Getting an Austrian driving license
Fortunately for expats to Austria, the process of exchanging your Austrian driving license is quite simple. That said, in some cases, you may need to go through the full local process of obtaining a license. The advantage of this is that you can easily drive in Austria instead of relying on public transport – it’s as good as the country has to offer.
Driving licenses in Austria
Holders of a foreign driving license can use it in Austria for up to six months. However, after this, you will need to exchange it for an Austrian driving license. Licenses from some countries can only be converted to Austrian driving license, but in other cases, you may need to sit a local driving test. Therefore, you should check which category your license falls into and make sure you are ready to get an Austrian license within six months of your arrival.
In addition, anyone with a non-EU license must have an international driving permit and a German translation provided by a translation service such as Lingoking. Anyone wishing to obtain an Austrian driving license before the age of 18 needs to obtain an L17 license. This gives them early permission to drive and undergo L17 training. With the help of this you can start driving from the age of 15 years and six months. However, you can get a license only at the age of 17. In addition, you have to pass a series of theory and practical tests.
Obtaining a driving license in Austria
In Austria, different authorities are responsible for issuing driving licenses. For example, in Vienna, the Motor Vehicle Department (Verkehrsamt) will issue your license. However, in other cities, the local federal police headquarters (Landespolizeidirektion) or the disruptive administrative authority is responsible for licensing.
A man holds his Austrian driving license and his passport
If you get a B17 license you can start taking driving lessons at the age of 15 years and six months. Once you’ve spent a certain number of hours on the road, you’ll also have to take a series of tests. First, you have to produce a certificate of good health from your doctor. Then, you’ll need to take driving theory training with your driving school and pass a computer-based theory test. After all this, you then need to sit some practical tests. In general, it takes several months to go through all the tests to get an Austrian driving license.
Driving tests in Austria
To get an Austrian driving license, you must pass both a theory test and a practical test. Your driving school will handle this.
Driving theory test in Austria
Before you can take the driving theory test in Austria, you must complete 32 hours of training. However, you can choose how you want to prepare for this. For example, most people do it twice a week for eight weeks for two hours a week. But you can also choose to do four hours per week for two weeks (intensive course) or four hours per day for eight days (express course). To help with your preparations, you can also buy a set of books and CDs from a driving school for €40.
While preparing for the theory course, or afterwards, you should also take a first-aid course which costs €55. This is a six-hour program where you will learn critical first aid techniques such as CPR. After this, you must pass all your driving tests and get your license within 18 months. Otherwise, you will have to repeat the course.
The exam is a multiple choice test and is conducted on a computer. It covers two modules with 20 questions in each module. Since it is in German, you can have a translator if you need one. You will have 30 minutes to answer all the questions. And, you must score at least 80% to pass the exam. The first theory test is free; After this, you have to pay for it.
Practical driving tests in Austria
In Austria, practical exams are taken in the morning. You must also carry your passport with you. The exam has three parts. The first is the vehicle check, where you demonstrate your ability to perform a safety check on the car, including the wheels, brakes and lighting. Second, you will start driving on a quiet street where you have to parallel park and back into the parking spot.
Thirdly, you will drive in the city center or on the autobahn. Finally, you will have the opportunity to discuss the exam with the examiner and justify any mistakes you made. In total, the practical exam takes about 45 minutes. If you pass, you’ll get a temporary driver’s license right away, and the correct license will arrive in the mail a few weeks later.
However, getting your Austrian driving license is the first step to becoming a fully fledged driver. Within four months of getting your license, you must complete a course at your driving school to improve your skills. Then, in a year, you have to do another course. Each costs between €90 and €100. Additionally, within nine months of getting your license, you must take an extreme driving course and take a psychologist’s lecture. This takes about nine hours to complete.
Driving lessons in Austria
Before you can take the practical driving tests for your Austrian driving license, you need to have a certain number of training hours. How many hours you need depends on which category of license you are getting. For example, an A-category license requires 12 hours, while a B-category license requires 13 hours.
At least the first six hours of your training must be with a registered instructor. After all this, you can start honing your skills by driving with a licensed driver. During this pre-exam preparation, you’ll learn everything from traffic assessment and lane changes to intersections, economical driving and how to navigate autobahns. In Austria, driving lessons usually cost around €65 each.
Driving schools in Austria
Below is a list of popular driving schools throughout Austria that offer a variety of driving courses with varying costs:
- Fahrschule Karlsplatz
- Fahrschule Vienna
- Nova Driving School Vienna
- Fahrschule Non Stop
- Anees Driving School
- Fahrschule Preuner
- Easy Drivers Fahrschule Innsbruck
Driving with a foreign driving license in Austria
If you have a foreign Austrian driving license, you can use it in Austria for up to six months. That said, it should be accompanied by an international driving permit. And, if the license is not in German, you must also have an official translation. After three months, you must obtain an Austrian driving license.
Exchange of foreign driver’s license in Austria
When you are ready to get an Austrian driving license, you can simply exchange your foreign one. In general, this is a simple process. You will need to take some documents to the appropriate licensing office such as your passport, foreign license and photo. You will also need to show a valid medical report of good health and your Austrian driving license residence registration form (Bestätigung der Meldung). Conversion to an Austrian driving license costs €60.50, but if you need it urgently, you will have to pay an additional €18.94. In some cases, you may also need to take a driving test.
However, the above generally only applies if you have a foreign license from a non-EU or non-EEA country. If your license is from an EU or EEA country, you are allowed to drive with it in Austria for five years. That said, you will still need to register with the local authorities as they will need to do a background check.
Driving license renewal in Austria
An Austrian driving license is valid for 15 years. So, you will not need to renew it frequently. Generally, you will be notified about three months before your license is due for renewal. Then, you can quickly and easily renew your license in person or online. You may just need to submit new details and photos. However, if your license has expired, you will need to retake all tests to obtain a new license.
In Austria, there is no upper age limit for renewing a license. However, you may be required to produce a certificate of good health to maintain your license.