Driver's licence, converting a foreign driver's licence

Anyone holding a valid foreign driver's licence may drive a car in Germany as per their licence if they do not permanently reside in Germany.

Permanent residence is assumed if someone is living in Germany for personal and / or professional commitments, usually, i.e. for at least 185 days a year.

If you hold a valid EU / EEA driver’s licence, you don’t need a German driver’s licence, even after your permanent residence in Germany has been established.

If you hold a valid driver’s licence from another country (outside the EU / EEA states), you can drive a vehicle for another six months after your permanent residence in Germany is established. After this time, you will need a German driver’s licence. You must thus promptly apply for one based on your foreign licence.

Notes:
  • On request, the licensing authorities can extend the deadline by up to six months if the applicant proves that he / she will not be having their normal place of residence in Germany for more than twelve months.
  • If you return to Germany and are not yet the German legal age for the driver’s licence you hold (e.g. 18 years for category B / BE), you cannot, as of 2011-07-01, drive on the roads here. You can only convert your driver’s licence to a German licence if you are the minimum age applicable in Germany, and your foreign driver’s licence is still valid. You can also lodge the application beforehand. And as the holder of a category B / BE licence, you can drive accompanied by another licence-holder once you turn 17.

Regionalisation

Change

Enter your place of residence:

Responsible body

Fahrerlaubnisbehörde der Stadtverwaltung oder des Landratsamtes (licensing authority of the municipality or district office)

Service details

Prerequisite

Driver's licence from an EU / EEA state

A driver's licence from an EU or EEA state enables the holder to drive vehicles in Germany, even after they have established their normal place of residence in Germany, insofar as they have a clear track record in Germany.

If, however, you wish to have a German driver's licence, you will be able to obtain this under less strict conditions. You do not need to prove your physical or mental ability (exception: conversion with extension of the validity of a Class C or D driver's licence, including its trailer and / or sub-classes), nor whether you have undergone training in immediate life-saving measures or first aid. Driving school training with a final skills test is similarly not required for a German licence to be issued.

Driver's licence from a non-EU / EEA state

A German driver's licence is issued under certain conditions without the need for more driving training if the issuing country is named on the list of countries in Appendix 11 of the Driver’s Licence Ordinance.

Note: As other requirement relaxations apply for certain states listed in Appendix 11 of the Driver's Licence Ordinance, it is recommended you ask the licensing authorities about the exact methods of converting driver's licences if you hold a "Non-EU / EEA driver's licence".

Students in the USA

Driver’s licences acquired during a study trip in the USA can only be converted to a German driver’s licence under relaxed conditions if they are valid at the time of application and listed in Appendix 11 of the Driver’s Licence Ordinance.

Some US states limit the validity of the driver’s licence to the day of departure. If this is the case, an application can be lodged in Germany, including through a representative authorised in writing (e.g. the parents) while the student is still in the USA. In doing so, it must be noted that the authorised representative must have a copy of the US driver’s licence when lodging the application.

Procedure

You must lodge the request in person with the licensing authorities.

Required documents

  • ID card or passport with latest certificate of registration
  • written confirmation of first-time or repeated relocation to the Federal Republic of Germany
  • biometric photo
  • foreign driver's licence with translation, insofar as it is not an EU / EEA driver's licence (translations must be performed by a translator publicly authorised and sworn in Germany or by an accredited automobile club.)
  • If a class C or D driver’s licence, including its trailer and / or sub-categories, is simultaneously extended:
    • proof or certificate of physical and mental aptitude, and
    • proof or certificate of appropriate vision
    • proof that the special requirements in Appendix 5 Point 2 of the Driver’s Licence Ordinance have been met if licence categories D / DE are extended once the holder turns 50
  • for "Non-EU / EEA driver's licences" and those not listed in Appendix 11 to the Driver’s Licence Ordinance, depending on the class requested:
    • proof or certificate of appropriate vision or an eyesight test certificate
    • proof of training in immediate life-saving measures or first aid

Costs

Depending on administrative expense: EUR 35.00 to EUR 43.40

Legal basis

  • § 28 Fahrerlaubnisverordnung (FeV) – Recognition of driver's licences from European Union member states or another state complying with the Convention on the European Economic Area
  • § 29 FeV – Foreign driver’s licences
  • § 30 FeV – Issuing a driver's licence to holders of licences from a European Union member state or another state complying with the Convention on the European Economic Area
  • § 31 FeV – Issuing a driver's licence to holders of licences from outside the European Economic Area
  • § 2 Straßenverkehrsgesetz (StVG) – Driver's licences
  • Tariff sections 126.2, 145, 201, 202.1, 202.2 and if applicable, 126.1 Gebührenordnung für Maßnahmen im Straßenverkehr (GebOSt)

Release note

Based on the German version authorized by Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr