How to get a Category D driver’s license

How and where do I get my Category D driver’s license, with or without a Category B or C?


It is not just the possession of a driving licence that authorises you to drive a particular vehicle, but the category that is open on it. If you want to drive a bus, you need to study for category D. But due to a lack of information, many drivers do not know what is required of them. So, you can find statements on the internet that without B and C you can’t take retraining for D. Or that if you have both marks in your license you can pass your exams automatically. They also say that in 2022 the driving range was canceled, and now you have to drive in the city. Is it true or not? What are the driving requirements for applicants to open a “bus” category on their license? Where and how do you go about training, rolling hours, and taking exams? Answers to these and many other questions are devoted to our article.

Category D on your license – for which vehicles?

The issues of driving categories and subcategories are regulated by the most important legal act in the field of road traffic in Russia – the Federal Law № 196 “On road safety”. Exactly it defines the variety of categories and types of transport, which can be driven having this or that mark in the driving license.

Category “D” – vehicles designed to carry passengers and having more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat; category “D” vehicles coupled with a trailer, the permissible maximum mass of which does not exceed 750 kilograms;

Thus, category D gives the right to drive buses with more than 8 passenger seats – these are:

  • shuttle buses,
  • PAZs,
  • minibuses,
  • passenger Gazelles NEXT and others.

If you open the main category D, all subcategories will be automatically opened for you (point 7, article 25 of the Federal Law On road safety). In our case is D1 – it gives the right to ride on buses that have from 9 to 16 seats (excluding the driver’s seat). And, accordingly, the same buses with trailers with weight up to 750 kg.

But DE is a special category in driving license. It can not be opened automatically, if you learn on D. But as general information, the DE marking in driving license allows you to drive buses with trailers more than 750 kg (so called “accordion buses” or articulated buses). We will not consider this category, because the requirements for its opening are quite high. You must have three valid driver’s license stamps B, C and D, and you must have at least 12 months of driving experience.

Discovering Category D on your license

Can I open category D?

Now let’s look at some of the nuances of opening a “bus” category if you have those other marks on your driving license.

Having a B and C?

Yes, there should be no problems.

But even if you already have a B and C, just open a D will not work. The essence of opening a new category is that you would have to study in a driving school again, pass internal exams, and then take an exam in traffic police on the theory and practice of bus driving – the same way as while getting driver’s license for the first time. That is, the D category will not be automatically opened for you on your license.

If you have only B, without C?

It is also possible, but more complicated.

Retraining from category B to D immediately is practiced by most Russian driving schools. However, in 2022 many of them require a candidate for bus driver to have B and C driving licenses at the same time. Therefore if you have no open category C, you will be offered to study for it at first, and only then retraining for “bus” category. It is up to you whether to agree or not. But in this case training will cost twice as much.

It is also not uncommon when a driving school refuses to accept candidates without valid driving license at all. Meanwhile, by the law you are not obliged to have neither driving license, nor a category (subcategories) opened in it for training on D.

18. To pass the exam and obtain a Russian national driver’s license, the candidate must submit the following documents:

d) Russian national driver’s license (if available);

In other words, you are not required to have a driver’s license at all in order to pass the theory and practice exams at the traffic police. It is enough to be over 21 years old and have no medical contraindications for driving buses. Neither driving experience is of no importance. Nevertheless, before the exam in GIBDD, you must attend a driving school, and even there you may be not taken for training simply because you do not have a driving license or your driving experience is less than 3 years. Therefore, when you apply to such an organization you will be simply refused to conclude a contract for educational services.

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Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do! The only way out is to look for a driving school, where they teach to D without any additional conditions. Or you can study at least for B or C at first.

Requirements to those who pass Category D driving test

Before taking the “bus” category training you need to find out if you meet the requirements that the law imposes on candidates for the driver’s category D.

Among such requirements are:

  • The minimum age of the driver – 21 years (paragraph 2 of Art. 26 of the Federal Law on Road Safety), and for military service – from the age of 19 years (paragraph 4 of the same article),
  • availability of medical certificate 003-B/y and absence of medical contraindications to driving a passenger vehicle,
  • The driver candidate has not been deprived of the license,
  • availability of a certificate of completion of a driving school training course.

So, from March 1, 2022, all driving schools transfer in advance the list of students to traffic police, and there they check every candidate for drivers for passed medical examination and absence of deprived driving license in the list. If a restriction is found, you simply will not be allowed to pass the practical part of the driving exam. You can check whether you have been deprived of your license, or not, directly on the website of the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate.

There is also information in the network, that the candidates for a category D driving license need to have a driving experience of not less than 3 years. However, you will not find such a requirement in any of the normative legal acts. The driving experience does not matter, but the age of the driver must be at least 21 years old (or 19 for servicemen) – otherwise, the exam will not be admitted to the State Automobile Inspection.

Requirements for Category D trainees

How and where to receive the driving license with a category D in 2022 – the instruction

Here we got to the main part of our article. In it we will tell you what are the stages of opening a “bus” category in the license, where to study, what to pass and how much it will cost.

Step 1: Study at a driving school

The first step is to choose a driving school where you will be trained in theory and practical bus driving skills. Education services are not free. But there is a chance you may be able to study for free, if you qualify for a D license from the military recruitment office, job center or technical school.

Any driving school is not suitable. When choosing it, it is necessary to look at the availability of a valid license, as well as whether they teach in a/sh for the category D. It is most convenient to find an educational organization in a special section on the website of the traffic police. There you can also find out if the driving school has a license, where it is located and how to contact it.

The educational organization can offer you two options for D-category training:

  • As part of a group with an instructor,
  • On the online platform (by username and password).

The number of hours of the course depends on the driving school and on whether you have a valid B or C category. On average we give you from 70 to 200 hours of theory and from 40 to 100 hours of practice behind the wheel of a bus or minibus. Training lasts from 1.5 to 3 months. In parallel, in extracurricular hours, you will have to independently learn traffic rules tickets and roll hours to improve the practical skills of driving passenger vehicles.

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There is one subtlety here. The paid “package” of training of some driving schools includes 5-15 practical lessons with the instructor. For each extracurricular activity is usually asked to pay extra 500-1000 rubles. Consider this point. Probably it will be better to find an individual instructor on the advice of friends, acquaintances or those whom you trust.

Step 2: pass the internal exams.

There will be two such rehearsal exams in 2022. The first one is on the knowledge of traffic rules theory. The second one is directly on the driving of passenger transport. Only passing both exams will guarantee you a certificate of successful retraining for D category.

Theoretical examination for candidates for bus driver consists of answering questions on the ticket. The number of tickets, questions in them and the number of allowed mistakes is established by each driving school separately. Somewhere candidates pull two tickets, somewhere just one. In some organizations you are not allowed to make any mistakes during the exam. Somewhere are more loyal, and may close eyes for 1-2 mistakes. But usually the internal knowledge tests at driving school is much harder than at State traffic inspectorate. Especially for those drivers who pass “passenger” category D.

After you successfully pass the theory, you can be sent to the driving range. There you will take a qualifying examination on bus driving skills. Among exercises you will have to put vehicle on parking place, pass up and down, turn on limited space and others. In the same way you will have to drive in the city, avoiding mistakes.

Practical exam in driving school for D

Step 3: Passing the exams at the traffic police

After successful check of the theory and practical skills of driving a bus in a driving school, the final test begins – an exam in the MREDI of the traffic police. In practice there are two variants of passing: either as a part of group from a driving school, or separately (having disconnected from a/sh).

Exam traffic police for category D includes:

  • Theory – knowledge of drivers of traffic rules, the Basic provisions for the admission of vehicles, rules of the Administrative Code, the Criminal Code, safe driving, the rules of first aid (paragraph 12 of RFPRF 1097).
  • Practice consists of driving and 19 maneuvers, which the candidate must demonstrate to the inspector of the traffic police directly behind the wheel of the bus.

Theoretical examination takes place in a subdivision of the MREC. The driver is sitting in front of a computer with 20 questions from a randomly selected ticket. The answers must be given in 30 minutes. At this exam at the SMVI one cannot peep, look for answers on the Internet, take out cheat sheets and talk with a neighbor – otherwise you will be asked to leave.

At the theory exam is allowed to make a maximum of 2 mistakes (for each of which you will be added 5 additional questions, and when answering them wrong no longer). If you don’t pass the theory exam – retake is free of charge. But it is possible not earlier than in 7 days and not later than in 30 days after the failed attestation. And if you don’t pass the theory from the third attempt – you can come again not earlier than in a month (point 11(2) of PRRF № 1097).

Now about the practical part. Since April 1, 2021 the candidates for drivers do not pass the session. Instead of this, the traffic police will conduct a single practical exam – on the route in the city. The purpose of the innovation is to see how the driver navigates on public roads, in the flow of other cars, by the signs and markings.

Here is the list of all practical maneuvers, including category D:

Maneuvers of the traffic police exam

You will be sent to retake the test immediately for one gross mistake (for example, if you did not buckle up). Failure to pass will also threaten for 5 penalty points. If you fail the traffic police exam, the second attempt at driving in the city will be between 7 and 60 days from the date of failure. And if you do not pass the “city” from the third attempt – the next time will be not earlier than in a month.

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Step 4: Get a license with a new category

If you cope with the practice, and before that you passed the theory – the inspector will sign the conclusion about the successfully passed test. It will contain the date when you can come to the traffic police for the opening of category D in the license.

There are no special difficulties: you come to the MRII, stand in a line, give your documents to the window, and wait for the license to be ready (you cannot use State Services to get it). You do not need photos; they will be taken at the MREO right on the spot. As a result, your license will have a new open category that allows you to drive buses.

Can I prepare for the D Exam by myself?

Unfortunately, no.

18. To pass the exam and obtain a Russian national driver’s license, the candidate must submit the following documents:

e) a document confirming the completion in accordance with the established procedure of the relevant professional training programs for drivers of vehicles of the relevant categories and subcategories;

Thus, in 2022 it is not possible to pass the examinations of the State Traffic Police after self-training. The law requires that a candidate for category D must have studied in a driving school, passed internal examinations and received a certificate of successful completion of vocational training.

Preparation for the bus exams

Will I have to pass a driving test?

The medical certificate on form 003-B/U is also among obligatory documents, which you will need to present to the State Automobile Inspection Service. But in fact you will need the medical certificate even earlier – at the stage of examination in a driving school. Very often such certificate is required at conclusion of an agreement on training.

Note that the medical examination for bus drivers is more exacting than for drivers of passenger cars. The candidate must not have any medical contraindications for driving vehicles of categories D and D1 – all these contraindications are listed in the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No 1604.

  • Vision 0,8 in the best eye and 0,4 in the worst eye,
  • blindness of one eye,
  • height of the driver is less than 1 meter 50 cm,
  • Deformity of the hand or foot,
  • missing fingers or phalanges, etc.

You have to have psychiatrist and narcologist by the place of your residence permit (registration) or the place of stay (clause 7, article 23 of Federal Law About road safety). Otherwise the traffic police may pick on you and send you for confirmation of the results.

Note that as of March 1, 2022 there is a new medical certificate for your driver’s license. If the narcologist finds at least 3 clinical signs of alcohol or drug use, he will send you to take two paid tests for the CTI. Accordingly, if the chronic addiction is confirmed, then you will not be able to open a new category D, because in the report you will indicate this contraindication. Then you will inevitably get registered at the narcologist and risk getting your license revoked.

How much does it cost to open a Category D license?

The costs for getting a “bus” category on your license will be made up of tuition at a driving school, the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate Fee, and additional expenses.

Costs as of 2022 are as follows:

  1. The cost of their services to driving schools set independently, there is no state regulation of prices – because of this the cost of learning the category D in the regions ranges from 20,000 to 40,000 rubles, and in Moscow from 40,000 to 60,000 rubles,
  2. Passing school exams – you may be charged from 500 to 1,000 rubles for each retake,
  3. Practical driving lessons are also not free of charge; the average fee for buses is from 1,000 to 2,000 rubles, depending on the region,
  4. Medical certificate of the driver’s state of health – from 1,000 to 4,000 rubles, not including paid tests,
  5. State duty for opening a new category D in the license – 2,000 rubles (or 1,400 rubles through the State Service portal).

You can also be offered all sorts of “help” and “easy” routes to pass the practice. We do not recommend you to buy the license for money. Firstly, it is unsafe and criminally punishable (Art. 291 of the Criminal Code), and secondly, it is dangerous in terms of risking the lives and health of future passengers, because you will manage the bus – and this is a huge responsibility.

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How to open a driver’s license category “D”

The category that is opened in the driving license (D) means the type of transport vehicles (vehicles) that the Driving license holder has the right to drive. At the same time, driving such a vehicle, which is not included in the specified category, is equated to such a concept as driving without a license. In this situation, the driver will have to pay a fine, the amount of which is in the range of 5000-15000 rubles.

How to open the category D driving license

In today’s article, we will consider in detail why category D is needed, what vehicles can be driven with this category and how to open it.

What kind of vehicles need category D?

Group “D” vehicles include:

  • buses designed for passenger transportation, which are equipped for this purpose with seats (number – more than 8 pieces);
  • vehicles of this category that have a trailer weighing not more than 750 kg. The driving license of category “D” authorizes the driver to drive any type of buses for the carriage of 8 or more passengers and to fit a trailer with the maximum mass of 750 kg on such a bus.
  • The subcategory “D1” includes small size buses that have 9 – 16 seats for passengers, as well as these buses, equipped with a light trailer (the weight is not more than 750 kg). To drive these vehicles you will need an open category “D1” driving licence;
  • the subcategory “DE” includes buses that have a heavy trailer (weighing more than 750 kg), as well as articulated buses that consist of two passenger compartments connected to each other “accordion”. The operation of these vehicle combinations requires the driver to have a category “DE” on his or her license;
  • subcategory “D1E” includes buses of small size that have from 9 to 16 seats for passengers, which are equipped with a heavy trailer at the back, and the weight of such vehicles together with the trailer is within 12 tonnes. In this case the accent is made on the fact that the said trailer cannot be used for passenger transportation and the total weight of the train does not exceed 12 tonnes.

Peculiarities of driving license with open category “D”:

  1. Drivers with an open category “DE” in their license can drive vehicles falling under the category “D1E”;
  2. Holders of category D driver’s license can drive vehicles that belong to category “D1”.

How and where to get Category D

If you need to get a category that allows you to drive a bus, you will need to spend a lot of time and effort, because you will need to attend for 2 months of driving school, thoroughly learn the traffic regulations, as well as learn the techniques of driving a bus.

In brief, to obtain a driving license with an open category “D”, the following conditions must be met:

  • Have a license with an open category C or B;
  • have not less than three years of driving experience;
  • To pay tuition in a driving school;
  • have a medical certificate.

If we consider the whole procedure in detail, to receive category “D” the driver needs to act step by step.

Stage 1: Training in a driving school

To receive category “D” the driver needs to have documents, which will confirm that he has the driving experience not less than 3 years. Such documents are license (category B), technical certificate, protocols, etc.

Training at a driving school costs 30000-40000 rubles and takes 2.5 months, after that you will need to pass the exam. For qualitative preparation for the examination you should attend 24 theoretical lessons and 14 driving lessons (practical classes) in a driving school.

It should be noted that most driving schools provide LAS buses for driving training.

Practical lessons are very important because driving a bus is a much more complicated process than driving an ordinary car. Here there are nuances, which you will be taught by instructors.

Stage 2. The exam

When you finish the course at the driving school (theoretical and practical lessons), you need to pass the exam.

Please note that before passing the exam you will need to provide your passport and medical book. Without these documents, you simply will not be allowed to take the exam.

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Please note that if you obtain the category “D”, you have the right to take the exam for the category “C” at the same time. It is worth taking advantage of such an opportunity, because this category is not superfluous in the license.

Stage 3. Getting the category

After passing (successful) exam, you need to come to a driving school with an old license, take a picture and obtain a license with a category “D”.

The exams and driving license issuance is executed in the State Traffic Police (GIBDD) examination offices within the limits of RF subject, in which the potential driver is registered (registered) by the place of residence, place of temporary residence or stay.

At the request of a person who wants to get the category “D”, the exam with the subsequent issuance of the required category of driving license can be held in the examination department at the location of the training organization (driving school), where the driver was trained.

At what age is it possible to get the “D” category

Category D and D1 are only available to people who have reached the age of 21.

Driving vehicles falling under category “DE” is allowed to persons who have the right to drive vehicles of category “D” for a period of not less than 1 year.

Category DE

Vehicles falling into subcategory “D1E” can be driven by those drivers who have the right to drive vehicles of category “D” or subcategory “D1” for a period of not less than 1 year.

Persons in military service who have completed an appropriate training according to the program of professional training of drivers of category “D” and subcategory “D1” can be admitted to the exam when they reach the age of 20.

Until such persons reach the age of 21, the driving licenses issued to them allow them to drive vehicles of category “D” or subcategory “D1”, which belong exclusively to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and other military units, as well as to bodies providing military service in them.

What exams need to be passed for category D

The exams for the category “D” may be passed only after passing the corresponding training.

This training is conducted in two phases and includes a theoretical and practical component.

Category D exams

Theoretical part is classes at a driving school, where, under the guidance of a teacher, one studies traffic regulations, structure of the vehicle of category “D”, basic rules for passenger transportation, basics of safe bus operation, as well as the basics of first aid and resolution of conflict situations.

Practical lessons are aimed at teaching driving and at the initial stages are held on the driving range with an instructor from the driving school. During such lessons the future drivers master knowledge and train to start on a rise, make U-turns, drive into a box, etc. In the second phase, you train your future drivers on the road.

Category “D”: stages of the test

The Category “D” examination is held in two stages, consisting of a theoretical and practical exam on the driving track.

Theoretical examination – the tickets for Category “D” are the same as for Category B-C. So you can pass the theoretical part to obtain the category C and D at the same time.

2. Driving (practical part on the autodrome) – here the driver must do one of the following tasks (at the choice of the examiner):

Variant №1
  • start from the place and then stop on the rise;
  • parking (parallel) performed in reverse;
  • “serpentine”.
Variant No. 2
  • start from the place and then stop on the rise;
  • parking (parallel) performed in reverse;
  • U-turn.
Variant 3
  • start from the place and then stop on the rise;
  • driving into the box;
  • “serpentine”.

The final stage of the practical part of the exam is driving in the city.

Examination for the category D in the city

In conclusion we would like to note that there are no fundamental differences between passing exams for the category “D” in comparison with the exam for the category “B”. However it is very important to receive skills of adequate driving a bus, because it is much more difficult to drive such vehicle than a usual passenger car.

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