Obtaining a car drivers license in Norway is a time-consuming process. There are a lot of different requirements for individuals from different age groups, and nationalities. For all matters related to driving licenses http://www.atl.no/ is the parent site which gives you an overview of requirements to obtain a driving license while, http://www.vegvesen.no/ is the official website of Norway’s road administration. The above two offices collaborate with the certified driving schools to issue drivers licenses to all classes of vehicles in Norway.
Step 1: Register yourself as an applicant
Fill the application form online (http://www.vegvesen.no/) using your national ID number or by sending in filled hard copy of application form to the nearest traffic station (Statens Vegvesen).
Link to online application
Link to the application form (January 2015)
Link to find the nearest traffic station
After you register your application, the police performs a background check to ensure you are eligible for this license. A reference number is provided to your application via email immediately after submit the online application. You can log in to vegvesen’s website to check the status of your application using your national ID number. The police verification is valid for 6 months, before which you need to start with step 2 or step 3.
Step 2: Buy or loan the theory book
“The road to your driving license“ and read it entirely from start to finish. You will also find copies of this book in the kommune library in the city you live. (community library) This step can be quiet a struggle for people who despise reading theory books, but it is a very well written book to learn how a cars function and what is required to be a good driver in Norway.
Once you have finished reading the book it is time to practice theory questions by either buying a second workbook, which can also be purchased from http://www.atl.no/ or loaned from the nearest kommune library. This book covers basic questions that you will be answering in the theory exam.
Register and buy access to theory questions at https://teoritentamen.no . (I highly recommend this site) This website provides a huge collection of theory questions. The questions are objective type questions and highly resemble the questions asked in the theory exam. They have online access as well as an app on which you can practice. You chose the package you like (one day, one week, monthly access pass)
The theory exam is drop-in exam, meaning you just have to go to the traffic station in your city, register yourself for the test, and write it on the same day. Remember that all local traffic stations have fixed one weekday when they offer theory exam slots. All you need to write the theory exam is your identity card (Norwegian 11 digit number or Norwegian bank card with photo or your passport) and successful validated online application (validated by the police as mentioned above). Take your unique application reference number just in case.
When you pass the theory test, the test supervisor will give you a printout of your mark sheet and further processing information. The test results are valid for 3 years from the passed date.
Step 3: Contact the nearest authorized driving school.
The driving schools in Norway use a centralized system with cooperation of ATL to follow the progress of a student. It is the driving schools responsibility to register you as a student at their school and convey this to the city traffic station (Vegvesen). All course fees is payable via the login details provided by the driving school.
When you contact the driving school, the instructors want to assess your current driving skills. Hence, they will normally ask you to register for an assessment class where you drive for about 45 minutes and they assess the amount of training required to prepare you for the practical driving test. If they feel you have good control, they will probably only ask you to take the mandatory courses. This is individualistic based on your driving skills and experience.
The whole process of obtaining a license is based on approval from the driving school; the driving instructor has authority to sign-off at the end of each stage. If he/she feels that you have not gained enough skills, they can ask you to take extra courses or ask you to practice with your friends who have a car and are over 25 years. (See below for private driving rules)
All the mandatory courses and theory exams should be completed before taking a practical test. However, one can choose to take the theory test during any of the four stages as illustrated below.
The mandatory course requirements are different for adults below the age of 25 and above the age of 25. The below table shows the difference.
There are totally four stages to complete before attaining a Norwegian Driving License.
Stage 1- Basic traffic course
If you are below 25 years old- Basic traffic course 10 hours (Learners permit) + 4 hours first aid course + 3 hours night driving demonstration.
If you are above 25 years old- 4 hours first aid course (First aid and measures in traffic accidents) + 3 hours night driving demonstration.
Majority of the 4 hours first aid course is a theoretical but it also consists of practical accident scenario training with dummies. While, the night demonstration course as the name suggest is a demonstration of hazards during night driving, use of headlights during normal driving and during overtaking etc.
Stage 2 – Basic driving and driving skills
Consists of classes with focus on basic driving skills. These skills consist of, making yourself ready before driving, looking long way forward, driver posture while driving, positioning the car, gear shifting, acceleration, steering and braking, reversing, waiting and parking, knowing important tools used in the car (opening hood, screen cleaner fluid etc.)
At the end of stage two, a 45-minute driving lesson with feedback from the instructor and a self-assessment of your driving is scheduled. After approval from the instructor for stage 2, you can continue to stage 3.
Stage 3 – Road traffic skills
Consists of lessons on traffic systems, group of traffic users and their use of roads, driving your car in an economical perspective, traffic regulations, traffic signboards, reading road signs, absorbing and processing road information, and driving in residential areas, tight/narrow roads in light to medium traffic.
Mandatory Driving course Safety Course in Closed circuit 3 hours
Stage 3 also consist of an important piece of training – Slippery (Glattkjøring/sikkerhets kurs på bane) road training. NAF is the Norway’s Automobile Association who provide slippery circuits to rent. The lanes in the circuits contain a mixture of oil and water to make them slippery. This course gives exposure to driving in slippery conditions and is one of the most exciting yet important courses in the process.
This stage also consists of a course (45 to 90 minutes) on driving in semi-motorways with multiple lanes.
At the end of stage three, a 45-minute driving lesson with feedback from the instructor and a self-assessment of your driving is scheduled. After approval from the instructor for stage 4, you can continue to stage 4.
Stage 4- The final training
Mandatory Theory course Risks of driving 2 hours
Stage 4 starts with a theory course on driving risks for a duration of 90 minutes. This course provides examples of risky situations and tricks to avoid them while driving on the road.
Mandatory Driving course Safety Course on roads Long Distance driving 5 hours
The second course in stage 4 is the long-distance driving safety course. In this course, the student drives for close two 4 hours with continued instructions from the instructors. The course also consists of practical emergency procedures followed in case of a car malfunction. This is the longest course in the whole process but one, which is entirely fun. You will get to see parts of your city you never seen before!
Mandatory Driving course Tour Planning course Long distance 4 hours
The third course in stage 4 is Tour Planning course. The instructor provides the starting and the finishing destinations and you have to make the plan to go from A to B. For example, I had in total seven destinations within Trondheim to cover and 30 minutes to plan the best route to cover all the destinations in 3 hours.
Use the GPS in the car or any other navigational aids while driving and while planning the tour is permitted. However, during this course, the instructor does not give any planning input. The student is the driver and the instructor will not help in planning the overall trip. The course is for 3 hours.
The tip in this course is to plan your travel based on ROAD NUMBERS and EXIT NUMBERS. These two are the easiest way to remember the European highways or motorways.
At the end of the tour planning course, the student is asked to evaluate mistakes and opportunities where he/she can improve.
Registration of practical test in Statens Vegvesen
Recently, there has been a change in the process. Earlier, the driving school had powers to register the student to a practical driving test by its own. However, now the student can choose to change powers or give powers to a specific driving school.
To do this, log in to your page at Statens Vegvesen website and choose to give full authority to your driving school. The page is accessible both in Norwegian and English languages. The new system also allows you to cross check all your courses taken at the driving school.
Once you had over the authority to the driving school, they will register you for the final test at the local traffic station.
Remember – You also need to have passed the theory exam before taking the practical test.
Finally, you are ready for……
The practical test
The practical test takes place at your local traffic station. The driving school will ask you to take an optional 45 minutes class while driving from the driving school to the traffic station. This class is very beneficial to take because it helps you clam your nerves before the real test. A certified car is required for the driving test. In most cases, it is best to loan the car from the driving school.
In this link you will find details on how the practical test is designed from the traffic regulators perspective. It also describes clearly, expectations of the sensor during the driving test from you. According to the rules, the assessor should take into consideration the overall driving and cannot look for mistakes in your driving. This means that even if you make mistakes it is OK. You can correct your mistakes in a safe way on the road without obstructing other motorists and pedestrians.
There are set of theory questions, which are asked during the practical test. The driver is expected to be proficient to answer them. Thankfully, there is a power point presentation from one of the driving schools from Northern Norway (Traffikskolen in Harstad). You will find the power-point presentation here.
After the test
After finishing the practical test you drive back to the traffic station and the test sensor will inform you if you have passed or failed the test.
If you passed the practical test, you will need to continue to the traffic station and wait to receive a temporary printout of your driver’s license. The temporary license is valid for a month within Norway. The license card will be printed and sent you to your address within 4 to 5 working days.
If you failed the practical test, an explanation to you will be given by the sensor with reasons for the result. The rules state that, you can re-take the practical test only after 4 weeks from the last test and that you shall have a two driving lessons from the driving school.
To register to the second attempt, you will have to give the driving school the authority to book the next available test date.
Overview of courses and tests I took
It took me from June 2014 until January 2015 to get my driving license in Norway. 7 long months to get an automatic car driving license. It is no doubt a time-consuming and an expensive investment. Hopefully, it will be worth the effort. For people who are planning to take up a driving license this below table should give a clear overview of courses and an approximate cost of the whole process.
Rows in green font are mandatory courses, which need to be taken. Rest are optional.
Thanks to the driving instructors
I am grateful to my driving instructors, Ingri and Camilla at Ole Bil og MC (Kongsberg) and Traffisikker (Trondheim). I highly recommend these schools for people who are living in Kongsberg or Trondheim.
I wanted to get a driving license because I could not show my friends some great places when they visited me. Before then, I always thought investing my energy in getting a license is a waste of time and money. I will like to finish this post with a quote-
“Somethings in life seem unnecessary for now, but when the necessity comes, regret of not planning follows with it.”