If you have a foreign driving licence, you can exchange it for a German driving licence. This guide shows you how.
Can you already drive in Germany?
If you visit Germany
You can drive during your visit. Your foreign driving licence is valid in Germany.10 If you have a motorcycle licence, you can ride a motorcycle. Temporary licences and learner’s permits are not valid.13
You usually need a translation of your driving licence. There are two ways to get a translation:
- Get an International Driving Permit
- or get a certified translation…
You don’t need a driving licence translation if…1
- Your driving licence is from the EU, EEA, Andorra, Hong Kong, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Senegal or Switzerland.
- or it follows these rules (Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, Annex 6)
- or it’s in German
If you live in Germany
When your driving licence becomes invalid, you can…
- Convert your foreign driving licence to a German driving licence
- or take driving lessons, pass the driving exam, and get a new driving licence
How to convert your driving licence
You can’t always convert truck or motorcycle licences. It depends on the country it comes from. For example, you can’t a Canadian motorcycle licence. This is not a problem with EU and EEA driving licences.
You must get your foreign driving licence before you move to Germany. You can’t move to Germany, get a driving licence elsewhere, then convert it.
I renewed my Canadian licence after I moved to Berlin. The date on the driving licence was after my Anmeldung date. I had to prove that I got my driving licence before I moving to Germany. I showed photocopies of my old Canadian licence, and a certificate from my Canadian driving school.
1. Register your address
2. Check the requirements for your country
Where did you get your driving licence? The requirements are different for each country.
- EU and EEA countries
You don’t need to take any exam, test or course.14
- Annex 11 countries
- Other countries
3. Take a first aid course
Where to take a first aid course in English:
4. Get an eye test
Where to get an eye test:
- At the optometrist (Optiker). Fielmann gives free eye tests.
- During your first aid course. Some first aid schools give eye tests.18
5. Take driving lessons
Driving lessons are optional, but they are a really good idea. If you come from North America, the rules here are completely different. You are not ready to drive in Germany.
If you don’t take driving lessons, read Route to Germany’s guide to driving in Germany.
6. Get a Bürgeramt appointment
Book a Bürgeramt appointment. In Berlin, appointments are hard to find. The nearest appointment could be in a few weeks.
Book an appointment (EU or EEA driving licence)
Book an appointment (Annex 11 and other countries)
7. Go to your appointment
Go to your Bürgeramt appointment, and bring all the required documents:
- Foreign driving licence
Bring the original licence, not a copy. If it’s not a EU or EEA licence, it must still be valid.15 During the appointment, they take your driving licence. You don’t get it back.
- Photocopy of your driving licence
- Passport or Personalausweis
- Passport photo
You can get new passport pictures for around 6€.
- Registration certificate (Anmeldebestätigung)
This proves that you live in Berlin. Other proofs of residence might be accepted.19
- A Girocard or cash
You must pay the fee of 36.30€. Visa and MasterCard are sometimes accepted.6
If your licence is not from a EU or EEA country, you must also bring…
- Certified translation of your driving licence
If your driving licence is not in English or German, you need a certified translation or an International Driving Permit. Get a certified from Red Tape Translation, Lingoking or ADAC. It costs around 60€.
If your licence is not from a EU, EEA or Annex 11 country, you must also bring…
- Eye test certificate
- First aid course certificate
They will keep your driving licence. If you need to drive, ask for a temporary driving licence (Vorläufiger Führerschein).
Current processing times in Berlin – See when they start processing on your application.
9. Pick up your German driving licence
After a few weeks, you get a letter. It tells you to pick up your new driver licence at the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde. Get an appointment, go to your appointment, wait your turn, show them your passport, and get your new driving licence.
What to do next
- Read Route to Germany’s guide to driving in Germany. If you come from North America, this is very important.
- Buy a car
- Use car sharing services