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Brazilian Driving Licence for Foreign Nationals (São Paulo)


I thought this would be a useful post for those who want to apply for a Brazilian Driving License in Sao Paulo. I am a British national who has been living in SP for 3 years. I applied and got my license 1 month ago. The experience was a good one!! I hope this information helps you!

I believe I read somewhere in this forum that if you dont apply within the first 6 months of living in Brazil it becomes more difficult to apply for one. This is not the truth. It is exactly the same as I applied after almost 3 years of living here.

So in order to get the licence you need to-

Get your driving license translated by an officially recognised translator. Brits, this is just your driving licence card, not the paper part. Dont need paper part translated.

To get an idea of costs it cost me R$65.

Go to DETRAN site and book an appointment (I think it is marked under estrangeiros) It will tell you the documents to bring but off the top of my head it was-

Original Driving Licence along with photocopy
Certified translation of driving licence and a photocopy
Original RNE card and a photocopy
Original CPF and photocopy
Some sort of bill showing your address. However I didnt have this as pretty much everything is in my wifes name. So therefore you can provide the original bill in her name plus a photocopy plus your Brazilian Marriage certificate and a photocopy.

Photocopies do not need to be stamped at Cartorios. Hooray!!

If you forget to make a photocopy when you arrive at DETRAN, dont worry they have a photocopy room. Prices are reasonable and there were no big queues.

So you have marked your meeting online and have all the documents. You go to DETRAN at the appointment time. More than likely it will be in Armenia (where I went). The metro station is close to the building (5 mins walk).

When you arrive through the front gate go into the building on your left side. After entering the doors you will see the first queue on your right side (1 o clock). When i went the queues were only max 10 mins waiting time. Get in that queue. Give the lady your documents. She will then stamp them and send them upstairs. She will then send you to the area behind you to do finger prints and photo.
Then in the same room another lady will give you back the documents and then enter them in the system. She then will ask you to pay R$90.80. My card, a brazilian HSBC debit card, they didnt accept so I had to go upstairs to Banco de Brasil. Who again didnt accept my card only Banco de Brasil or cash. I had R$90.40 and they luckily accepted it. So take cash with you for this part!!!

Then you have to go and have a medical and Psicotecnico test nearby which you dont need to book in advance, so can go straight away. Its about 10 mins walk away. If I remember correctly it cost around R$160 and they accept debit /credit cards!! If you wear glasses make sure you bring them. They then will do some basic tests.

Then in the same place you will do this psicotecnico test. It involves drawing loads of straight lines for 5 mins. Then another test with images duration 20 mins (eg a drawing of a horse without a tail and 4 pictures of tails at various different angles, it then gradually gets more difficult). However this is not hard.

The lady then will inform you that you passed and tell you some interesting information about what type of person you are by those lines you drew. This part I found interesting as a lot of it for me was true!! Made the fee worthwhile.

You will then pay them and get the certificate. Now walk back to DETRAN and get in the first queue you went to. Give them the certificate. They will then give you a document saying come back in after 2 weeks or so to collect your licence. So this day in total on arrival at DETRAN took me 2 hours 30 mins. So there is no actual driving test, or written test you will need to take!!. Yes this is correct, you will not do a driving or written test in order to receive the Brazilian driving license!! Great news!!

Then when you go back to get your license its the first building straight in front of the gates. Show them the document DETRAN gave you and your original RNE and you will receive your Brazilian Driving License. Queueing time for this part 10 mins!
Congratulations you now have a Brazilian Driving License!!

Additional info about owning a car in Sao Paulo-

1. You insure the car not the driver.
2. Depending on the last number of your cars number plate, 1 day a week you will not be able to drive your car during rush hour or you will get an R$85 fine and some points.Excludes weekends and bank holidays.
3. Once every year your car will need to be booked in to do an emission test that is obligatory and costs R$45. Amazingly just for the city of Sao Paulo. So if for example you live in Campinas you are exempt. Again this is booked through DETRAN site. I have head that you can claim this money back now through DETRAn but havent done this. Again the deadline month depends the last digit of your number plate.
4. There is no MOT like the UK. So that is why you see some rusty deathtraps on the roads.

All this information above is about my experiences, which was a pleasant one. If anyone has additional information to add/correct please feel free to. Hope this helps you.