How to obtain a driving license in Luxembourg
My husband and I both got our driving licenses in Luxembourg: me first, and one year after – he did it too. At the time I was studying for a driving license, there were only two schools available nearby, more specifically, schools that have been teaching in English. There was Pepe driving school and the one at the Gare.
I found these schools in expat community groups on Facebook, with real feedback from other people. The school next to Gare did not satisfy users at all: the reviews told about how bad the instructors are, how they don't explain the theory well, and how they are late all the time. And on the contrary, Pepe school had good reviews only, especially on the theory. So I quickly enrolled there.
How to prepare for a theory exam
The only problem happened to be with the lessons in English: they were only scheduled once a week. Maybe now they have more classes, because of course, if we knew more languages, the theoretical part would be faster. And this way the theory process stretched out for 8 weeks because you must listen to all the topics and collect attendance stamps.
When you received all the stamps, you have to take the attendance paper to the SNCA and register for the theory exam. You can use the internet, or driving school resources, like Pepe's app and website, to practice before the exam.
At last, I practiced and got used to this theoretical test so well, that I passed the real examination in 10 minutes. Including the time I spend thinking about some particular questions. In my opinion, the theory test is not that hard, especially if you train well.
After successfully passing the examination, you will get the stamp on your paper, so you can show it in your driving school.
It is possible to change the driving school at this stage if you want. It means that you can study theory in one place, and practice driving in another.
I continued my studies in the same Pepe school — the line for manual cars was not long. My husband wasn't this lucky: after the covid, both theory and practice classes were full a few months upfront.
Eventually, my instructor suggested that I switch to an automatic car because I was too distracted by the gearbox and couldn't keep my attention on practicing driving. This time I waited only around 3 weeks, maybe because I already started driving with an instructor at that point.
When I finished my practice, I was supposed to take an exam. Though I was indecisive, even nervous, and wanted to take more hours, my instructor was sure of me and registered me for the driving exam.
On the examination day, I had to drive to SNCA with my instructor next to me. At that facility, we submitted all the documents, meet our examiner, and went to the planned examination route.
Yes, here the instructors can sign you up for the practice driving exam themselves. The best part is that you pass the test with the car you have been practicing in for the whole time.
And here I got lucky as well. My instructor was fluent in Russian, my native language. So during the exam, he translated all the things the examiner told me to do from Luxembourgish to Russian. Pretty convenient!
You cannot leave the planned examination route without the examiner's permission. This is a mistake right away.
As well as you have to keep in mind all the rules — no one is there to remind you about the signs and signals.
Your instructor is not there just to keep you company. His pedal set has a sound signal system, so when he or she uses it — the examiner will be notified. This implies an automatic fail. Because if your instructor had to intervene in your driving, you are not ready to do it on your own.
By the way, during your exam, you will get points for the right moves, and lose them for mistakes. This is exactly how I failed my first driving test! After we drove the route, the inspector told me about all the errors I made: once I drove too close to the wall, another time – hit the brakes too late. All these details lowered my total score and I failed.
In the case of a failed exam, you will have to do 8 more hours of practice with the instructor.
On my second attempt to take the driving exam, I was trying to go slower, so I make no mistakes. And it was a success! Though the examiner told me there is no need to drive like a turtle: of course, it's not a crime, but it's usually rather uncomfortable for other drivers.
As I mentioned earlier, my husband had to get a driving license during the pandemic. He took theory classes in the center of Luxembourg, and then switched schools for his practical part — we moved to the north of the country back then, and he found a school in Ettelbruck. Fortunately, he could enroll in just two weeks, as there was lower demand.
The first time you get your license, it is time-limited and only lasts for two years. In order to obtain a permanent license, you have to take a special one-day extreme driving course.
On that course, we drove slippery roads, practiced emergency brakes, and tested our driving abilities and limitations. With a theoretical backup.
And in the end, our instructor decided to try and trick us. It was a slippery part of the route with a sharp curve. And he told us that the first driver to race this section will get an automatic pass for the exam.
And the trick worked! In the heat of the moment, students tried to win with the speed, but couldn't keep the car in the lane due to the wet road. Me as well.
Everything went according to his plan. And there was a moral of the story at the end: the adrenalin and competitiveness can really fail your driving experience. Not to mention the danger of such action.
This extreme course is available when you have at least 4000 km mileage, as it requires some general driving experience.
How much does it cost
As I took the driving course before the pandemic hit, the precise prices might be a little off nowadays. Inflation definitely caused price growth.
I paid around 2500 euros, including my second attempt and additional driving practice hours. My husband paid around 2000 euros. He succeeded on the first try!
The automobile school will bill you on their side:
- The first payment receipt will account for the theory classes and the theory examination. You can study after you paid the bill.
- Then you pay for your instructor hours and practical exam.
- Additional billing will be provided if you take more practice hours or special classes.
- In case you fail the exam – another bill: this time for the required additional 8 hours of driving with the instructor and the exam afterward.
The automatic car driving course is more expensive than the mechanic one. But I believe the studying process goes faster that way because it's easier.
Another useful life hack! If you have a friend or a relative with 3 years of driving experience, they can act as an instructor. However, they will first have to drive for 16 hours with an authorized school tutor. But this will make it possible to register a friend and his car within the driving school for classes.
Anyways, I recommend taking instructed course too. Your own car will not have a second set of brakes. And good driving skills are important for your safety.
What documents do you need
To obtain a driving license, you will need:
- A medical examination. There is a special kind of examination for the driving license;
- A criminal record from all the countries you resided in;
- An identification paper, like an ID card or passport.
Your medical examination results will be provided to you in a sealed envelope. Don't open it and bring it straight to your school: the seal verifies that the doctor's recommendations have not been changed or corrected. For example, I can only drive a car wearing glasses, as the medical commission decided.
Any changes in the process or additional documents are usually announced by the school you attend.
A car in Luxembourg is much more than a transport, your integration depends on it. A lot of people I know can not imagine a life without a car after getting one. Especially when you live in the countryside, far from the city center. After a few years of using a personal car in Luxembourg, you get used to the country's modest size, and start grumbling about an hour-long drive!
Government supports the public transportation system, nevertheless, it can not replace the benefits of a personal car for now. It seems like long routes and various stops make your path from A to B much more complicated.
This happens all the time, for example, with a friend of mine. It took only 10 minutes to get from my place to hers by car, and 40 minutes using a bus! And you would have to switch routes, and check the schedule – buses don't run on Sundays.
Keep in mind the unpredicted crises. In 2020 the pandemic started, and it feels like a whole hero mission to be without a car in this scenario. I used my personal transport to buy groceries for the week, and can't imagine taking the bags home by bus.
Also during this tough period, the car helped us to escape to the hiking places. It's usually well-remote corners of the natural resources, where no one is around and you can admire the beauty of nature.
The steps for the future car drivers
So, in order to get your driving license in Luxembourg, you need to:
- Enroll in the driving school and pay for the course;
- Study the theory;
- Pass the theoretical exam;
- Pay for the driving lessons and the exam;
- Take your time with the instructor;
- Pass the practical exam;
- Get your temporary two-year driving license;
- Drive for at least 3000 km of mileage;
- Take the one-day extreme driving course and pass the exam;
- Obtain your permanent driver's license.
You can find more information on the documents you will need, how to exchange your prior driver's license, and other useful topics in our Relocation Guide.
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