in.

Which country has the deadliest roads? ›

Ten most dangerous countries to drive in
CountryEstimated road traffic death rate
1South Africa22.2
6 more rows
15 May 2022

Which country has the least accidents? ›

Lowest Rates of Roadside Deaths Worldwide
RankCountryRoad traffic death rate (per 100 000 population) in 2013
21 more rows
29 May 2018

How many people fail their driving test? ›

If you feel anxious before a test, you certainly aren't alone! Maybe that's why around 50% of people fail their driving test the first time. Moreover, up to 40% of people fail their written test the first time they attempt it.

What state is easiest to get license? ›

1. Delaware. In this tiny state with less than a million people, an impressive 83% of adults have passed their written exam and taken to the roads.

How do you know when your ready for your driving test? ›

5 Signs to Show You're Ready to Take Your Driving Test
  • Your instructor thinks you're ready. Well, duh! ...
  • Your mock test was a dream. DGN Driving School. ...
  • You feel calm and confident. Confidence in your driving ability is great. ...
  • You can cope with the unfamiliar. ...
  • Do a little self-assessment.
3 Jun 2019

How do I pass my driving test first try? ›

1. Be on time
  1. Have a lesson beforehand. ...
  2. Check you have everything you need. ...
  3. Use your instructor's car. ...
  4. Take your instructor along for reassurance. ...
  5. Ask your examiner to repeat, if you need. ...
  6. Don't assume you've failed. ...
  7. Choose where you want to take your test. ...
  8. Get to know your test routes.
21 Jan 2021

How can I pass my road assessment test? ›

How to pass RTA road test |10 Tips to pass final road test - YouTube

What is the 6 point check driving? ›

This routine involves the driver checking 6 points in and around the car to spot any potential Hazards. 1) Left Blind Spot. 2) Left Wing Mirror. 3) Centre Mirror / Rear View Mirror. 4) Out the Car's Front.

How many people fail their driving test first time? ›

Males are 50% likely to pass their practical, whereas females are more likely to fail with a pass rate of only 43%. In 2020, the average pass rate for both genders was 52%.

What percentage of drivers pass test first time? ›

When it comes to pass rates, we've noticed a significant variation between males and females, with males having a 53.4 per cent average between April 2020 to March 2021 per-attempt pass rate compared to 48.6 per cent for females.

What do driving examiners look for? ›

The examiner will look to see that you: Make good observations, in all directions, before emerging. Assess the speed of other vehicles accurately. Take advantage of safe gaps as they arise.
  • judge what other road users are going to do.
  • predict how their actions will affect you.
  • react in good time.


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