At some point, most people decide to get a driver’s license which is a big step in direction of the adult world and more freedom and convenience. Although public transportation in Vienna is perfect it is still more comfortable to increase personal mobility and to drive a car. This article is answering the most important questions about getting a driver’s license in Austria: Which requirements have to be met? How much time does it take to finish a driver’s education and to pass the test? How much does it cost to obtain a driver’s license B in Austria?
To get a driving license in Austria you will need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Reaching a minimum age
- A medical certificate
- Completed first aid course.
- Passed theoretical and practical driving test: The total costs for obtaining a driver’s license are between 1200 and 2100 EUR, depending on the federal province. The costs for a driver’s license are the lowest in Vienna and the highest in Voralberg.
The minimum age requirement to get a conventional B driving license in Austria is 18 years. L-17 is a special type of driving’s license, also known as “class B early driving license” for young people and it can be obtained with 17 years but in this case, the family member or friend who has a driving’s license for at least 7 years has to accompany you as a supervisor every time you are driving.
In case you already possess a driving license from one of the EU countries then you are good to go because your license is fully valid in Austria.
What is the education for a driving license in Austria and how long does it take?
The first step is to register within a driving school. Here you can find the list of all driving schools in Austria. There are around 400 driving schools in Austria and you are free to choose any of these and your choice doesn’t depend on the place of registration. The theoretical part comprises 20 teaching units general about driving and 12 teaching units that are driving class-specific. This is in total 32 hours of theoretical basis. You can choose on your own which the intensity of the course works the best for you. An express course could be completed within only 8 days which means 4 hours per day. Regardless of which intensity option you opt you have to complete in total 32 hours in this theoretical part. At your driving school, you can buy a book (including CD) that contains all theory and exercises for your theoretical exam preparation.
The theoretical exam takes place within the driving school and it is done on the PC in separate booths. The candidate has to answer questions of the basic module and of the selected driving category which is B in this case. This is a multiple-choice test that contains 40 questions in total and the candidate has to answer 80% of these questions correctly to pass the exam successfully. This means that 33 points have to be scored to get a B license (and just 28 for an A license). Only the first exam attempt is free of charge and for every resit of the exam, the candidate has to pay exam fees.
The practical part (driver training)
Passing a theoretical exam is a precondition to take a practical driving test. The driving exam must be sat within 18 months following the end of the theoretical formation. It lasts 25 minutes and can be re-sat after 14 days if failed. After a candidate completes the theoretical test the next step is driving training which comprises the following three parts: preparatory phase and basic driving, the main part of the training and improving driving skills.
For B category driving training takes in total 13 hours. The first stage of training, the so-called preparatory phase, and basic training take place on the training site with minimum car flow, and as the name is suggesting the candidate is getting familiar with the vehicle and basics of driving.
The second part of training called main driving training includes the following:
– “commented driving;
– assessment of the traffic, pre-emptive driving style;
– lane change;
– going into a fast car flow;
– negotiating intersections;
– driving in a traffic flow;
– driving in two-way traffic;
– driving on dangerous sections;
– economical driving;
– driving in a fast traffic flow;
– training of the seconds counting method – determination of the corrected speed with different visibility using the seconds counting method;
– overtaking”. (Source: Idaoffice.org)
The final part of practical training is called improving driving skills and in this part which takes at least 6 hours candidate is working on the following skills:
- 1 hour driving on the highway
- 2 hours honing driving skills
- 1 hour of driving on a back road
- 1 hour driving at night
- 1 hour of exam simulation.
Once all three parts of the driving training are completed the candidate can take the driving test.
The practical driving test has three parts:
- Vehicle safety checks (checking wheels, braking system, accumulator, etc.)
- Exercise on autodrome or quit street: parallel parking and backing into a perpendicular park
- Driving in a city or highway for at least 25 minutes.
At the end of the exam, the candidate is discussing the test with the examiner. Topics of this discussion are related to the mistake which the candidate did or justifying his driving behavior regarding the choice of speed, overtaking, driving style, etc. If the exam has been completed the candidate is getting a temporary driving license.
“Further, in 2-4 months, it is necessary to complete a course of honing your driving skills (the first) in a driving school, and after 6-12 months one more course (the second).
Between these courses, in 3-9 months after getting a driver’s license, it is necessary to undergo an extreme driving course with a subsequent psychologist’s lecture. On a specially equipped autodrome, participants will be able to practice emergency braking with ABS, emergency maneuvering, and car stabilization in case of skidding, and emergency passing obstacles. It will be necessary to come to the place of study in your car, or in the rented car of driving school).
The course of extreme driving (officially takes eight and a half hours) includes:
– 50 minutes of theory;
– 5 hours of practical training with a lunch break;
– one-hour-and-a-half lecture on road traffic with a psychologist.”
The addresses were to carry out these training can be found here.
Upon success at both exams follows a probational period where no important infractions are tolerated and where the alcohol limit in the blood is set to 0.1 milligrams of alcohol per milliliter of blood (instead of the 0.5 one when off the probational period)”. (Source: Idaoffice.org)
How much does it cost to get a driving’s license in Austria?
The financial aspect of getting the driving license has to be taken into account because the costs which you or your parents will have to pay are not insignificant. How much you will pay to obtain your driving license depends on the class of your vehicle and the driving school which you are attending. When it comes to the practical part one driving an hour with instructor costs between 50 and 70 EUR. The total costs for obtaining a driver’s license are between 1200 and 2100 EUR in Austria, depending on the federal province. The costs for a driver’s license are the lowest in Vienna and the highest in Voralberg. It makes sense to contact several driving schools from this list and to compare their prices.
Non-EEA driving licenses in Austria and how to exchange my driving’s license in Austria
If you are a citizen of some non-EEA country then your current driving license has either limited validity or no validity at all. If you are planning to stay longer or to become a permanent resident you will have to exchange your driving license. The validity of your driving license and exchange process depends on the country from where your driving license is.
These are validity rules according to the ÖAMTC: If you are not a resident of Austria, your non-EEA driving license is valid for 12 months from the date on which you enter the country if you are 18 or over.
If you become a resident of Austria, your non-EEA driving license is valid for 6 monthsfrom the date on which you become a resident if you are 18 or over. After these 6months you may not make use of your license anymore.
Non-EEA citizens can exchange their driving license within the network of Austrian driving authorities. For certain foreign licenses, there is a requirement to pass the driving exam in Austria.
Driving licenses from some countries have to be exchanged immediately and you are not allowed to drive with these licenses at all. These countries are (source ÖAMTC):
“Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Indonesia, Kosovo, Libya, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Yemen.”
“Driving licenses from the following non-EEA countries are considered equivalent to driving licenses issued in Austria and can therefore be exchanged for an Austrian license WITHOUT having to take a knowledge or driving test: For all classes: Andorra, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Switzerland, Serbia, (the UK in case of a no-deal Brexit).
For class B: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, The Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of South Africa, the Republic of South Korea (if the driving license was issued after 1 January 1997), United Arab Emirates, USA”. (source ÖAMTC)
The documents to provide for an exchange of license according to the same source are:
- The driving license exchange request form
- Your birth certificate
- The original driving license
- The translation of the license (it can be done at the ÖAMTC – for 13.81€)
- An ID photo (size: 34 x 45mm)
- A doctor’s certificate of good health
- Your residence registration card (Meldezettel)
- The exchange will cost you 60.50€.
Which authority is issuing driver’s licenses in Austria?
Driving licenses are issued by the Vienna provincial police directorate – motor vehicle department: Landespolizeidirektion Wien – Verkehrsamt Wien (Vienna provincial police directorate – motor vehicle department) (German) 1030 Vienna, Dietrichgasse 27, Phone: +43 1 313 10-0.
In cities without Federal Police Headquarters or in Municipalities: the district administrative authority [Bezirkshauptmannschaft].
How can I register my vehicle in Austria?
The following is necessary to register a car in Austria:
- “Proof of legal ownership of the vehicle (e.g. purchase or donation agreement)
- Confirmation that liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) has been taken out
- A valid identity document with a photograph (please note: a residence entitlement card (Aufenthaltsberechtigungskarte)/white card is not proof of identity)
- Since the vehicle must be roadworthy and in good mechanical condition, a valid technical inspection certificate (‘§ 57a-Gutachten’ by an authorized garage or ÖAMTC) must be presented.
- The cost of registering a vehicle in Austria is approximately €190” Source: ÖAMTC.
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Driving license trial period and impending costs
A trial period of three years applies to all conventional driving license classes. In the case of a car driver’s license, the deadline ends at least when you turn 20, even if you received your driving license when you were 17 or 18 years old. In the event of a violation, not only is the trial period extended, but additional training is required. A retraining course costs between 495 and 515 euros, whereby the fees are set by law. Of course, such retraining can also be required after the probationary period in the case of major offenses.
Additional costs arise if you need extra driving lessons or fail an exam. A repeat exam for the theoretical part costs an average of 160 euros, for the practical part 135 euros. Some driving schools offer a so-called test guarantee under certain conditions, in which the renewed test fees are waived in the event of repetition. However, official fees are usually not included. Failure to appear for an exam also results in a 50 percent loss of fees.
Author: Sofia Ivanov is a blogger at AustrianCareer.at. She holds a MA in international business and also contributes photography to AustrianCareer.at.