How to register for driving lessons in Quebec?

January 8, 2024
école de conduite à Montréal
Whether you are a long-time resident of Quebec or have just arrived in this beautiful province, the ability to drive is essential for your daily life. In this article, we will detail step by step how you can register for driving courses in Quebec, focusing on the process administered by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). We will also cover the nuances between the procedures for Quebec residents and for newcomers, making sure to provide useful links and practical tips to facilitate your journey towards obtaining your driver’s license.


What is the SAAQ?

The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is a governmental organization responsible for the administration of the automobile insurance regime in Quebec. It manages insurance for bodily injuries related to road accidents, vehicle registration, the issuance of driver’s licenses, and ensures road safety through initiatives and driving exams. The SAAQ thus plays a key role in the regulation and safety of road transport in the province.

 

Registration Process for Quebec Residents

The renewal of your learner’s permit should ideally start a few weeks before its expiration date. Waiting until the last minute could lead to a period without a valid permit, which would limit your ability to drive and practice. The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is the organization to contact to start this process.

 

Practical Tips for Renewal

Minimum Age:
You must be at least 16 years old to start driving training. If you are under 18, consent from a parent or guardian is required.

Choosing a Recognized Driving School:
Select a driving school recognized by the SAAQ. You can find a list on the SAAQ website. Make sure the school offers the training program recognized by the SAAQ.

Registration in the Driving Training Program:
Contact the chosen school for registration or register online. The program typically includes 24 hours of theory and 15 hours of practice.

Obtaining the Learner Driver’s Permit:
Before starting practical training, you must obtain a learner driver’s permit. For this, pass an eye exam and a basic driving knowledge test at a SAAQ service center. You must also provide identification and pay a fee for the permit.

Theoretical Training:
The theoretical training covers road rules, road signs, basic automobile mechanics, and advice on responsible driving.

Practical Training:
After completing a part of the theoretical training, you will begin practical training. You will learn basic driving skills, such as maneuvering the vehicle, parking, driving under different conditions, etc.

Passing the Theoretical Exam:
After completing the theoretical training, you must pass the theoretical exam at the SAAQ.

Passing the Practical Exam:
Once you have completed the required hours of practical training and after a minimum waiting period, you can schedule the practical driving test. This exam evaluates your ability to drive safely and according to road rules.

Obtaining the Driver’s License:
By passing the practical exam, you will obtain a driver’s license, which will first be a probationary license before becoming a regular license after a determined period and without major infractions.

Follow-up and Improvement:
It is advisable to continue practicing and improving your driving skills even after obtaining your license.

 

Procedure for Newcomers

Evaluation of the Validity of the Foreign License:
If you already have a valid driver’s license from another country, first check if the SAAQ has a reciprocity agreement with that country. Reciprocity agreements often allow the exchange of a foreign license for a Quebec license without undergoing the exams.


Exchange of the Foreign License (if applicable):

If your country has an agreement with Quebec, you can exchange your foreign license for a Quebec license. For this, you will need to provide documents such as your foreign license, proof of identity, and perhaps an official translation of your license. You may also need to take an eye exam and, in some cases, a driving test.


Registration for Driving Courses (if necessary):

If your license is not exchangeable or if you have never had a license, you will need to follow the standard process for obtaining a license in Quebec, which includes registering for a SAAQ-recognized driving course.


Obtaining a Learner Driver’s Permit:

If you need to go through driving training, you must obtain a learner driver’s permit by passing an eye exam and a theoretical test at the SAAQ.


Theoretical and Practical Training:

Follow the theoretical and practical training as described in the process for Quebec residents.


Passing the Theoretical and Practical Exams:

After completing the training, take the SAAQ’s theoretical and practical exams to obtain your driver’s license.


Obtaining the Driver’s License:

By passing the exams, you will first obtain a probationary driving license, which will then be converted into a regular license after a determined period and without major infractions.


Required Documents:

For all these steps, you will need to provide documents such as your foreign driver’s license, proof of identity and residence in Quebec, and, if applicable, an official translation of your license.


Consult the SAAQ:

It is important to consult the SAAQ for specific information about your situation, including the required documents and the steps to follow.

 

Conclusion

Whether you are beginning your driving journey or adapting your existing skills to Quebec standards, learning to drive is an exciting step towards independence. The SAAQ is there to guide you at every step of the process, ensuring a safe and effective learning experience. Safe travels!