Even though there is public transport in most of the country, a driver’s license is still essential. But obtaining a driver’s license can be a lengthy process. You need to take at least 28 driving lessons, plus 32 classes and sit two different tests, the highway code test and the driving test.
Any citizen is entitled to get a driving license, provided he or she fulfils the legal requirements: minimum age (see table below), physical and mental capacity and residence in Portugal. The Portuguese Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (IMT) is the competent authority for issuing driver’s licenses.
Do you have an EU driver’s license?
European Union and European Economic Area (28 EU States + Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) driver’s licenses are valid in Portugal until they expire. If you possess one, exchanging them is optional.
If you move to Portugal you must inform the regional or district Service of the IMT of your area of residence. Failure to do so within 60 days could be considered an infraction. This information can be relayed in person, with the following documents:
- Model 13 IMT form;
- Photocopy of your driver’s license, the original of which must be shown;
- A valid form of ID and proof of residence permit in Portugal.
If you have a lifelong driver’s license, after informing the IMT of the fact that you are living in Portugal, the document you will be given – the National Residence Registry for Drivers with an EU license – is valid for two years. At the end of this period you must exchange it for a Portuguese driver’s license.
Necessary documents and requirements for exchanging your license
If you plan to exchange your driver’s license for a Portuguese one, you must fulfil the following requirements:
- Be of the minimum age required by Portuguese law for the category of your license;
- If necessary, provide proof of physical, mental and psychological fitness;
- Provide proof or residence in Portugal;
- Proof that you are not subject to a driving prohibition, or to any security measures limiting the issuing of a driver’s license.
In order to exchange your driver’s license for a Portuguese one, you must personally present several documents:
- Your original, valid and definitive driver’s license;
- ID and proof of residence in Portuguese territory;
- A document bearing your tax number;
- A certificate, from any practicing doctor, for all-category drivers.
Your new driver’s license will be mailed to the Portuguese address you indicated when you put in your replacement request.
How much does the exchange cost?
Exchanging your European Union/European Economic Area driver’s license costs 30€.
Guide for obtaining a Portuguese driver’s license
A driver’s license certifies only that someone possesses the ability to drive the vehicle they intend to drive. Each category of vehicle is subject to distinct rules.
These are the most important categories in Portugal, with the respective minimum age.
|AM||Mopeds and motorcycles with under 50 cm³ of engine capacity||16|
|A1||Motorcycles up to 11kW power with an engine capacity between 50 cm³ and 125 cm³ and AM category||16|
|A2||Motorcycles up to 35 kW power, and AM and A1 categories||18|
|A||Motorcycles with over 35 kW power and AM, A1 and A2 categories.||24 or two years of A2 driver’s license|
|B1||Heavy Quadricycles (microcar)||16|
|B||Licht vehicles; A1 category vehicles for people over 25 or who also have a motorcycle driver’s license||18|
|BE||Light vehicles with a trailer||18|
How to pick a driving school
Picking a high quality driving school is important. Make sure the school is insured and pay attention to the following details:
- price range;
- minimum number of classes;
- available timetables;
- flexibility for changing classes and possible consequences;
- criteria for passing the driving test.
How much can a Portuguese driver’s license cost?
The cost of training to obtain your driver’s license varies among different driving schools and according to the category of vehicle you are aiming for. We advise you to compare different options and to pick the one with the best quality/price relationship.