How to gain a Swedish driving license

So you have moved to Sweden and you need to retake your drivers license all over again? This is a similar case for many people who have moved to Sweden from outside the EU.

Now, before I go any further, this post is mostly for people who currently hold a drivers license in a foreign country and are looking for the quickest way to obtain a license in Sweden. Those who have never driven before, you will still find this information handy, however specific areas will vary in regards to which package you should purchase from your designated Swedish driving school. I will only touch on those which are applicable for people who already hold a drivers license from a country outside of the EU.

Apply for your Swedish learners permit


The first thing you need to do is apply for a learners permit (körkortstillstånd) though Transportstyrelsen. Here you can gain the appropriate paperwork transportstyrelsen.se. You will need to make sure that you have a Swedish Personal Number to be able to access the required forms. If you do not speak Swedish I would advise downloading the Google Translate app for Chrome. This is very hand if you need to directly translate text from a Swedish website.

Once you gain the required forms you will notice that you need to take an eye test before you submit your application. Eyes tests can be booked through most optometrists, or if you have contact with a driving school they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Once you have taken the eye test, you will need to submit this with your application online and also fill in required information about your health. You pay 220 SEK upon submission. Once submitted you will receive documentation in the mail stating that you have your permit to drive, this will be valid for 5 years.

Choosing a Swedish driving school


Once you have your Swedish learners permit I would strongly advise to get in contact with a driving school, preferably one that has a good track record with English. For those of you that live in Gothenburg, Durgés would be my choice, as all the instructors speak English and can point you in the right direction with information about all the theory material you need to obtain. If you live outside Gothenburg, I would contact any driving school and ask them for their advice. 

You want to make this as easy as possible, which is why I advise you do this through a driving school. Most driving schools will be able to give you all the information you need to pass the theory exam and also help you book in your Risk 1 and 2 courses, which I will explain further down. It is important that you do both courses in English if you do not speak Swedish. You should be able to do Risk 1 at your chosen driving school, however you will need to complete Risk 2 at a specifc traffic school. If you live in Gothenburg you will take this course at storaholm.se. Again your driving school will give you all the required information in regards to where to book these courses.

Most driving schools will provide you with a list of packages that you can purchase, depending on your competency with driving. If you hold a license in another country I would advise that you purchase the theory material, online tests and two driving lessons to pick up any pointers that you need for the practical test. If it has been a while since you have taken a driving test I would advise that you go to a few lessons just to refresh yourself. Sweden does focus on eco-driving, and keeping with the flow of traffic, basically minimising the amount that you stop and start on the road. There are also some small differences on how to enter and exit a roundabout compared to countries like the UK and Australia.

Theory material


Your driving school will provide you will all the study material and access to a bunch of online practise tests, which I stress you complete. You can also purchase the material online at adlibris.com. If you want to do the absolute minimum I would recommend doing as many practise tests as possible. The questions really do match what you will see in the actual test. You get around 40 so just work your way through them and it will pay off once the time comes to do the real exam.

Risk 1


Risk 1 is a course that you can take at your driving school, it is quite a simple course that goes for around 3-4 hours. You are basically given road safety topics to discuss amongst yourselves, how you would react in certain traffic situations, what's your opinion on speeding, driving when your tired, driving under the influence of drugs etc. You will probably watch a few short films and be asked to reflect on what you see. There is no exam at the end of this course, if you turn up and participate a little you will be fine. 

If you are looking to get things moving quickly I would advise booking both Risk 1 and 2 as soon as you can. You cannot take your theory or practical driving test without completing both courses and depending on popularity, you may have to wait several weeks to get a free spot in either course.

Risk 2


This course is a little more fun! As mentioned above you will need to complete this course at a traffic school. This is where you put your driving to the test in more extreme conditions. You take a bunch or cars out onto a test track with an instructor as he directs you in manoeuvring your vehicle in different situations. You can be asked to take your vehicle up to a certain speed and then brake suddenly while you try and stop before a designated point. They really stress you to engage the ABS so that you get a feel for when it kicks in. They will also require you to try and avoid certain obstacles in wet conditions and measure how well you control your car. This course goes for several hours, however it is quite beneficial if you have never been in a dangerous situation on the road. 

A word of warning, this is not a driving lesson, so if you cannot handle yourself behind the wheel, I would recommend that you not take this course yet. They will refuse you to complete the course if they see that you cannot drive and you will also loose your money.

Both of these courses in total will cost you around 2800 SEK.

Theory test (Kunskapsprov)


You book both your theory and practical driving test through trafikverket at the same time. It will give you the option to select which language you wish to do the test in. They will also give you the option to choose whether you would like to take a manual or automatic license.

When you arrive to take your theory test, you will need to get your photo taken that they will use when they produce your license. It takes only a minute with the automatic machine, you will also be able to see the photo and retake it if you wish.

Your theory test comprise of 70 questions and you will need to get 52 of those correct in order to pass. My advice would be to mark the questions that you are not confident with and move onto the next question. You will have the option later to come back to the questions you marked in order to double check your answers. Make sure you bring a valid form of ID to the test.

At the end of the test you will automatically find out if you passed or failed. If you failed, you will be able to rebook an exam at a later date. If you passed, congratulations you are one step closer to receiving your license!


Practical driving test


You have the option of taking the test in your designated driving schools vehicle or you can use the trafikverket vehicle (will cost 400 SEK). You will have an instructor in the vehicle with you and you can also choose to have your driving school teacher or partner in the car. The instructor will firstly run through what they are going to mark you on and give you all the information you need for the test which will last around 25 minutes. 

Your instructor will mark you on the following areas:
  • The control you have over the vehicle
  • How you act and react in different traffic situations
  • How you abide by the different traffic rules
  • Eco-driving

They will start by asking you to do a basic safety check. This could be checking the vehicles tires, checking the oil in the car or as basic as making sure the lights are working. If you are a little unsure please read the safety check procedure in your theory material. It is pretty basic, if you know how to pop the bonnet of the car and check the oil and also washer fluid you will be okay.

The 25 minutes should go very fast, the instructors are friendly and will make conversation with you during the test. They will ask you to drive in a certain direction and it is up to you to follow the signs in order to find the way. They will be very clear with what signs you need to follow so relax and pay attention. If you happen to miss a direction then they will notify you and ask you to turn around. This does not mean that you fail! So keep your composure! Make sure you keep to the speed limit and look in your mirrors frequently. 

The most complicated manoeuvre they will get you to do is stopping at a curb and reversing around a small corner, they will also judge you on parking, which is usually in a carpark. They will also take you on a small highway and see if you enter or exit appropriately along with driving in a small built up area where the speed limits are usually 30km. 

After you finish the test they will notify you directly if you have passed or failed. If you failed they will explain what areas you need to work on and give you the opportunity to book another test. You will however need to pass both test within 2 months.

If you passed you can automatically start to drive, they will send out your license in the mail which you can pick up from your closest post office. In total it will cost you around 1600 SEK to take both exams and also get your drivers license produced.

I wish you all good luck with obtaining your Swedish drivers license and would love to hear your driving progress!





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