Here are some of the hardest places in the world to get a driver’s license


Sydney Booth

If the process of getting your driver’s license in the U.S. seems daunting to you, or just a long process in general, be grateful that you are not trying to get your license in these countries:

United Kingdom: In the UK, the three main steps to getting a license are getting a provisional license, passing a theory test, and passing a practical test, according to 1Driver. A provisional license can be a applied for when a person is 15 years and 9 months of age, and allows them to drive under the supervision of an adult over 21 who has had a license for at least three years. However, driving a car with a provisional license has to wait until the applicant is 17 years old. To get it, proper documentation is necessary along with a fee of 50 pounds (about 61 U.S. dollars). There are two main parts to the theory test: theory questions (45 questions) and hazard perception questions (75 questions). In order to pass the theory test, the applicant must get 43 of 45 correct in 57 minutes. To pass the hazard perception test, the applicant will need to get 44 out of 75 correct. Next, the applicant will need to pass a practical driving test which assesses general driving ability and other areas, such as ability to reverse the vehicle safely.

Finland: Whereas Americans take only two driving tests and log a few hours with an instructor, Finnish drivers go through four theory tests throughout the whole process of getting a license and 18 hours behind the wheel with an instructor. According to The Finnish Transport Safety Agency (FTSA)  a driving permit must be obtained before a permanent driving license. This permit can be applied for at the age of 16. At the age of 17, one can begin the driving instruction and theory phase. This phase includes three other phases: the basic phase, practice phase, and advanced phase. “The basic phase includes at least 19 hours of theory and at least 18 hours of practical driving instruction,” according to the FTSA. The practice phase begins after the basic phase is completed and requires four hours of theory and an additional four hours of driving instruction. After passing the driving test after the practice phase, a three month delay is required before the advanced phase can be taken. The advanced phase contains yet another four hours of theory and four hours of driving instruction. After the basic phase is completed, a driving examination is required, which includes, you guessed it, a theory and practical driving test. This license will not expire for 15 years and no more testing will be required–unless a certain amount of time has passed between license renewals, in which case the driver will have to retake the driving examination.

Singapore: According to GuideMeSingapore, getting a license there requires passing a Basic Driving Theory Test (BTT), getting a Provisional Driving License (PDL) and logging time with an instructor, passing the Final Driving Theory Test (FTT), and passing a Practical Driving Test (PDT). The BTT result is valid for life–no pressure there. Also, the driver must be 18 to obtain a license and legally drive. The passing score for the computer-based BTT and FTT is 45/50 questions, or a 90 percent according to Test Driving Singapore

South Africa: Things get pretty intense during the driving test in South Africa. A learner’s permit is virtually the same as learner’s permit in the U.S., which allows the holder of the permit to drive with an adult who has their license. According to The Road Test, “Some immediate failures in the driving test are: “Allowing your vehicle to roll (backwards OR forwards)” and “Mounting the kerb, bumping any obstacles, or touching boundary lines.”

Germany: If you barely passed the driving tests here in the U.S, you would never make it in Germany. According to The German Way and More,“There is a high rate of failure for this test. You need the book. If you don’t pass the test on your third attempt, you have to go back to Fahrschule [driving school].” Young German drivers are also required to take “14 theory classes and 12 driving lessons” according to Expatica. All in all, the test will cost a whopping 1000-2000 Euros (or about 2,116 U.S. dollars on the high end).

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia caters to only half the population in getting their licenses, as women are unable to drive. Even for the men, the procedure is costly. According to the Dallah Driving school, 590 Saudi Riyals (2,212. U.S. dollars) is the required amount for men to cruise around their country. The license will not expire for ten years.

In comparison with these countries, the expression “things could always be worse” definitely sums up the “struggles” American teens face in obtaining their licenses. Although some states require more instruction than others, not one state requires that wanna-be-drivers put in 18 hours behind the wheel with an instructor like in Finland, or that all applicants be male like in Saudi Arabia. In contrast, the U.S. allows 15 year-olds to have a permit and 16 year-olds to legally drive. In Colorado, only six hours of instructor-supervised drive time is required. Then, the driver has to complete 50 hours of drive-time with a qualified supervisor in one year–plenty of time to get the job done. Plus, only two tests are required: one before the permit is issued, and a driving test with an instructor before the license is issued.