By Tobi Onuoha
Getting a driver’s licence as a foreigner consists of three key steps.
Obtaining a drivers licence in Hungary consists of several different steps which are part of a well thought out process that ensures you will be fully prepared to deal with any situation that may arise while driving from day one.
Firstly, getting a drivers licence requires a residence permit and the right to live in Hungary. If you meet these requirements and qualify for a drivers licence (i.e. you are over the age of 16), you can begin the process.
Before you can sit in a car and begin the actual driving, you must pass a theory exam which consists of 75 questions. In order to pass, you must score 65/75 points at least. This is difficult as getting 4 questions wrong can already fail you.
In order to be successful, it is advised that you attend classes either with other students or alone, depending on the amount of individual time you would like to receive. The driving school can help you find a teacher and many have their own private teachers who are trained and qualified to teach theory. These teachers can also prepare you for some of the bad English that you may see in the theory exam as unfortunately the exam is quite poorly translated.
Once you are prepared for your exam, your driving school will arrange a date and time for you to attend the exam and you must bring your passport or some form of acceptable ID with you (residence permit is not accepted). The exam itself is held in a small computer room and there are usually about 15 other fellow students taking the exam with you. Once you have completed the exam, the computer will tell you straight away whether you have passed or failed.
The next stage is getting your first aid certificate. The course requires you to attend only one class. Again, this is usually done with a small group of students. The class will take up about an afternoon and in it you will cover all of the different parts of first aid. Once the class is done within the next few days you must return and demonstrate what you have learnt to the examiners. The exam itself is usually carried out in a room where examiners observe several different students simultaneously. Passing this exam awards you with an immediate certificate in first aid.
When you have completed both the first aid and the theoretical part, you can now begin the driving lessons. The driving instructor will sit next to you; he also has a steering wheel and pedals in order to be able to avoid accidents in case you lose control.
The driving starts on a course which has been especially designed for learner drivers. There are different obstacles you have to drive around, parking spaces and a lane where you can practise accelerating and breaking.
If the driving instructor finds your driving satisfactory, he will then take you to the road where you can put what you have learnt on the course into practice and prepare for your driving exam. In total, you are required to drive a total of 30 hours before you get to your exam.
During your final exam, your examiner sits in the back seat and asks you to complete several tasks in the driving course and then watches your ability to drive on the public roads. He has a point system on his clipboard which he uses to determine whether or not you have completed a successful exam.
In some cases the examiner may also ask you practical questions such as how you would refill the fluid for your brakes and what fluid you would use.
Once you are successful in everything, all you need to do is collect your papers and go to a government office where they will take your photo and make your driver’s licence which will arrive in the post within the week.
If I was to suggest something which could be improved in the system, I would suggest adding cameras to the cars to enable better monitoring of drivers and examiners. Another suggestion would be to hire better English speaking staff which could help in the examination and registration process.
There are several steps involved in the process of getting your licence but if you follow them as they are written and listen to what your driving school is advising you to do, getting a drivers licence in Hungary should be no problem!
Some great driving schools in Budapest include Csigavér, easydriver and Kuti Tamas driving school.