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Getting a Drivers' Licence

Getting a German drivers' licence is expensive if you have to start from scratch. There are compulsory practical and theoretical courses which have to be completed; bureaucratic fees to pay; books to buy and tests to sit. All in all you can expect to part with at least DM2000 - 3000 before you get a licence.

Needless to say - drivers already licenced outside Germany will want to avoid these costs if possible.

  • 1.0 EU & EEA Drivers
  • 2.0 Drivers from other Countries
  • 3.0 Links

  • 1.0 EU & EEA Drivers

    The good news is that if you hold a valid drivers' licence from an EU or EEA country your licence is automatically valid in Germany. If you have held your licence for less that 2 years, however, or if you have a heavy vehicle licence which you wish to use in Germany, you must take you must register your licence with the Landeseinwohnermeldeamt (LEA) within 6 months of taking up residence in Germany.

    2.0 Drivers from other Countries

    For the first six months after taking up residence in Germany, residents of non EU/EEA countries are allowed to drive using a foreign licence or a valid international licence. If you want to continue to drive after these first six months have expired, you must acquire a German licence. How difficult this is to do depends on which country issued your original licence and how long you wait before applying. If you have been resident in Germany for more than three years you have to go through the whole driver training and testing process as if you had never held a licence.

    2.1 Parts of non-EEA Europe, Canada & the US

    If you hold a licence from one of the following States or Countries a German licence is issued upon application (ie: without sitting any tests).
    • US states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia;
    • Canadian Provinces of Alberta, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Yukon; or the completely independent states of
    • Andorra, Croatia, Guernsey, Hungary, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.
    To have a German licence issued, all you need to do is make an application for transfer of your licence. To do this you need to attend the local branch of the LEA with the following documentation:
    • passport (+ copy)
    • passport style photo (signed by you on the reverse side)
    • current foreign drivers' licence (+ copy)
    • a translation of your current licence (+ copy)
    • confirmation of registration with the LEA ("Anmeldebestätigung")
    • proof of how long you have been a resident in Germany (Available from the LEA - Ausländerbehörde)
    Assuming that all your documents are in order, you should be notified within 4-6 weeks that your new licence is ready to be collected.

    Cost: 68.50

    2.2 Various other parts of the US:

    In addition to the above application, holders of a licence from the following US States must take a theoretical test before being issued with a German licence.
    • Connecticut, District of Columbia, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee
    If you have to sit a written test, you will receive a letter from the LEA giving you permission to do so. In order to sit the test you must enroll with a registered driving school and have them make an appointment for you. The theoretical test can be taken in German, English or 10 other languages. For further information about this test see:
    www.training-for-germany.de

    Cost: 83.50

    2.3 The rest of the world:

    For holders of licences from places not listed in 2.1 or 2.2 above the process for acquiring a German drivers licence is more rigorous.

    Step 1 - Find a driving school

    You will need to be enrolled at a driving school to undertake the process of applying for a German licence.

    Step 2 - Make an application for transfer of your licence.

    To do this you need to attend the local branch of the LEA with the following documentation:


    • passport (+ copy)
    • passport style photo (signed by you on the reverse side)
    • current foreign drivers' licence (+ copy)
    • a translation of your current licence (+ copy)
    • confirmation of registration with the LEA ("Anmeldebestätigung")
    • eyesight test (not more than 2 years old - available from any optician)
    • proof of how long you have been a resident in Germany (Available from the LEA - Ausländerbehörde)
    • proof of completion of the first aid course "Sofortmassnahmen am Unfallort" or equvalent.


    6 to 8 weeks after submitting these documents yo will receive confirmation from the LEA that you are allowed to proceed to the testing phase of the process.

    Step 3 - The Theoretical Examination

    In order to sit the test you must enroll with a registered driving school and have them make an appointment for you. The theoretical test can be taken in German, English or 10 other languages. For further information about this test see:
    www.training-for-germany.de

    Step 4 - The Practical Examination

    Even if you are an experienced driver you should take a couple of lessons with an instructor just to get a feel for what is required in the practical exam. When you are ready to take the test, your driving school will make an appointment for you. The test itself takes 30 to 45 minutes after which you will be issued with a certificate stating whether you passed or not.

    Step 5 - Collecting your new licence

    If you pass the tests, you need are ready to return to the LEA to apply for your new licence. To do this you will need:


    • the certificate issued by the testing authority;
    • proof of identity;
    • your foreign drivers' licence; (this will either be stamped with a note stating that you also have a German licence - or confiscated and returned to the issuing authority); and
    • DM60 for your new licence.


    In 4-6 weeks you will receive notification that you're new licence is ready to be collected.

    Cost: DM500 - 1000 depending on the number of driving lessons taken.

    3.0 - Links

  • www.training-for-germany.de - handy tips on getting a German drivers' licence.
  • pages.vossnet.de/aussies - description of the process of getting a German drivers' licence.


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