Obtaining a German Driving License


Below please find some information on the acceptance of non-German driving licenses in Germany: + Driving licenses from EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway do not have to be transferred if they have been issued before arrival in Germany and if the holder can prove that he/she has stayed in the issuing country for at least 185 days. They are valid within the EU without translation (exception: licenses from Greece). If a foreign driver’s license has expired, it is not valid in Germany either. In this case, it needs to be extended in the issuing country. In case a holder of an EU driving license wants to change it into a German driving license, this is possible at the “Führerscheinstelle” of your German place of residence. The costs are about € 50. Please also note regulations in the issuing country. + Non-EU driving licenses are valid for a maximum of six months , starting from the date of arrival in Germany. Along with a license, a translation of the license is required and should be provided by the Automobile club or an approved translator. The translation must be carried with your driving license at all times. + Drivers caught by the police without a valid driving license will be fined and can be banned from driving for a period of approx. 3-4 months. The car might also be confiscated on the spot in this scenario. Please note, that depending on the circumstances, driving without a valid license can be considered a criminal offense (and not only an administrative one), thus resulting in more than just a monetary penalty. + Any damage caused by a driver holding an invalid license will not be covered by liability insurance. + A preliminary license (temporary license), as used in some states, is not valid in Germany. + Holders of Non-EU driving licenses will have to obtain a German license when driving for a period exceeding six months. Depending on the country of origin of your driving license, a simple transfer might be sufficient. In many cases, however, you will have to take both theoretical and practical driving lessons and tests. Please check below which procedure is pertinent for you. + Please note: Any driver’s licenses that need to be transferred must have a date of issue on it; otherwise we advise you to obtain confirmation from the driver’s license office in your home country about the date of issue. + Holders of driving licenses issued by any other than the below-mentioned states need to take both theoretical and practical driving tests to obtain a German driving license. The inter-state agreements upon which the below-mentioned list is based change continuously. We will check in each individual case which procedure will apply to your license. + Please note: It is not possible to avoid this procedure by getting a new driving license from a state in the US which has easier transfer rules with Germany. The acceptance of a driving license issued after first entry into Germany is tied to a stay of at least 6 months (185 days) in the country of origin of the license before re-entering Germany. + Driving licenses obtained less than two years before arrival will always be considered “beginner’s licenses” which will lead to a probationary driving period of 24 months at maximum. This also applies to EU-driving licenses. To avoid receiving a provisional license, the transferee can provide a letter of the original issuing authority confirming the date of issue of his/her first driver’s license . + Holders of US driving licenses with an approaching expiration date need to transfer their US driving license into a German license before it expires. Otherwise, the license holder will be considered a beginner and have to take both theoretical and practical lessons and tests. + International driving licenses are valid only in combination with a valid original driving license from your home country – they cannot be transferred into a German license. + For short-term stays of up to 12 months , authorities might apply an exceptional regulation to keep the foreign license. This needs to be checked individually with the authority in charge and is not applicable to longer or extended stays. + Time Schedule: to transfer a driving license without any tests takes about four weeks . When tests are required, the procedure may take up to three months . Therefore, we highly recommend starting the application process early.

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