This guide describes how I got my motorcycle in Berlin in 2017. This guide also applies to car (Klasse B) driving licences. The process is almost exactly the same. Only the exercises are different.

How much does it cost?

Here is a breakdown of the costs for getting a German motorcycle licence. This assumes that you already have a Klasse B licence (for cars).

  • Vision test: ~6€
  • Theoretical lessons: ~150€ (depends on the driving school)
  • Theoretical exam: 22.49€
  • Practical lesson, generic: 45€ for 45 minutes (as needed)
    • Interurban driving: minimum 5 × 45 minutes = 225€
    • Highway driving: minimum 4 × 45 minutes = 180€
    • Driving at night: minimum 3 × 45 minutes = 135€
  • Practical exam: ~150€ for the driving school + 121.38€ for the TÜV/Dekra

In total, you should pay around 1,500€ to get your motorcycle licence1. You will also need to pay around 1000€ for your motorcycle gear: helmet, jacket, gloves, pants and boots. Some schools will provide equipment for free, but you should get your own. It will fit better, and it will protect you better.

Overview of the process

Step 0: Convert a foreign motorcycle licence

If you have a foreign driving licence, you might be allowed to trade it for a German driving licence. In some cases, you don't even need to take a driving test! Here is the official list of foreign driving licences that can be converted.

If you have a foreign driving licence for cars, you can convert your driving licence and take motorcycle classes at the same time1. You don't need to wait for the car licence to arrive before taking motorcycle classes.

Having a driving licence for cars allows you to skip some of the theory classes at your driving school.

How to convert a foreign driving licence to a German one ➞

Step 1: Choose a driving school

The first step is to find a driving school. There are a few English-speaking driving schools in Berlin. Look at the driving school's reviews on Google Maps. Some driving instructors are not trustworthy. They can encourage you to take more driving lessons than necessary or charge them extra fees for the learning material.

If you already have a car licence (Klasse B), you can skip some of the theory classes. I only had to take 6 of the 12 theory classes. However, you must still spend a minimum number of hours on a motorcycle: some on the highway, some in the city, some during the night etc. These Sonderfahrten are mandatory.

Before your classes begin, get your own motorcycle equipment. Some driving schools will give you protective gear, but it's old, and it doesn't fit well. You will need your own equipment later anyway.

Related guide: List of motorcycle gear stores in Berlin

You can begin your classes as soon as you found a driving school. You don't need a permission from the Bürgeramt to take driving classes, only for the driving exam.

Step 2: 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 Fahrschule Oscar also offers the first aid class and vision test in English1.

The first aid class is done on a computer. The lessons are available in multiple languages, including English. The demonstrations with mannequins are in German. There is no test at the end1.

If you can, try to pass the sight test without wearing your glasses. Otherwise, you must wear glasses every time you drive.

Step 3: The Bürgeramt

Before you take a driving test, you must get permission from the Bürgeramt. As soon as you find 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 paper. Get started as soon as possible.

In Berlin, you can see the current processing times. This is the time it takes before they start working on your application.

You must bring the following documents to the Bürgeramt1:

  • A valid ID (like your passport)
  • A passport picture
  • Vision test
  • First aid course certificate
  • The contract from your driving school, or Ausbildungvertrag (mine looked like this)
  • Payment for the 48.25€ fees. Check which payment methods your Bürgeramt accepts.

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. If you have the option, ask for the driving licence to be mailed to you. It costs 5€, and it's much more convenient than picking it up at the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde.

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.

Upon receiving the permission letter from Bürgeramt, you have 12 months to take the theoretical exam1.


Step 4: The theoretical exam

The theoretical exam is available in 11 languages, including English1. 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 poorly translated, so this test not easy!

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 memorisation1, 2.

Your driving school will give you access to an app that lets you practice all the questions from the real exam. The questions are exactly the same in the practice app and in the real exam, even in other languages1, 2. Arm yourself with patience and practice the 950+ questions, and you will be ready for the exam.

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.

Once you passed the theoretical exam, you need to notify your driving school. Your driving school will then schedule a practical 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 Dekra or TÜV 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.

After the maneuver evaluation, you will drive back to the Dekra or TÜV branch. This is still part of the exam, so be careful. If you passed the exam, the instructor will congratulate you and give you a temporary driving licence. You will give give back your current plastic driving licence in exchange for the temporary driving licence.

Step 6: Getting the driving licence

Right after you pass your practical exam, you will receive a temporary driving licence (Vorläufiger Nachweis der Fahrerlaubnis or VNF). This temporary licence valid for 3 months, and must always be carried with a valid ID1. You will also give back your current driving licence, so this will be your only driving licence for the next 4 weeks.


A permanent Kartenführerschein will be ordered from the Bundesdruckerei, and should be available in 2 to 4 weeks. It may be sent to you by registered mail, or it may be available for pickup at the Führerscheinstelle. This information is in the letter you received from the Bürgeramt in step 3.

Getting the plastic driving licence by mail

If you paid the 5 euro fee and your letter says you should receive the plastic driving licence by mail, all you have to do is wait. The licence is sent by registered mail, so you are guaranteed to receive it as long as you gave the correct address.1, 2

Picking up the plastic licence from the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde

If you didn't pay a 5 euro fee, your letter should tell you to pick up your licence from the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde at least 4 weeks after passing your driving exam. You will NOT be notified when your permanent licence is available for pickup. You do not need an appointment to visit the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde.

All you have to do is go to the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde with your temporary driving licence and a valid ID1, say you came to pick up your driving licence ("ich bin hier, um meinen Führerschein abzuholen") and wait your turn. The wait time is between 15 and 90 minutes1. You will give back your temporary driving licence and receive your plastic driving licence.

Getting an International Driving Permit

Your German driving licence is valid in all member countries of the European Union. If you want to drive with your German driving licence outside of the EU, get an International Driving Permit. This permit is easy to obtain and is valid for 3 years.

Step 7: Buy a motorcycle

You are now ready to buy a motorcycle! Once you understand how German vehicle insurance works, you can start shopping.

Related guide: How to buy a used vehicle in Germany

Step 8: Find some motorcycle friends

If you want friends to ride with, there are a few groups you can join: