Driving license in Germany
This page contains topics:
- Documents a driver must carry while driving
- Toursits and Short Term Visitors with International Driver's License
Validity of Driver's License Issued from a non-EU/EEA Country
- Visitors with a Short Stay (up to one year)
- Visitors with a Longer Stay (more than a year)
- Convertable Driver's License from different countries
- Driving in Germany with an Australian Licence
- Driving in Germany with a US Licence
- Driving in Germany with a Canadian Licence
- How to Convert a Foreign Driver's License to German Driver's License?
- Validity of Driver's License Issued from an EU/EEA Country
- 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.
1. Mandatory Documents a Driver Must Keep while driving in Germany
A driver must have following documents:
- A valid driving license
- 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.)
- 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.
- Proof of vehicle insurance
2. Tourists and visitors from any Foreign Country
Tourists 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 the age of 18, while under supervision teens can drive at 17. The minimum age for foreign 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 the car license (class B vehicle or a vehicle with a maximum weight of 3500 kg (3.5 t) and with a trailer of 750 kg).
3. Driver's License from a non-EU/EEA Country
3.1 Visitors with a Short 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 the first arrival date in Germany. If you have an intention to stay less than a year but more than six months, your license validity can be extended to a further period of a maximum of six months.
In most countries around the world, an international driver's license is issued in the English language or at least has the English language along with the native language. 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 the 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 a 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 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.
3.2 Visitors with a 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 the 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 the 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 tests.
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 the respective conversion. Click here to see the offical German version of driving license code.
On smaller screens, drag the following table right or left to view the full width of the table.
|Issuing State||Vehicle Class(es)||Theoretical Exam Required?||Practical Exam Required?|
|Bosnia and Hercegovina||A1, A, B||No||No|
|Isle of Man||All||No||No|
|Namibia 16)||A1, A, B, BE, C117), C1E, C17), CE||No||No|
|New Zealand||1, 610)||No||No|
|Republic of Korea||1, 21)||No||No|
|Driving licenses issued in the domain of the authorities in Taiwan2)||B/BE1)||No||Yes|
3.4 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|
|South Australia||C13), R13)||No||No|
|Victoria||C14), CAR, R14)||No||No|
|Western Australia||C12), R||No7)||No|
3.5 Driving in Germany with US license 1):
|Arizona||G, D, 2||No||No|
|Connecticut||D, 1, 2||Yes||No|
|District of Columbia||D||Yes||No|
|Indiana||Operator License, Chauffeur License3), Public Passenger Chauffeur License3), Commercial Driver License, Probationary Operator´s License||Yes||No|
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
|Maryland||C (Full License und Provisional License)||No||No|
|South Dakota||1 and 2||No||No|
|Texas||C15), A3), B3)||No7)||No|
|Virginia||D, M5), A3), B3), C3)||No||No|
|Washington State||Driver License8)
Intermediate Driver License9)
3.6 Driving Permits of the Canadian Provinces1):
|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|
|Prince Edward Island||5||No||No|
|Saskatchewan||1 and 5||No||No|
To see footnotes of the above table please scroll to the end of this page.
3.7 Driver's 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 driver's license. You would need the following documents for conversion:
- Identity Card or Passport
- Certificate of Registration from the Resident Registration Office
- Recent Photograph
- Original driving license (German translation is required for a driver's license other than in the German language. Translation can be obtained from ADAC offices, which costs 50-60 € and about 15 days, alternatively, you may get it translated from any certified translator.)
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:
- First, visit the Führerscheinstelle and get registered for a driving license. You require all the above-mentioned documents, plus you would have to do a first aid course and take an eyesight test. Führerscheinstelle would give you the deadline for submitting these two extra documents, better ask them if they don't mention, because they are mandatory.
- Next, you need to register in an official Fahrschule (driving school). Since you need driving school just to register for theory or practical test and you don’t need any training, you can choose if you want to get some theatrical lectures.
- If you require both theory and practical exams, the practical exam would be the next step after passing the theoretical test. Your driving school teacher will test your driving skills and will recommend how much practical training you need.
Now be careful, these training hours are costly and some driving instructors can be a little greedy. So you have to argue with them. You don’t need full practical training, as you are a candidate for the conversation of license.
Please note that if you require both theory and practical tests, it doesn't mean theoretical study material, lectures and minimum mandatory driving training hours are legally necessary for you. As some driving schools may want to enforce these to get financial benefits. Talk to them in advance about material, lectures, and training hours.
- After passing the practical test you are eligible for conversion of license. Either the examiner would give you your new driver's license just after the test or you have to collect it from Führerscheinstelle.
- You have to submit your original old license, because in case of a traffic violation if your German driving license is blocked, they want to make sure that you are not able to drive with help of your old driving license.
Remember to take your passport with you in the theory exam.
In some cases, Führerscheinstelle may return your old native license. For this, you need to write an application and submit it to driver's license authority office i.e. Führerscheinstelle. You have to give them a solid reason. If they agree to return they will put a sticker on your old license, which now would not be valid inside Germany. But this entirely depends upon your given solid reason. So make a strong reason. Please also check this official paper from Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur).
4. Driver's 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.
5. Getting a New Driver's License
If you don't have a 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 the driver's license authority office (Führerscheinstelle). You would need the following documents for registration at the Führerscheinstelle.
- A certificate of participation in the first aid course
- Result of the eyesight test
- A passport size photograph
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. One 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. The theory test consists of 30 questions. Students have 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.
Footnotes of Table
- 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).
- Official Note: Germany has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
- Official Note: Includes motor car class.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- Official Note: Evidence of eyesight test according to para 12 is still required.
- Official Note: Unless the "Driver License" contains any reference to special vehicles, this is a car driver's license.
- Official Note: Only for holders over the age of 18 years. No exchange of an "Instruction Permit".
- 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.
- 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.
- Official Note: Also "Provisional License". No exchange of a Learner License.
- Official note: Also "Provisional License P2". No exchange of a "Learner Permit" or "Learner License".
- Official Note: Also "Probationary License P2". No exchange of a "Learner Permit".
- Official Note: Also "Provisional License". No exchange of an "Instruction Permit".
- Official Note: The condition is that the grant date of the Namibian license is at least two years prior to the application.
- 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.