For many people, learning to drive is an involved process. You have to gain knowledge of road laws, take driving tuition and pass driving tests. Once you pass those driving tests, you can then get your driving licence.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, you have to pass the driving theory test and a practical test. But in some countries, learning to drive can be a lot more involved, with the process often taking years rather than months!

In today’s blog post, I discover some amazing facts about the toughest places around the world to get a driving licence.

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The Nordic country boasts some of the safest drivers on the planet. But there is a reason for that; they have to undergo strict driving tuition!

Finlanders have to spend at least 18 hours on the road learning to drive (not in one session, of course). They can only get taught to drive by a relative if their car has had a brake pedal fitted at the front passenger footwell. The instructed driving lessons must also include a “slippery driving” course.

Learners also have to undertake 19 theory lessons. Once all that gets completed, they must take a computerised theory test and a practical test in a city location for at least 30 minutes.

Once they pass, they get issued an “initial” licence! It’s valid for two years, and during that time they cannot get more than two road violations, or they lose it. To get a “full” licence, they must get more theory and practical driving lessons before taking even more tests!

No-one in Finland can work up to their full driving licence in less than two years.

Costa Rica

The Central American country is also tough on new motorists.

There are three separate tests that you need to pass before you can get a full driving licence. First, you need to take the theory test. Next, a practical driving test gets carried out. The test is a simulation, rather than one that gets done on the actual streets of Costa Rica.

Once you pass your theory and simulated practical tests, you then have to go for a medical examination. Blood pressure and eyesight are just some of the things you would get tested for.

Only when you get given a clean bill of health, and you passed your other tests, can you get a driving licence!


The country recently held the World Cup, but, as a resident of Brazil, what do you need to do to drive around places?

There are some people that Brazil won’t give a driving licence to, such as illiterate people and children. Before you can even apply for a driving licence, candidates have to pass physical and psychological exams.

Once you pass those tests, you have to take 45 hours worth of theory lessons. At the end, you have to pass a theory exam. The next stage is to take at least 20 hours worth of practical driving lessons. In Brazil, only approved driving instructors can teach you.

When you’re ready, you must take a practical driving test. It’s only when you pass that, as well as all the previous exams and tests that you can get your driving licence.

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

7 thoughts on “The World’s Toughest Places To Get A Driving Licence”

  1. I remember paying close to $500 for my driver license in Europe. 25 years later, I still use my blinkers and stay on the right lane on highways. It was tough, but worth it. I’m about to get my motorcycle license, but will take advanced courses. Cars are just not aware of their surroundings here. That’s why you see pile ups more often than not.

  2. LMAO, I’m from Brazil and can’t help but laugh at my country making this list, yeah, sure, in theory it may sound great but it’s RIDICULOUSLY easy to get a CNH (drivers license) here.

    First off, physical test consist of an eye check and that’s it. Psychological exams are the same they give to 5 years old, and a trained monkey could probably pass the theory exam, if has the most retarded and obvious questions you can imagine.

    After that you need practical lessons, yeah… you take those on empty parking lots and you can go past second gear and there’s a speed limit of 10 miles per hour, which by the way, are the same rules for the practical test.

    And then, if you still fail, you can just pay up $50 to get an approval, it’s standard procedure here.

  3. You forgot the fees associated with the drivers licences in Brazil. it comes out to about 200 reals total. The per capita in Brazil is 12,000 reals. That is 17% of the average Brazilians annual income. How about the fact that there a million radars all over the place? Your 1 year permit is impossible to keep because if you drive everyday in places you are not familiar with, you cant possible “never” go 7 miles over the speed limit for 365 straight days. Automatic radars don’t forgive.

    Brazilian pay for there licences, very few Brazilians have earned them legitimately. They either fail and just pay the police to lie about failing an exam, or (in the case of the 1 year permit), they register their vehicle their parents name so that traffic violation go directly to their parents licence and not theirs.

    It’s an impossible feat for a foreigner to get a licence. Dont even try it guys. It’s not worth it.

  4. LOL what about South Africa. you first have to book a theory test (which you wait 4 hours at a testing station for) and once you pass that you are legally allowed to drive on the road provided you are accompanied by a licensed driver. once you are satisfied that you are ready to go ahead and book a drivers license you have to go to a testing station and wait another 4 hours to get a drivers license booking. In the practical test you are not allowed to roll an inch in the opposite direction you intend to move and lose a huge amount of points if your neck is not on the verge of spasm from observations. couple this with inspectors trying to test you by asking you to break traffic violations .

  5. This article is a joke! You should have called it “places where its a bit harder to get your license”!

    If you use the superlative people expect youto actually find out where the toughest places are! Cant be brazil lol… have you ever been there? And Germany not being on the list?! They have no speed limit on most parts of their highways and its still very safe to drive there! Just check on their requirements for a license… We must admit Germans are probably the best drivers on this planet!

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