Driving license in Germany

This page contains topics:

  1. Documents a driver must carry while driving
  2. Toursits and Short Term Visitors with International Driver's License
  3. Validity of Driver's License Issued from a non-EU/EEA Country
  4. Validity of Driver's License Issued from an EU/EEA Country
  5. How to Get a New Driver's License in Germany?

To see the different categories (classes) in German driver's license please visit this page.

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Mandatory Documents a Driver Must Keep while driving in Germany

A driver must have following documents:

  1. A valid driving license
  2. Proof of ownership of vehicle (Registration paper in case of your own vehicle or other necessary papers in case of a company-owned vehicle or vehicle on rent.)
  3. Passport (in case of foreign driver). For locals, a driving license issued from a member EU member state acts as limited ID. Having an original ID card is recommended as identification through driver's license will take much longer time. Police have to confirm it from issuing authority through wireless or phone.
  4. Proof of vehicle insurance

Toursits and visitors from any Foreign Country

Toursits and visitors to Germany need an international driver's license issued by their country of origin, country of temporary or permanent residence. In Germany unrestricted license is available at age of 18, while under supervision teens can drive at 17. The minimum age for foreigner visitors to drive is also 18.

If you have an intention for a longer stay in Germany, the following rules apply.

The following information is about car license (class B vehicle or a vehicle with maximum weight of 3500 kg (3.5 t) and with trailor of 750 kg).

To see more details about classes under German driver's license, plesae visit this page.

Driver's License from non-EU/EEA Country

Temporary Stay (up to one year)

If you have a driver's license issued from a non-EU/EEA country, then your license is valid for six months after arrival date in Germany. If you have the intention to stay less than a year but more than six months, your license validity can be extended to further six months.

International driver's license is issued mostly in English language or at least has English language as translation. Such types of international driver's licenses do not require translation in Germany.

However, if you don't have an international version of your local driving license and license is not issued by an EU / EEA state, you would need a German translation of this license.

Translation from any certified interpreter and translator is acceptable. If you can't find any certified interpreter or translator in your area, you can get it translated from any German or international motoring club like ADAC, but they cost higher rates for translations.

If you need some practice to get used to for driving on German roads, you can practice driving skills in specially designed driving training areas (Verkehrsübungsplatze). Please click here to find a driving practicing area (Verkehrsübungsplatz) near your location.

Longer Stay (more than one year)

If your stay is longer than a year, you need to convert your license to a German driver's license.

For conversion process, licenses from different countries/states have different requirements. Some need both theoretical and practical exams, some need one exam and some lucky ones get away with just a simple conversion. Check the following list for conversion of your driving license. If your country/state is not listed in this list, chances are you have to take both theory and practical test.

According to the driving license code (Fahrerlaubnis-Verordnung (FeV)) Annex 11 (para31), the following table lists those states whose driving licenses are fully or partially accepted in Germany for conversion into German driver's license. The columns "Theoretical Exam" and "Practical Exam" also state whether a separate examination is required for conversion. Click here to see the offical German version of driving license code.

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On smaller screens, drag the following table right or left to view full width.

Issuing State Vehicle Class(es) Theoretical Exam Required? Practical Exam Required?
Andorra All No No
Bosnia and Hercegovina A1, A, B No No
French Polynesia All No No
Guernsey All No No
Isle of Man All No No
Israel B No No
Japan All No No
Jersey All No No
Monaco All No No
Namibia 16) A1, A, B, BE, C117), C1E, C17), CE No No
Caledonia All No No
New Zealand 1, 610) No No
Republic of Korea 1, 21) No No
San Marino All No No
Switzerland All No No
Serbia All No No
Singapore All No No
South Africa All No No
Driving licenses issued in the domain of the authorities in Taiwan2) B/BE1) No Yes

Driving Permits from the Australian Territories 11):

Australian Capital Territory C12), R12) No7) No
New South Wales C, R> No7) No
Northern Territory C12), R12) No7) No
Queensland C13), R13) No7) No
South Australia C13), R13) No No
Tasmania C13), R13) No No
Victoria C14), CAR, R14) No No
Western Australia C12), R No7) No

Driving in Germany with US license 1):

Alabama D No No
Arizona G, D, 2 No No
Arkansas D No No
Colorado C, R No No
Connecticut D, 1, 2 Yes No
Delaware D No No
District of Columbia D Yes No
Florida E Yes No
Idaho D No No
Illinois D No No
Indiana Operator License, Chauffeur License3), Public Passenger Chauffeur License3), Commercial Driver License, Probationary Operator´s License Yes No
Iowa C (Noncommercial Operator's License)4),
A (Commercial Driver's License)3),
B (Commercial Driver's License)3),
C (Commercial Driver's License)3)
D (Noncommercial Chauffeur Driver's License mit Endorsement 1, 2 oder 3)3),
Intermediate Driver's License
No No
Kansas C No No
Kentucky D No No
Louisiana E No No
Maryland C (Full License und Provisional License) No No
Massachusetts D No No
Michigan operator No No
Minnesota D Yes7) No
Mississippi operator, R Yes No
Missouri F Yes No
Nebraska O Yes No
New Mexico D No No
North Carolina C Yes No
Ohio D No No
Oklahoma D No No
Oregon C7) Yes No
Pennsylvania C No No
Puerto Rico 3 No No
South Carolina D No No
South Dakota 1 and 2 No No
Tennessee D Yes No
Texas C15), A3), B3) No7) No
Utah D No No
Virginia D, M5), A3), B3), C3) No No
Washington State Driver License8)
Intermediate Driver License9)
No No
West Virginia E No No
Wisconsin D No No
Wyoming C No No

Driving Permits of the Canadian Provinces1):

Alberta 5 No No
British Columbia 5, 6, 7 (Novice Driver's Licence)7)10) No No
Manitoba 56) , 4 Stage F3), 3 Stage F3), 2 Stage F3), 1 Stage F3) No No
New Brunswick 5, 7 Stufe 2 No No
Newfoundland 5 No No
Northwest Territories 5 No No
Nova Scotia 5 No No
Ontario G No No
Prince Edward Island 5 No No
Québec 5 No No
Saskatchewan 1 and 5 No No
Yukon 5 No No

To see the footnotes of the table please scroll to the end of this page.

Driving License Conversion Process

The office responsible for conversion is Führerscheinstelle. If you don't have to take an exam, just visit the office and they will issue a German driving license and retain your old license. You would need the following documents for conversion:

In case, you need theory or practical or both exams, you would usually need to go through an official Fahrschule (driving school) registration. In this case, the procedure is as follows:

Driving License from an EU/EEA Country

If you are a citizen of EU/ EEA country and have a valid driving license from your native country, you can drive with this license, until it expires. If your license expires while your stay in Germany, now you would need a German driving license. (Remember, if you bring a new one from your native country, it will not be valid in Germany). Contact Führerscheinstelle and they will issue a new one to you. Please check this official paper from Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure for EU/EEA countries.

Getting a New Driver's License

If you don't have driver's license from your home country and don't know how to drive a car, you would need to take a complete theory and practical course at driving school. This driver's license can cost between 1000 - 2000 Euros. Only driving schools are entitled to register a person for theory and practical exams. Your driving school would take care of your registration at Führerscheinstelle. You would need following documents for registration at Führerscheinstelle.

These documents are required by law and are a precondition for the approval of the driving license application at the Road Traffic Office (Straßenverkehrsamt).

You would need 12 mandatory practical driving training hours and 14 theory lectures. A practical training hour is of 45 minutes while one theory lecture is of 90 minutes.

Normally you have to take more practical training than official mandatory hours and that's what makes a driver's license costly. Theory test consists of 30 questions. A student must has to pass the theory test before the practical exam. If a student can't pass a practical test, he/she has to get more practical training.

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Footnotes of Table

  1. Official Note: Insofar as the column "class(es)" does not mention "all", but only a specific class or classes, only class B is granted on the basis of this class(es).
  2. Official Note: Germany has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
  3. Official Note: Includes motor car class.
  4. Official note: In cases where class C is restricted with the key number 2, the granting of a German driving license according to para 31 is not permitted (learning license).
  5. Official note: In cases where the class M is provided with code 6, a test-free issuing of a German driving license is not possible (only motorcycle license).
  6. Official note: In cases where a class 5 Stage L or Stage A is present, the granting of a German driving license according to para 31 is not permitted (learning license).
  7. Official Note: Evidence of eyesight test according to para 12 is still required.
  8. Official Note: Unless the "Driver License" contains any reference to special vehicles, this is a car driver's license.
  9. Official Note: Only for holders over the age of 18 years. No exchange of an "Instruction Permit".
  10. Official Note: Class 6 is converted into a German A2 driving license if the holder is under 24 years of age. Otherwise, class A is granted.
  11. Official note: The Australian class C and CAR (Victoria) correspond to the German class B and the Australian class R to the German class A.
  12. Official Note: Also "Provisional License". No exchange of a Learner License.
  13. Official note: Also "Provisional License P2". No exchange of a "Learner Permit" or "Learner License".
  14. Official Note: Also "Probationary License P2". No exchange of a "Learner Permit".
  15. Official Note: Also "Provisional License". No exchange of an "Instruction Permit".
  16. Official Note: The condition is that the grant date of the Namibian license is at least two years prior to the application.
  17. Official Note: Driving licenses classes C1 and C from Namibia also entitle to the use of buses. A rewriting of these license classes in the German driving license classes D1 and D, however, can not be done. Driving license class C1 from Namibia is authorized to drive vehicles with an authorized mass of not more than 16000 kg. However, in the case of the transfer in Germany, only a category C1 license is granted, even if it only entitles the holder to drive vehicles with an authorized mass of not more than 7500 kg.

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