It is commonly said that obtaining a driving license in Poland is difficult, but many expats have passed the exam easily.
EU driving license or international driver’s permit
Since January 2013, all driving licenses issued throughout the European Union have been issued in the standard European format, allowing EU citizens to drive in all Member States as long as their license remains valid.
Should you want to exchange your license from one EU country to another, you can do so only through the authorities of the country you currently reside in. This simply means that they will revoke your original license and give you a local one. Changing to a local license means that the same rules apply to you for that country regarding validity, medical examinations, and whatever other rules they abide by.
If you are coming from the United States, you can apply for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP), which is issued by the government of the United States and has a validity of six months from the day you enter Poland. Once this validity period has expired, you are expected to go through the whole process to obtain a Polish license if you wish to continue driving in the country.
Obtaining a Polish driving license
In order to obtain a driving license in Poland you must take lessons and pass an exam. Beware that driving exams in Europe are generally considered to be difficult and many people have to retake them up to 4 times before passing. This can result in an expensive investment, so make sure you take your studies seriously the first time around. Additionally, if you wish to take the exam with an English speaking examiner you will have to pay extra or alternatively you can opt to pay for your own interpreter.
Before taking the tests, you must complete 30 hours of theoretical and practical lessons with a certified and qualified driving instructor. After finishing the lessons, you can schedule your tests (one theoretical and one practical) either for the same day or on separate occasions.
The theoretical test has 18 questions out of which 16 must be answered correctly in order to pass. Depending on where you are taking the test, you may have the option to take it in Polish, English or German.
The practical test involves identifying parts of the car, parking, going up hills and then eventually driving on the road for 30 minutes following the instructions of the examiner. Should you fail to follow the instructions at the start of the exam you are given a second chance to repeat it, but if you fail to follow them again you may well fail the entire exam before even reaching the next stage, i.e 30 minutes on the road. Most people claim that it takes at least two attempts to pass the exam, even though many expats have said they passed it the first time around.