Getting a Portuguese Driving Licence

The information you need on how to apply for a Portuguese driving licence...

The Portuguese term for driving licence is Carta de Condução.

If a driver in Portugal has a foreign driving licence that cannot be exchanged for a Portuguese one they will need to take the full theory, practical (and for some categories of licence, oral) examination in Portuguese. This also applies to anyone getting a licence for the first time.

The information below is a basic guide to the process involved in applying for and taking a Portuguese driving test. The Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (IMT) (IMT) is responsible for issuing licenses. For detailed and specific information, enquire at a driving school or the local office of IMTT.

Driving Licences in Portugal

A standard Portuguese Class B (passenger car) driving licence is valid until the driver is 50 years old, after which it must be renewed on a regular basis. From age 70, a driver is obliged to take a "revalidation" test.

On 2 January 2013, the IMTT introduced a new system of licence renewal, which only applies to drivers who received their licence for the first time after that date. AM, A1, A2, A, B1, B and BE licences are renewed when the holder is aged 30, 40, 50, 60, 65 and 70, and every two years after that.  If the driver acquired their licence between the ages of 25 and 30, their first revalidation is at the age of 40.

Categories of licence

  • Class AM: required to drive a moped of up to 50cc and a maximum speed of 45 Km/h, or a mini-car with under 1Kw power
  • Class A: required to drive a motorcycle over 50cc with or without a sidecar
  • Class A1: required to drive a motorcycle up to 125cc and power up to 11 KW
  • Class B1: required to drive a vehicle (tricycle and quadricycle) with an engine size of 50cc and less
  • Class B: required to drive a vehicle with a maximum weight of 3.5 tons, and seating no more than nine passengers, including the driver. This includes standard passenger cars, people carriers and microbuses.

A Class B licence holder may:

  • Tow a trailer with a maximum weight of 750 Kg
  • Drive tricycles and heavy power-driven quadricycles
  • Drive a motorcycle of up to 125cc if they have had their B licence for a minimum of two years

The Car Club of Portugal website (Automóvel Club de Portugal) has information on vehicle types, driver age limits and licence classification (in Portuguese).

Applying for a Licence

Basic driving practice can begin at 16 years of age (or 14 years of age for category AM) if certain criteria are met. These are:

  • Written consent from parent or guardian
  • Must not have a police prohibition order (resulting from joyriding or illegal driving)
  • Must have the necessary physical, mental and psychological aptitude
  • Must have residency in Portugal for at least 185 days of the year
  • Must be able to read and write
  • Must be enrolled at a government-licensed driving centre

The learner's licence

The learner driver registers with the local IMT office and a driving school, as described above for a Learner's Driver's Licence (Licença de Aprendizagem).

The driving school requires the following documents:

  • Passport (Passaporte) or Identity Card (Bilhete de Identidade)
  • Residency Permit (Cartão de Residência)
  • A completed application form
  • Electronic medical certificate issued by the doctor who emails it to the IMT
  • Psychological assessment certificate  

Complete the document supplied and stamped by the school and signed by its director. The school supplies all necessary handbooks (Guias), highway codes (Código de Estrada) and other information.

Once signed up with a registered driving school an "evaluation of knowledge" test must be taken. If successful, the learner driver must have a minimum of 32 hours of driving practice with a school before taking a general theory test. Once passed, the theory test is valid for one year. 

An unlicensed trainee driver (one with Licença de Aprendizagem) may not drive without a driving instructor, may not drive outside of Portugal and is restricted to a speed limit of 90 Km/h on motorways. Only the driving schools' vehicles may be used.