Convert foreign driver’s license
Anyone moving permanently to Germany from the USA, India or another third country should check whether they are allowed to drive here with their driver’s license.
Conversion after six months
If you do not belong to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), then form the day of residence registration (Wohnungsanmeldung) upto six months you are allowed to drive in Germany.
During this six-month period, a translation must be carried unless the driver’s license is issued in English. After the six-month period, the driver’s license will no longer be recognized.
An extension of the time limit is possible if the driver’s license holder can prove that he/she will not have the “normal residence” in Germany for more than twelve months.
In order to be allowed to drive a motor vehicle even after this period, you need a German driver’s license. The foreign driver’s license must therefore be exchanged for a German driver’s license. The requirements for acquiring the German driver’s license depend on the country in which the driver’s license was acquired.
Converting foreign driver’s license (Umschreibung)
As a rule, the theoretical and practical examinations (with or without training) must be taken in Germany. However, there are country-specific exceptions to this rule.
Driving license holders from non-EU member states are exempt from taking a driving test in Germany if the EU-uniform minimum standards for the test are ensured in the issuing country. These requirements are met if a mutual recognition agreement has been concluded between Germany and the foreign country. Please refer to the following list of countries to find out whether your country is included.
Theoretical and practical driving test
For driving license holders from non-EU countries that are not included in the above list of states, the German driving license is issued only after a theoretical and practical test. However, driving school training in accordance with the German Learner-Driver-Training Regulations is not required. The applicant decides for himself whether and when he is ready to take the test. However, he must be accompanied by a driving instructor during the test.
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