Uganda Driving Permit & Understanding driving permit classifications

If you are planning on adding a lorry to your car collection with the dream of either driving it to the farm or construction site one day, you should also be planning on acquiring another class of driving permit for your dream to come to life.

Andrew Musoke did not go to driving school to learn how to drive. He is a self-taught driver who only went to Naguru Police testing grounds to go through the procedure of getting a permit.
Unlike today, where some people say they did not have their driving skills tested before getting a driving permit, back in the day it was different.

The rule to test driving skills was compulsory and followed to the dot, never mind that people were not confident enough or seemed too to undergo the test.

Nowadays, it is almost conventional that at the end of a driving course with a driving school, the school will charge you an extra fee, between Shs150,000 and Shs250,000 ‘to be assisted in acquiring a driving permit’.
However, Musoke says in the past, “Many times the examiner would tell you to drive and then observe you to see if you respect road signs. He would even trick you by asking you to stop somewhere you are not allowed to stop. If you stopped, you would have failed,” he explains.

Musoke says he got his first driving permit in 1988. It was a class B permit, which allowed him to drive saloon cars. Over the years, he has been able to acquire different classes of drivers’ permit.
Therefore, on any permit is the classification which means you might have money to buy a Tata truck but you are not allowed to drive it unless you have the required class of permit to do so as per the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998.

Permit Classes

The permit classifies that for one to qualify for any permit, they have to be 18 years and older. To get permits above Class B, Musoke says it is imperative that a driver is older and has gained experience.
• According to the law, Group A is given to motorcycles, Group B to allow one drive motorcars and dual-purpose motor vehicles, Group CM—medium goods motor vehicles and heavy tractors and Group CH—heavy goods vehicles.
• Group DL allows one to drive light omnibuses, Group DM to drive medium omnibuses, Group DH for heavy omnibuses, Group E for a combination of vehicles, Group F for pedestrian-controlled vehicles, Group G for engineering plant vehicles and Group I for hover vehicles.
• “An applicant for a Group E or G driving permit shall, before being granted the driving permit, hold a driving permit in Group B, CM, CH, DL, DM or DH which equates to maximum permissible weight or the maximum permissible number of passengers to the combination of vehicles or the engineering plant which the applicant proposes to drive,” the law further explains.
• It further states that a driving permit for Group B, CM, CH, DL, DM or DH permits a person to drive a combination of motor vehicles if the permissible maximum weight of the drawn motor vehicle does not exceed seven hundred and fifty kilogrammes or the un-laden weight of the drawing motor vehicle, whichever is the less.
• Musoke says he was able to acquire a high-class driving permit over the years after acquiring experience and at the time when he was given a job in a company that deals in agricultural produce.
“When I was hired, part of my job was to drive tractors and I needed to have a permit to drive such vehicles,” he explains as he displays his permits which he has renewed over the years. He adds that it is important for one to have a permit because it is a document that shows or proves that one is qualified to drive a given vehicle. He adds, “I have an H, DM, DL, CH, CM, B driving permit.”

What the law says

According to the law, one needs to have a driving permit or a valid learner driving permit endorsed in respect to that class of motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant.
It states, in part “Any person driving a motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant on a road shall, upon a request by a police officer produce his or her driving permit or valid learner driving permit within forty-eight hours after the request.”

The law emphasises that no person who owns or who has charge of a motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant of any group shall allow or permit any person to drive the motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant unless the person driving is the holder of a valid driving permit or a valid learner driving permit endorsed in respect of that group of motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant.

Driving permits are classified according to size and weight of a motorcycle or motor vehicle. Richard Ssewagudde, a driving instructor at AA Driving School, explains that there is the Class A permit, which is given to motorcycle riders.

“To acquire or qualify for a driving permit, one has to be 18 years old above. If you are to acquire a ‘Class A permit’, you have to know how to ride a motor cycle,” he explains. For one to qualify for a Class B driving permit, you need to know how to drive a saloon car or one that sits at least two people.”
“No person shall be entitled to more than one driving permit, but the driving permit may be endorsed to allow a driver one or more groups of motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant,” the law adds.


• If you are in possession of a three year driving permit, you have two years during which you can renew their permit. One in possession of a one year driving permit has four years during which one can renew their permit. If any of these two does not renew their respective permits within the respective periods, the penalty is for them to start the whole permit application process afresh.
• You report to police and get a letter.
• You place an advert in the newspapers.
• You submit these two to URA and pay Shs41,000.
• After three to four working days, you pay Shs30,000 at Face technologies upon which you are given a temporary driving permit
• You pick the driving permit card at the end of a week.


• You pay Shs49,000 at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). Of this amount, Shs24,000 is for a learners’ permit. Shs25,000 is for test fees.
• You then pay Shs30,000 at Face Technologies. Your biometrics are taken and you are issued a learners’ permit.
• You take this to the Inspectorate of Vehicles (IOV) for a driving test.
• When you pass the test, you are informed. Likewise when you fail, you are told. For the successful learner, the IOV documents your results and sends them to URA in three days.
• At the lapse of the three days you go back to URA and pay for a “full’ permit. You either pay Shs60,000 for three years or Shs56,000 for one year.
• Three or five days later, you go to Face Technologies and pay Shs60,000. You are issued a temporary drivers’ permit which is valid for one month.
• A week later, you can pick your new permit.

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