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Reader question: Can I take the Austrian driving licence test in English?

If you have to take an exam for your driving licence in Austria, it may be worrisome to imagine that it would have to be in German. So what are the rules?

Reader question: Can I take the Austrian driving licence test in English?
Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

The driving licence is a required document for anyone looking to drive a vehicle in Austria. If you are staying for more than six months and your permit is from a non-EEA country, then you’d have to swap it for an Austrian one.

Even if you have a document issued by a European Union country, you can also choose to convert it to an Austrian one.

The requirements for exchanging your foreign licence will depend on where it was first issued. They may include a theory test and a practical test. If you have to go through the entire process from scratch, you will also have to pass the written and practical exams.

But can those be taken in English?

The theory driving test

The written driving licence exam in Austria can be taken in English.

The theoretical part of the test is taken as a computer exam in the driving school where you are doing the process. It can be done in German, English, Croatian, or Slovenian, as well as in sign language, according to the government website.

READ ALSO: Can I use my foreign driving licence in Austria?

In order to take the test, you need to have a valid medical report and complete theoretical training in a driving school.

If you want to practise, the website of Austria’s traffic authority ÖAMTC has a page with an online practice test and where you can also download an app with real questions issued in the driving exam.

The practical driving test

After passing the theory test – or during the process of swapping foreign documents for an Austrian one in some cases, you need to take the practical exam.

READ ALSO: ​​COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the strictest drink-drive limits?

According to the federal government, an interpreter can be present during the practical part of the driving test to help you in case you don’t speak German. It is not uncommon for driving schools to have teachers that speak English and can offer the exam in English – or in other languages, especially in Vienna.

Do I need to take a knowledge or driving test?

Some driving licences from non-EEA countries are considered equivalent to those issued in Austria and can be exchanged for an Austrian one without having to take a theory or practical driving test.

Non-EU/EEA countries exempt from the driving test rule (for all licence categories) are Andorra, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Switzerland, Serbia, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

READ ALSO: Brexit: What happens if you haven’t exchanged your UK driving licence in Austria?

Additionally, people with a driving licence from Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Republic of South Korea (if issued after 1 January 1997), USA and the United Arab Emirates are exempt from having to take a driving test for a category B licence.

A category B permit allows holders to drive a vehicle with up to eight passengers and a maximum weight of 3,500kg.

Drivers will still need to show a medical certificate before swapping their documents for the local ones – and the original licences must still be valid. People who have these documents issued in other countries will generally need to take at least the practical exam.

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UPDATE: What are the fines for not wearing masks on Vienna’s public transport?

Vienna's Wiener Linien said it would step up mask patrols. Here's how much you could be fined if you don't comply.

UPDATE: What are the fines for not wearing masks on Vienna's public transport?

Austria has removed almost all of its coronavirus measures and restrictions, at least for the summer months. However, besides steps to protect vulnerable people in settings such as hospitals end elderly homes, there is one important exception: public transport in Vienna. 

Mayor Michael Ludwig decided to follow what has been known as the “Viennese way”, as the city has chosen to keep stricter measures than those followed by the federal government on many occasions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Will Austria drop quarantine and isolation for positive Covid-19 cases?

In Vienna, people need to wear FFP2 masks on public transport, including buses, trams, subways, trains, station buildings, and platforms.

This creates strange situations, with people commuting in from outside town having to wear masks as they get to city limits.

Who needs to wear masks?

Everyone on public transport, all Wiener Linien buildings (including station buildings), on platforms and in vehicles need to wear an FFP2 mask.

The mask requirement is valid even for those who have been vaccinated.

There are, however, some exceptions.

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask does not apply to pregnant women. Instead, they can use a close-fitting protective cloth covering the mouth and nose (a surgical mask, for example).

Children under the age of six are also exempt from the mask requirement.

READ ALSO: ‘At the limit: Huge spike in Covid hospitalisations and deaths in Austria

Children aged six to 14 need to wear a mask or close-fitting cloth covering their mouth and nose area, but it doesn’t have to be an FFP2 mask.

Other exceptions include persons who cannon wear mouth-nose protection for health or disability-specific reasons. Anyone who is exempt needs to present a medical certificate from a doctor established in Austria or the EEA, according to the Wiener Linien.

What happens if people do not wear masks?

People caught not wearing a mask will be contacted and informed of the mask requirement by the security service employees with Wiener Linien.

If they still do not comply, they will be excluded from continuing their journey and ultimately may have to pay a €50 fine for violations of the mask requirement.

Are there many people not wearing masks?

Though there are no official numbers released of the amount of people failing to comply with the mask requirement, it seems that the numbers are growing.

READ ALSO: Will Austria bring back its mask mandate before autumn?

This week, Wiener Linien said it would step up mask patrols on buses, trams, subways and trains to cut down on the number of passengers who have abandoned their FFP2 masks.

“Like you, we are annoyed that some people do not comply with the mask requirement”, the company wrote on its social media.

They added that there were more controls on public transport together with the Viennese police and more announcements and information on info screens.

However, the company also said that they could not control two million passengers “at the same time” and asked people not to pull the emergency buttons in case they saw passengers without masks.

Wiener Linien also reminded passengers that it is “not okay” to take and post pictures of passengers (even if they are not wearing masks).