How to drive a car in Quebec

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Mobility is a vital element in adapting to Montreal life. It is true that public transport serves the capital quite well. However, if you want to use your own vehicle or simply move by car, there are 3 cases:

  1. If you already have a foreign driver’s license

  • When the stay in the province is short term or for a stay of 6 months maximum, the use of your license is possible provided it is in French or English. Permits for another language must be converted into international permits if possible.
  • If you live in the province of Quebec for a long stay, you will have to convert your license. On the website of the SAAQ (Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec), there is a number to call to speak to a counselor who will give the steps to follow in order to be in good standing.

2. If you do not have a driver’s license yet and you want to pass it in Quebec

  • The first step is to enroll in a driving school and start courses divided into 4 phases. A first exam passed within the driving school at the end of the 1st phase gives right to the successful issue of a learner’s license. This document allows the owner to drive a vehicle but only with a person who has been a permit holder for at least 2 years in Québec. Then, it will be necessary to count 11 months or more, before obtaining a probationary license after an examination at the SAAQ.
  • The 2nd step is to drive the vehicle for 24 months. During this year the 4 points of the license must not be withdrawn or lost, otherwise it slows down for various reasons the obtaining of the driving license.
    If you have a driver’s license and you do not want to buy a car

3. If you have a driver’s license and you do not want to buy a car

  • There is the possibility of using community cars such as Commune auto or Car 2 Go
  • There are also car rentals for the day, the weekend or for a fixed term

In conclusion, it is not the alternatives that are lacking when it comes to driving a car in Quebec. As always, you just need to be able to identify the situation that suits you.

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