In Québec, like everywhere else, there are laws to follow if you want to drive. If you have just arrived in Québec from another country or province and already have a driver’s licence, you just need to exchange it at the SAAQ or pass an exam. For more information about the exchange, read our article here. But if you don’t have a driver’s licence, you will have to pass through the whole process in order to get one.

First of all, you have to be at least 16 to begin the program, and if you are minor, you have to provide written consent from your parents. Then you have to register in a recognized driving school. You can find a list of these schools here.  The course lasts a minimum 11 months, and is expensive.

At the beginning, you take only theoretical courses for the first month. The program covers the Highway Code, rules of the road, and driving courtesy across five courses. After this first phase, you will take a theory test at your driving school; you must pass this to obtain your learner’s licence.

Then there will be theoretical and practical courses during the other three phases. In all, after this first exam you will have seven theoretical courses and 15 practical courses. At the end, you have to pass two more exams at the SAAQ: a theoretical one, and a practical one.

The theoretical exam consists on a series of questions about the Highway Code and the best attitudes to adopt in different situations on the road. You are allowed a number of mistakes, but if you exceed this number, you fail… There are three parts in the exam, and you succeed one phase, you will not have to take it again, even you fail at the others. In other words, if you pass the first two parts but fail part three, you will only have to resit the third part at your next attempt.

You will then have to pass the practical test, which lasts approximately 30 minutes. During this test, you will drive with an examiner, who will evaluate your abilities. Immediately after the test you will know if you have passed or not.  If you fail at the practical or theoretical exam, you must wait at least 28 days before passing it again.

The cost of getting a driver’s licence is really high. Budget at least $900 for the driving school, and be prepared to pay extra for the learner’s licence, the driver’s licence and the different exams.

For more information, you can visit the SAAQ’s website by clicking here.

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