08 Jul 2011

Swedish driving license

1 Comment Driving license (Sweden)

As an Australian you’re allowed to drive on your Aussie license for a year. After that you have to get a Swedish one. As I understand it’s pretty easy for us Swedes to swap our Swedish one for an Aussie one in Australia but that’s not the case in Sweden. Since Simon’s one year limit is coming up I’m trying to find out what Simon needs to do.  I mean I can’t believe that he has to take a lot of driving lessons, after all he knows how to drive. But he has to take the written theory test and to the other mandatory parts. Anyone with experience about this who knows how to go about it?

Can I swap my Australian license for a Swedish one?

It’s only people permanently living in Sweden with a valid license from an EEA country (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, The UK, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Austria) that can just swap theirs for a Swedish one all others have to do the full Swedish license procedure and unfortunately it’s quite a complicated and expensive procedure.

What happens if I continue driving on my Australian license after a year?

If you are from a non EEA country you can legally only drive in Sweden for one year. After that you must get a Swedish driving license. If you are caught driving illegally, you may end up paying a huge fine or going to jail. And the phrase “I didn’t know” or another lame excuse won’t work with the police! Note that it will also invalidate the insurance on the car you are driving if you have an accident. It’s not worth it.

How do I get a Swedish license?

There are basically three tests that you must pass to obtain a Swedish driving license:

  1. the slippery road test (in Swedish: halkbana),
  2. the written theory test, and
  3. the driving test.

These tests must be taken in the order that they appear and, contrary to what you may have heard, it is possible to pass each test the first time around (I did so) even if you don’t speak Swedish!

What do I need to do to get started ?

The first step for you is to get permission to practise driving, a valid provisional driving license/learner’s permit (in Swedish körkortstillstånd). You”ll need it both if you’ll be driving at a driving school or with your spouse, partner, or friend. The person you’ll be driving with has to be at least 24 years old and have had their driving license for at least 5 years. Even if you have a valid Aussie license you need the learner’s permit to be allowed to take lessons at a driving school and/or take the final driving test (something we learned the hard way).

Some recent changes now require that your family member also attends a course and get a permit. Details can be found HERE. Once you have written permission to practice, you must buy a green “övningskör” (learner) magnetic sticker from a petrol station and place it on the back of your car whenever you are driving.

Do I need to attend a driving school?

You don’t have to attend a driving school, but doing so is highly recommended since getting a Swedish driving license is a quite complicated procedure. You are not required to take any courses at a driving school as long as you have someone who can be your “private instructor” (in Swedish handledare) but it is recommended. Why? Well, many driving schools offer theory courses and textbooks, pre-tests, and driving lessons. Call around to compare costs and to see what they have to offer in English. The school will also prepare you for the slippery road, theory, and driving tests.

Even if you have many years of driving experience, it is still a good idea to drive with an instructor from a driving school before taking the final driving test. Why? Because Trafikverket’s inspectors have high standards, and they will expect you to follow certain rules. The driving instructors know exactly what the inspectors will be looking for during the test and can thus prepare you in advance. The instructors will also teach you how to perform three additional mini-tests relating to your car: an engine check, an inside car check, and a light check (you will be asked to perform one of these three tests before your final driving test begins).

What’s the risk training course?

The goal of this training is a greater insight into risks, the kinds of behaviour in traffic that can lead to high risk situations and also potential ways to avoid these situations. This compulsory training consists of two parts and must have been completed and still be valid when you take the theory test and the driving test.

  • Part 1 – concerns alcohol, other drugs, tiredness and other risky behaviour
  • Part 2 is the slippery road test and it concerns speed, safety and driving in special conditions.

You can do your training with any instructor approved by the Swedish Transport Agency. Driving schools book risk training for their pupils. If you’re not with a driving school you must contact an approved instructor yourself.

 What is the slippery road test?

This course takes about 3-4 hours. The training consists of both theory and practical exercises in driving in slippery or hazardous road conditions. Your task will be to show the driving inspector that you know how to handle your car on an icy road. You will be asked, for example, to step on your brakes going 80-100 kilometres per hour and then regain control of your car. Believe me it’s really fun and scary at the same time, when I did this it was the first time ever I ever drove alone in a car!

Active participation, following the given instructions, completing the exercises at the required speeds and not abusing the vehicles is basically all that’s required to pass the training. Your successfully-completed training will remain valid for two years. You will not receive any certificate or other paperwork; rather, they inform Trafikverket that you have completed the training and it is noted in their computers.

What’s included in the driving license test?

The theory and practical driving licence tests for passenger cars (Category B) will be regarded as a combined test. You will take both tests close together, either on the same day or within two weeks of each other. Once a theory or practical test has been passed it is valid for two months.

What is the theory test like?

The theory test is computerised and consists of 70 questions. Of these, 65 are ‘counted’ and you must get 52 of these right. You don’t need to be computer literate to take this test, and you can request it in English. The test focuses on the practical points of driving. In preparing for the theory test, you must purchase a textbook. Textbooks in English are available.

What is the practical driving test like?

The practical driving licence test must then be taken irrespective of the results obtained in the theory test and the test takes about 45 minutes and also includes one of three “mini-tests”: an engine check, an inside car check or a light check. If you’re signed up at a driving school you’ll drive a car from the driving school if not you can borrow a car since it needs to have double control (make sure you book this when you book your test).

How much does it cost?

Well it’s not cheap to get a Swedish license. Below you’ll find some of the costs involved. The vary a bit from city to city and from driving school to driving school. You can often get better prices if you buy a package deal with the driving school as well. But count on it costing you around 15 000-20 000 SEK (around 3000 AUD). I’m hoping it will cost a lot less for Simon since he just needs to do part of the process since he knows how to drive already but I think it still will end up being at least 6000 SEK (1000 AUD).

  • Provisional driving license (körkortstillstånd) – 220 SEK
  • Private instructor training – 400 SEK/person
  • Approval personal instructor – 170SEK
  • Theory training through a driving school incl material – about  1500 SEK
  • Theory study material in English – 625 SEK
  • Eye examination – about 100 SEK
  • Risk training part 1 – about 700 SEK
  • Slippery road test – about 1700 SEK
  • Driving lesson á 40 minutes – about 500SEK
  • Written theory test – 220 SEK/290 SEK (evening & weekend rate)
  • Practical driving test – 770 SEK/940 SEK (evening & weekend rate)
  • Borrowing a car with double control (pedals on the passenger side too) – 400 SEK
  • Production of driving license – 150 SEK
  • Photo at a Swedish Transport Administration driver test office – 80 SEK

There is a calculator available HERE (in Swedish only) where you can see how much it will cost to get a license.

What is the trial period?

All new driving licence holders in Sweden have a two year trial period. The trial period means that if you are found guilty of an offence that results in your driving licence being withdrawn during the two years, you will have to take a new driving test (both theory test and driving test) to get a new driving licence.

Learn more
The essential guide to driving license (pdf)

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One Response to “Swedish driving license”

  1. Reply Lisa Parks says:

    Thanks for this VIP information. Swedish Licence is no joke, but it is hgighly worth it.

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