How to get a motorcycle driving licence in Germany

How to get a motorcycle driving licence in Germany

A detailed description of the process of obtaining a German Klasse A driving licence. This information is also valid for the Klasse B licence.

Posted on - last updated on

In February 2017, I began the process of getting a motorcycle licence in Germany. As a Canadian national, I was able to trade my Canadian driver's licence for a German one, despite being completely unqualified for driving in Germany. The next step was to get the Klasse A licence - the German motorcycle licence. This guide describes my experience in details.

Step 0: Converting a foreign motorcycle licence

You may be allowed to trade your foreign motorcycle licence to a German Klasse A licence. Refer to page 4 of this document to see if your country has such an agreement with Germany. Here is another official list, in German.

You are rarely allowed to convert a foreign motorcycle licence, but you can at least get a Klasse B licence for cars and scooters. Having a Klasse B licence allows you to skip some of your driving school's theory classes.

Step 1: First aid course and sight test

Before you get started, you need to take a first aid class and pass a vision test1. I did both in the same afternoon at Ersthelfer.tv. The theory was available in English, but the demonstrations were given in German.

Step 2: The driving school

The first step towards your Klasse A licence is contacting a driving school. Take a look at our list of English-speaking driving schools to find the right one for you.

If you already have a Klasse B licence, you may skip some of the theory classes. My driving school only required me to attend 6 out of 12 classes. However, you must spend a minimum number of hours on a motorcycle: some on the highway, some in the city, some during the night etc. These so-called Sonderfahrten are mandatory.

Driving school instructors in Berlin can be pretty sleazy. Several sources report that their instructors encouraged them to take more hours than necessary or charged them extra fees for the learning material. Beyond the mandatory practice hours, it's up to you to judge whether or not you are ready for the exam. However, I strongly recommend getting access to the online learning material. It's more important than the theory classes.

Before your classes begin, get your own motorcycle equipment. The old, loosely fitted equipment your driving school provides will not adequately protect you in an accident, and you will need it later anyway.

Step 3: The Bürgeramt

In order to take the driving exam in Germany, you need a permission from the Bürgeramt. As soon as you have found a driving school, get an appointment at the Bürgeramt for Ersterteilung einer Fahrerlaubnis. It takes 2 to 4 weeks to get the appointment, and 6 to 9 weeks to get the permission slip, so you need to get started as soon as possible.

You must bring a valid ID, a passport picture, your vision test and first aid certificates and the contract from your driving school (Ausbildungsvertrag)1. The fees are 48.25€, but be careful! Some Bürgeramts only take EC-Karte. No cash, no credit cards1.

The appointment only takes a few minutes. You will choose at which Dekra or TÜV location you'll take your exam, pay the 48 euro fee and show the required documents.

6 to 9 weeks later, you will receive a letter that gives you the permission to take a driving exam. You must show this document to your driving school, and they will give you a training certificate1 (Ausbildungsbescheinigung der Fahrschule). With this document, you have everything you need to take the theoretical exam1.

Step 4: The theoretical exam

Unless you already know arcane trivia such as the minimum allowed tire thread depth (1.6mm) or the formula to calculate stopping distance, the only way to pass the exam is rote memorization1, 2

Your driving school will give you access to a training app that lets you practice the questions from the official exam over and over again. The questions are horrendously translated, but they are word-for-word the same as in the real exam in every language12. Arm yourself with patience and power through the 950+ questions, and you will be ready for the exam. There is no other way.

When you are ready to take the theoretical exam, visit your assigned Dekra or TÜV branch and ask to take the exam. You don't need an appointment, but you must pay €22.49 to take the exam1.

The theoretical exam is available in 11 languages, including English. You will be asked 10 general driving questions and 10 motorcycle-related questions out of a set of 950+ questions. You can only get two questions wrong before failing the test. The questions can be extremely tricky or technical, and are often horrendously translated, so this test is far from easy!

Once you passed the theoretical exam, you need to notify your driving school. Your driving instructor will then schedule an exam date with Dekra or TÜV.

Step 5: The practical exam

As soon as you passed the theoretical exam, your driving school can schedule your practical exam.

The practical exam is not very different from what you practiced. Your driving instructor will follow you in his car with the evaluator in the passenger seat. Your instructor will guide you as he did during the practice, but won't correct your mistakes.

The practical exam includes city driving, highway driving and a few technical maneuvers. This guide (in German) and this video describe each exercise in details.You will take a short trip from the Dekra or TÜV branch to a quiet street where you will be asked to perform these maneuvers:

  • Slow slalom: slalom at ~5 km/h between 5 cones placed 3.5 meters apart.
  • Stop and go: stop and go 4 times (twice on each foot) without stalling or falling on the wrong foot.
  • Slalom: slalom between cones while maintaining a constant speed
  • Slow slalom: slalom through a row of cones at a walking pace.
  • Avoidance maneuver without braking
  • Avoidance maneuver with braking: approach an obstacle at 50 km/h, break heavily and maneuver around an obstacle
  • Circle exercise: drive around a 9 meter wide circle

This guide (in German) and this video explain each maneuver in details.

Once you are done, you will drive back to the Dekra or TÜV branch. If you passed the exam, you will receive a temporary driving licence and a handshake from the evaluator. A few days later, you should receive a new licence in the mail.

Extra tips

  • Write down all the measurements you see while studying for the theoretical exam. You will need to remember all sorts of distances: distance between cars, before pedestrian crossings, before railways in and out of agglomerations, between cars and cyclists and so on. It's a lot to remember!
  • If you can already drive a scooter, renting Coup scooters is a great way to practice driving in Germany without spending a fortune.
  • Book an hour or two with your driving instructor right before your practical exam.
  • Sleep well! I cannot stress how important this is. I had a lesson after a sleepless night and repeatedly failed to notice signs, to follow instructions and to drive properly.

Comments