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Need to get Romanian driving license? Here are the practical rules

Do you need to get Romanian driving license as foreign citizen who is living in Romania? Applying for driving license in Romania is a basic right that is given to any individual requesting a license for any of the categories of vehicles they want to drive. Holding a driving license is mandatory for most types of motorized vehicles, be it a regular car, a motorcycle, or even a chopper. 18 years is the minimum age to get Romanian driving license.

No matter of the age, the driver is called a beginner in the first year after obtaining the license. A beginner has to display a distinctive sign on the back window of the car and on the windscreen, which represents a yellow disk with a black exclamation mark. It’s a way to inform the other drivers that they have to be careful and patient with the beginner in traffic.

So, Romania has complex and specific laws and also obligations for driver’s license requirements that depends on different circumstances. If you plan to own a car in Romania or you are a visitor in our country, then this practical guide is a must read.

Basic rules to get Romanian driving license:

  • The minimum age for holding a driver’s license in our country is 18 years;
  • standard validity of a Romanian driving license is 10 years, or 5 years, depending on the driving category (for category B – which applies to regular cars – the validity is 10 years);
  • If you already hold a Romanian driver’s license but which is expired, this can be renewed without reexamination;
  • If you hold a foreign driving license, this can be exchanged with an equivalent Romanian license, if Romanian legislation allows it (the exchange is not permitted for all countries), also without reexamination; 
  • if you need to exchange your foreign driving license to a Romanian one, then our step-by-step guide, which explains the entire procedure, the list of documents required, and the conditions you need to fulfill, is a must for you: How to exchange driving license to Romanian one – full procedure explained;
  • If you change your domicile (address where you reside in Romania), it is not necessary to update it on your driving license;
  • On the Romanian driving license there are clearly specified the categories of vehicles you are allowed to drive.

Rules for foreign citizens to get Romanian driving license

In September 2014 a Government Ordinance changed the rules that must be fulfilled by foreign citizens applying for a Romanian driving license. Thus, as first condition, foreign citizens who want to get a driving license in Romania must have their legal residence established in Romania for more than 6 months. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to apply for a driving license.

A similar rule is applicable by other EU countries as well. More exactly, a foreign citizen is considered to have the legal residence in Romania in the following situation: hold a legal right for residing in Romania (e.g., Romanian residency permit – for non-EU nationals, or a Romanian registration certificate – for EU nationals), and they live at an address located in Romania for at least 185 days per year, no matter the reasons: personal or professional ties. In order to apply for Romanian driving license, a person must submit few documents to prove that he/she has legal residence here.

European citizens who are living in two or more countries on the EU/EEA territory must prove they return regularly to the Romanian address due to personal ties. Only under this condition they will be able to apply for a Romanian driving license. Otherwise, they will be requested to apply for the driving license in the EU country where their personal ties are located.

The good part is that a foreign national can request to take the driving examinations in a foreign international language. So, you don’t have to learn Romanian in order to take the driving examinations. The international languages available for the examination are: English, French, and German.

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Examination for obtaining the license

The examination and the driving license issuance will be handled by competent authority where the foreign citizen has his/her legal residence registered in Romania. There are two different methods to obtain the drivers license in Romania:

  • the first is by exchanging the foreign license with a Romanian one (if a foreign driving license already exists);
  • the second method is by taking and passing the Romanian driving license tests.

The second method consist in obtaining the driving license after first finishing a driving school in our country, followed by taking and passing a double test: theory and road test.

The theory test is computerized and consists of 26 questions, and you have to score minimum 22 correct answers to pass it. If 5 wrong answers are given, then the candidate is automatically eliminated. During the exam, the candidate is photographed 3 times and later the pictures are used to testify the fact that the person present at the theory test is the same with the one taking the road test.

Only after you pass the theory test will you be allowed to test your practical learning in the road test. The road test lasts 25 minutes, during which the candidate has to prove that he/she is able to drive the car properly and most important, safely.

To get Romanian driving license, during the road test you have to do certain maneuvers like: parking, turns, all done by respecting the traffic laws, of course. The candidate passes the road test only if he is able to limit the penalty points to a maximum of 20. If the candidate collects at least 21 penalty points by making mistakes in traffic, then he will fail the exam. A new driving examination can be rescheduled after a minimum 15 day period.

What’s the cost for a driving school in Romania?

The prices for attending a driving school can start at 1,200 Lei, and go up to 1,900 Lei, depending on the type of car you choose. Also, the cost varies depending on the city (with Bucharest, Cluj, and Timisoara being the most expensive), and the driving school and the instructor as well. So, if you search around the area where you live, you may be able to find good deals with local driving instructors. The time interval in which you are available for the driving and legislation classes can influence the final cost.

If you don’t know Romanian, but speak good English, the cost can double. It can go up to 3,000 – 5,000 Lei. If you do a full upfront payment, you may be able to negotiate significant discounts with some of the driving schools.

To be able to take the driving license exam, you need to attend at least 30 hours of practical driving, and at least 24 hours of theoretical and legislation classes.

We hope our short guidance above is useful to you, and we wish you good luck in obtaining the Romanian driving license!

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