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Everything you need to know about Austria's driving exam

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Everything you need to know about Austria's driving exam
It is not easy to get a driver licence in Austria (Photo by Olga Nayda on Unsplash)

Austria has a 'multi-phase' training programme that motorists and novice drivers must go through theory classes and exams, practical classes and exams and then a 'perfecting' stage. Here's what you need to know.

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Even though Austria has a very good public transport system, and cities are well connected via its train lines, cars are still a significant part of the lives of many Austrians, especially those living away from city centres. 

In 2021, there were 571.7 passenger cars per 1,000 inhabitants in Austria, a rate higher than in the year before. Lower Austria had the most registered passenger cars, more than 1.1 million, followed by Upper Austria, with more than 960,000 cars. In Vienna, there were just over 725,000 passenger cars in 2021, according to Statistics Austria.

Even those who don't own a car usually hold a driver's licence for safety, convenience, or just to use rental and shared automobiles in the country. 

Do I need to take a written driving exam?

Many foreigners coming to Austria, including EU citizens, won't have to take a written driving exam if they already hold a valid foreign driving licence. In addition, the Alpine Republic has "exchange" deals with many countries, so in many cases, people will be able to skip the written test at least.

READ ALSO: How to exchange your foreign driving licence for an Austrian on

However, in some cases, people will need to take the written test if they currently do not have a driving licence. 

What do I need to do to get an Austrian driving licence from scratch?

If you are starting without other licences, you'll have to start the process in Austria from zero. For that, you need to be at least 17 years for the early driving authorisation (the L17 licence) or 18 years for the conventional B driving licence.

Then, you go through theory and practising classes, which will cover basic training, driving, test preparation and any additional practice depending on the student's skills and abilities.

A six-hour first aid course needs to be completed and you need a medical certificate. After all the training, you have 18 months to take the examination, consisting of a theory and a practical driving test.

(Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash)

What does the theory test look like?

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.

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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 you can also download an app with real questions issued in the driving exam.

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

The test costs €11 for one vehicle category on your first attempt. It is a multiple-choice test with four possible answers; at least one is always correct. If there are more correct answers, all the right answers must be clicked for a valid point.

There are at least two modules, one for basic knowledge and one for the specific type of licence (i.e. car, motorcycle) you are applying for. Each module has 20 main questions with a sub-question for each. You pass the modules when you get at least 80 percent of the points.

You can try out your knowledge HERE.

Do I need to take the practical exam?

If you are getting your driving licence in Austria without swapping a foreign one, then you will need to take the practical exam, just like you'll have to do the theoretical exam. 

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However, if you are swapping your foreign driving licence for an Austrian one, you might be able to skip this part. If you have a valid EU or EEA driving licence, you'll only need to submit a request to exchange it with the Austrian driving licence authority. Non-EU/EEA countries such as Japan, Switzerland, Serbia and the UK are also exempt from the driving test rule.

You can read more about how to exchange your foreign driving licence - and the complete list of countries exempt from the driving test rule - HERE.

What does the practical exam look like?

The practical test takes at least 25 minutes and can be taken only after the motorists pass the theory exam. Some driving schools offer to have the test with an English-speaking examiner, but you can also call in an interpreter for the practical part of the driving class. 

The test costs €60 for one vehicle category on your first attempt. 

After you pass the practical driving test, the examiner hands you a provisional driving licence valid for four weeks and only in Austria. After that, you will get your driving licence by mail later. If you took your exam in an automatic vehicle, your driver's licence will state that information and you are only allowed to drive automatic cars.

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If you don't pass the driving exam, you can take another one in 14 days.

Driving

(Photo by Anna Minina / Unsplash)

Regardless of the motorist's age, there is a probation period of three years during which alcohol is prohibited (limit of 0.1 per millilitre). However, if serious violations (such as speeding or hit and run) occur, the driver will need to undergo an expensive retraining course - and the probation period is extended by one year.

READ ALSO: Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

Is that it?

No, there's more. According to the federal government, there are three other classes that motorists need to attend if they are starting the process from scratch in Austria - so those swapping their foreign documents can skip this part. 

First, two to four months after passing the driving test, they must go through a "perfection" drive in a driving school, driving around with an instructor who will pay special attention to technique, accident-avoiding driving, fuel-saving driving style and the social behaviour towards other road users.

From three to nine months after passing the driving test, motorists must attend a one-day driving safety training course. Finally, within six to 12 months after passing the test, they need to go through another "perfecting" drive, this time focusing on environmentally conscious and fuel-efficient driving.

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The novice driver receives professional and objective feedback on their driving behaviour and skills. A "perfecting" drive lasts about two hours and consists of a practical part and a follow-up discussion (50 minutes).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does the Vienna parking system work?

There are no tests during this phase, but it is considered part of the Austrian "multi-phase training" for motorists. There has to be a period of at least three months between the two drives, which can only be completed in driving schools.

If motorists don't complete this second phase of their training, the probation period could be extended, and, in the worst-case scenario, the driving licence could be revoked. There are exceptions in certain circumstances, including severe illness or pregnancy, for example. You can read more about it HERE.

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