Driving licence in Germany (2023)

Expats who have recently arrived in Germany can continue to use their foreign driving licence for anything up to 10 years, depending on where it was issued.

Like most bureaucratic procedures in Germany, the process for issuing or exchanging a licence can vary greatly between federal states (Länder). Despite the fact that driving licensing laws are set nationally, states tend to apply the law differently on a local level. If in doubt, it is best to always check with your local driving licensing authority (Führerscheinstelle- usually housed within your local citizens’ office) to see how things operate in your federal state.

Using a foreign driving licence in Germany

The amount of time your foreign driving licence remains valid in Germany depends on whether it was issued by an EU / EEA member state or somewhere outside of Europe.

EU / EEA driving licence

If you hold alicence issued by an EU / EEA country, it will usually remain valid in Germany until its expiry date. There are exceptions for certain categories of driving licence (see below). To qualify, it must be a full licence, rather than a provisional oneor an international driving permit (IDP).

If you are planning on staying in Germany long-term, you might consider exchanging your EU / EEA driving licence for a German Führerschein. You can exchange it at any point by following the procedure outlined below. Once the validity of your original EU / EEA licence expires, you will need to exchange it.

Exceptions to long-term validity of EU / EEA driving licence

The long-term validity of EU / EEA driving licences does not apply to the following categories:

Category A1 (Motorcycles)

Up until their 18th birthday, holders of a category A1 driving licence may only ride light motorcycles (engine size up to 125cc) with a maximum speed of 80kmph.

Category C1 and C1E (Large goods vehicles)

C1 and C1E driving licences are only valid until the holder’s 50th birthday. To exchange this licence for a German one, you will also need to submit certificates attesting to your state of health and eyesight.

(Video) How to get a DRIVING LICENSE in GERMANY – A step-by-step guide for Expats

Category C, CE, D, DE, D1 and D1E (Large goods vehicles & buses)

These categories of driving licence are only valid for five years after the date of issue, even if they were issued for a longer period in your home country. As above, if you wish to make anexchange, you will need to submit certificates attesting to your good health and eyesight.

Non-EU / EEA DrivingLicence

If your driving licence was issued by a country outside the EU / EEA, you can continue using it in Germany for up to six months after you register.

If you are staying for longer than six months, but less than 12, it may be possible to have the validity of your licence extended to cover your entire stay in Germany. Your local driving licensing office will be able to help you with this.

You may also need to get your foreign driving licence translated. If itwas not issued in the EU, Andorra, Hong Kong, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland or Senegal you will need to obtain a translation to carry with it. Automobile club ADAC offer this service for between 45 and 80 euros.

(Video) Driving License Germany Theory Exam in English | Practice Test 1 All Questions Explained in English

After six months, you must obtain a German driving licence from your local driving licensing office. Depending on where it was issued, it may be possible to directly exchange it. Often, however, you will have to pass a theoretical and / or practical driving exam first (see below).

Driving foreign cars

If you bring a foreign car into Germany, you can continue driving with your foreign licence plates for up to 12 months. After that, you will need to register your car to get German licence plates. You may need to have your car modified to pass the vehicle safety inspection. You will also need to pay for car insurance and vehicle tax.

Exchanging a foreign driver’slicence in Germany

You will need to meet various conditions in order to exchange a foreign driver’slicence for a German one:

  • You are a registered resident of Germany with a valid residence permit (if applicable).
  • Your driver’slicence was issued by an EU/EEA country, or a country with a special reciprocal driving licensing agreement with Germany (see below – if your country does not have an agreement with Germany, you will need to pass some driving tests first).
  • Your driver’s licence is valid at the time of application.
  • You were not a resident of Germany (defined as spending 185 out of 365 days in Germany) at the time you obtained thelicence.

Countries withexchange agreements with Germany

The following countries have a special agreement with Germany to exchange driver’s licences:

Andorra Namibia
Australia New Caledonia
Canada New Zealand
Channel Islands San Marino
Croatia Singapore
French Polynesia South Africa
Isle of Man South Korea
Israel Switzerland
Japan U.S.A.*

*The requirements for the U.S.A. vary according to state. Check this full list of requirementsto see which tests you might need to take.

Citizens of these countries enjoy a special reciprocal arrangement where they can exchange their foreign driver’s licence relatively simply for a German one. If your country is not listed, you will have to take either a theoretical or practical exam (or both) in order to get a Germanlicence. You can check this full list of requirements by country to see what exams, if any, you need to take. You can find out more about the German driving exams on our Learning how to drive page.

How to exchange a foreign driver’s licence in Germany

To exchange your foreign driver’slicence for a German one, you will need to apply at your local driving licensing office. It is a good idea to call ahead to make an appointment and check the exact requirements for exchanging, as this may vary according to your federal state.

Documents required to exchange a foreign driver’slicence

Usually, you will need to bring the following to the appointment:

(Video) German Driving License Practical Test

  • Valid identification, such as a passport or identity card
  • Recent, biometric passport photo
  • Your original foreign driver’slicence (if it was issued outside of the EU / EEA, it needs to be valid at the time of the exchange)
  • Translation of the foreign driver’slicence (if applicable)
  • Proof of how long you have held the driver’slicence for (if this information is not given on thelicence itself)
  • Your certificate of registration

Additional documentation required for driver’s licence categories A, A2, A1, AM, B, BE, L & T

  • Proof of completion of a first aid training course
  • Eye test certificate

Additional documentation required for driver’s licence categories C & D

  • Proof of completion of a first aid training course
  • Certificate attesting to visual faculty
  • Certificate attesting to physical health / fitness

Note that when you exchange your licence for a German one you will be required to surrender your foreign driver’slicence. It will be sent back to the authority that issued it.

If your application is successful, a new German licence will be produced for you. This is manufactured centrally at the Federal Printing Office in Berlin. As soon as it is ready for you to pick up you will be notified. It usually takes between two and four weeks.

Renewing a German driving licence

German driving licences are valid for 15 years from the date of issue. To renew you just need to make an appointment at your local driving licence authority before your current licence expires. You will need to bring your licence and a recent passport photo. The new licence costs around 24 euros and should be ready within four weeks.

Renewing a foreign driving licence in Germany

It is not possible to renew a foreign driving licence in Germany. If you are an expat with a foreign driving licence that is about to expire, you will need to apply for a German one.

Lost or stolen driving licence

If your driving licence is lost or stolen you will need to provide some documents to the driving licensing authority to have it replaced. If you have lost it, you will need to write a statement explaining the circumstances of the loss and assuring that you will return the licence if you find it. If it was stolen you need to contact the German police to obtain a theft report.

If your licence was not issued by a German or EU licensing authority, the German authorities will need to contact the issuing authority in your home country to get yourdetails. It may be possible to issue you with a replacement.

To obtain a replacement licence you will need to apply in person to your local licensing authority. You must bring your written statement or theft report, a form of identification and a biometric passport photo. Your new licence will be ready for you to collect in around four weeks.

The test consists of 30 multiple-choice questions, worth a total of 110 points. You are only allowed to make 10 points’ worth of mistakes. Preparing sufficiently for this test is very important, as around a third of people fail the theory exam in Germany.

How many questions are in German drivers license? ›

The theory test includes 30 multiple-choice questions. There may be several correct answers to one question. If you receive more than ten minus points, you will fail the test.

Is driving test difficult in Germany? ›

Passing a driving test in Germany is not as difficult as in some other countries, but the tests are among the most expensive in the world. There are two testing organizations in Germany: DEKRA and TÜV. Drivers in Germany who have never had a license, will need to register for lessons at a driving school (Fahrschule).

What is the pass mark for German driving theory test? ›

There are no passing marks, but there is losing marks limit system. To pass the test the maximum points which you can lose is 10. If you lose more than 10 points then you will lose the test.

Which country has the hardest driving test? ›

The most difficult tests to pass

In China, the theory test contains 100 questions and requires you to memorise 1,000 in total. There are then two separate practical assessments, followed by a final theory test. New drivers in Croatia must attend 70-100 hours of mandatory driving school before attempting their test.

Who failed their driving test the most? ›

Indeed, Cha Sa-soon, age 69, estimated that it cost her well over $10,000 to finally pass the South Korea drivers’ test. Of course, she took it 960 times before finally passing in 2010 and now holds the world’s record for most failed attempts.

What happens if you fail driving test in Germany? ›

If you fail the practical driving test three times, you must take a break of three months until the next test. After the three months have elapsed, three further tests may be carried out.

How many questions are on the full licence test? ›

Motorcycle and car tests

There are 40 questions in the category A and B tests and you have to answer 35 questions correctly to be successful. You have 45 minutes to answer the 40 questions in the test. You can find out more from theorytest.ie.

Which German test is the easiest? ›

Of the three different levels DSH-1, DSH-2 and DSH-3, the former is the easiest. When the DSH-2 level is reached (67%), the graduate can enrol in many different courses of study, as this means that he or she is admitted to almost all German universities.

Which country has the easiest driving test? › The Easiest Countries to Learn to Drive

  • 1: Mexico – Learn to Drive Score, 9.48/10. …
  • 2: Qatar – Learn to Drive Score, 7.39/10. …
  • 3: Latvia – Learn to Drive Score, 7.03/10. …
  • 4: United States – Learn to Drive Score, 6.95/10. …
  • 5: Canada – Learn to Drive Score, 6.93/10. …
  • 1: Croatia – Learn to Drive Score, 1.96/10.

How long is Germany driving test? ›

The test itself takes approx. 55 minutes and the driving distance is specified by the examiner.

Can I take German driving test in English? ›

6. Study for and take the German license theory test. Before you can continue the process, you need to pass the theory exam. Even though you can take this test in English, don’t underestimate it, as German traffic rules are very detailed and comprehensive.

Is it easy to pass German A1? ›

German A1 exam pattern is quite simple. As it’s a language, there are 4 modules- Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. It is 60 points exam and you have to score 36 points (60%) to pass the exam.

What is a good drive score? ›

You should aim for a driving score of 70 or higher. Scores at this level will mean you are a safer driver, less likely to have an accident and less likely to have your policy cancelled due to a low score.

How many people pass their driving test first time? ›

Women have a theory pass rate of 49% and males fall behind at 45%.

How much is a driving test in Germany? ›

The price of driving tests in Germany

In Germany, it costs 91,75 euros to take the practical test and 22,49 euros for the theory, a total of just over 114 euros.

Which country has powerful driving license? ›

Belgium, France & Germany

It’s little surprise that all of the countries with the most powerful licenses on our list are part of the European Union, as countries within the EU can all use their licenses interchangeably with no restrictions, as long as their home license is valid.

How do I pass my driving test first time? › How to pass your driving test quickly

  1. Be on time. …
  2. Have a lesson beforehand. …
  3. Check you have everything you need. …
  4. Use your instructor’s car. …
  5. Take your instructor along for reassurance. …
  6. Ask your examiner to repeat, if you need. …
  7. Don’t assume you’ve failed. …
  8. Choose where you want to take your test.

Why can’t I pass my driving test? ›

Many factors contribute towards failing a driving test. Often, it is due to the learner driver although on certain occasions it can be the driving examiner being a little too harsh during a particular situation, where a different examiner may let it pass.

What will make me fail my driving test? ›

For example, if you make another vehicle slow down, swerve or stop, you’ll instantly fail your driving test. A typical example of this is misjudging the speed and distance of traffic on the roundabout, then pulling out and forcing another vehicle to slow down to avoid a collision.

How many fails Are you allowed in driving test? ›

How many faults are you allowed on your driving test before you fail? If you get 16 or more minor faults, your instructor would fail you on the driving test. But if you make the same minor fault repeatedly, it shows the instructor that you’ve not mastered this skill and they’re likely to fail you.

How many times can I take practical driving test? ›

Fortunately, there is no limit on the number of times you can fail your practical driving test. As people learn differently, some may pass the first time, while others will need several attempts in order to get through.

How many points does it take to lose your license in Germany? ›

In Germany, once a driver accumulates four to five points, he or she will receive a warning, along with information about the points system. With six to seven points, a driver must attend two 90-minute seminars within three months of notification. With eight or more points, the driver’s license is revoked.

Is passing driving test hard? ›

You will face many potentially dangerous obstacles during the test, so with a combination of anxiety, nerves and stress (all while you’re sitting next to the examiner) it’s certainly not easy for anyone. People fail for a multitude of reasons, and passing requires experience and practice, hard work and determination.

What do I need to know for my full license test? ›

During the full licence test, the testing officer will be marking you on two types of driving tasks. The first kind is assessable tasks. These are things like left and right turns, lane changes, and right turns at roundabouts . You’ll be assessed on these skills based on a list of predetermined task assessment items.

How many questions are on the top driver final exam? ›

When is the Final Exam? The final Illinois driving exam is given on the last day of class and consists of 50 questions.

Is B1 German enough? ›

The third level in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages is level B1. It is definitely a step beyond the A1 and A2 exams. Passing a level B1 exam means that you are entering the intermediate level of your journey through the German language.

How long is A1 German test? ›

German A1 Exam Pattern. There are four sections in each type of examination – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The total duration of the language exam is 1 hour 15 minutes.

How hard is B1 German? ›

The German B1 level, also known as the intermediate level, It will take you at least 80 hours per week (a total of 4 weeks) to finish your German B1. According to Goeth Institut, you’ll take at least 350 and 650 45-minute units of teaching depending on what you have retained from your previous A1 to A2 level.

Which country is difficult driving? › Est. deaths: estimated total number of road traffic deaths (WHO)

Rank Country Est. deaths
1 Liberia 1,657
2 Saint Lucia 63
3 Burundi 3,651
4 Zimbabwe 5,601

75 more rows

Do most people pass driving test 1st time? ›

62.5% of motorists pass the driving test on their first attempt and 68% of drivers learned to drive by the age of 19. QUIZ: Can you correctly identify these classic cars?

In which country it is difficult to get drivers license? ›

Some on the “hardest” list include Israel, Austria, New Zealand, Denmark, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Finland, and Bulgaria.

Are driving tests harder now? ›

Driving Test Differences Over the Years

Arguably it’s much harder now than it was all those years ago to pass, and the number of young motorists passing their practical driving test is at its lowest for 10 years.

How long does it take to get German driving Licence? ›

How long does it take to get a driving licence in Germany? If you regularly attend theory classes and take driving lessons, it will take 3 to 5 months to get your license. A total of 14 theory units (90 minutes each) can be completed in 2-week crash courses at many driving schools.

When can I take my full driving test? ›

You could be on the car driving test waiting list but may not be eligible to sit your test. To be eligible to sit a driving test you must have held your first learner permit for at least 6 months and have completed all of your Essential Driver Training. You completed your EDT only recently.

How can I pass my practical test? › Passing your practical driving test: 10 expert top tips

  1. Plan your time. Give yourself a sufficient amount of time to learn how to drive and pass your test. …
  2. Budget. …
  3. Have regular lessons. …
  4. Record your progress. …
  5. Practice, practice, practice. …
  6. Stay focussed in between lessons. …
  7. Pass your theory test early. …
  8. Take a mock driving test.

Do you need to speak English for driving test? ›

Anyone who applies for a new PHV driver’s licence on or after 1 April 2023 will be required to take and pass both the English language speaking and listening test and SERU assessment before they can be licensed.

What do I need to know before driving in Germany? › Here are 15 things you need to know when driving in Germany:

  1. Put your phone away. Mobile phones are only permitted to be used with a ‘handsfree’ setup. …
  2. Strap in safely. …
  3. Overtake carefully. …
  4. Keep to the right. …
  5. Avoid driving while intoxicated. …
  6. Understand the Autobahn. …
  7. Drive extremely alertly on the Autobahn. …
  8. Park attentively.

Can I learn A1 German in a month? ›

How long does it take to become fluent in German A1? According to the Goeth Institut and as mentioned earlier, it takes at least 2-3 months of learning German A1 on a daily basis.

Can I skip A1 German? ›

No. Not in any way. Not just in the sense that it’s advisable, but also in the sense that it’s even possible. What’s the best way to practice your German language if you reach A2 level?

How many hours is A1 in German? ›

On average, it takes the following amount of time to achieve the next language level: A1: approx. 150 hours of lessons.

How can I improve my driving score? ›

Improving Your Acceleration Score

The key to keeping a good acceleration score is allowing yourself to have enough time to move safely, whether that’s entering a roundabout, overtaking, or exiting a slip road. This means you must start your observations early to avoid speeding up to avoid other road users.

What is the highest drive easy score? ›

You will be able to see your score and components right in the DriveEasy Pro app after you start driving. The highest driver score is 100.

What are signs of a good driver? › How to tell if you are a good driver

  • You move over after passing.
  • You know the speed limit.
  • You are focused on the road.
  • You take regular breaks.
  • You know your vehicle.
  • You have the right attitude when it comes to driving.
  • How to tell if you’re a bad driver.

Is 20 hours enough to pass driving test? ›

The average learner needs 20 hours of practice to pass the driving test, in addition to 45 hours of driving lessons. This is only an average though and shouldn’t be something you feel you have to compare yourself to.

How can I calm my nerves before a driving test? › The 10 most effective ways to combat driving test nerves

  1. Tell yourself you’re ready. …
  2. Keep it a secret. …
  3. Don’t skip meals. …
  4. Pretend it’s a mock. …
  5. Arrive at the test centre in good time and make sure your diary is free. …
  6. Don’t do too much on test day. …
  7. Stay off the caffeine. …
  8. Go to the lavatory.

Is 8am a good time for driving test? ›

In fact, it should be reassuring. It means that people taking their tests at different times of day have roughly the same chance of passing (other factors aside). Essentially, taking an 8am driving test will most likely stand you in good stead for a pass.

What happens if you fail your driving test in Germany? ›

If you fail the practical driving test three times, you must take a break of three months until the next test. After the three months have elapsed, three further tests may be carried out.

Is there a certain amount of times you can fail your driving test? ›

There is no limit to the number of times you can take or fail a driving test. As long as you wait the mandatory 10 working days between tests, there’s nothing stopping you from trying again if you were unsuccessful in your previous attempt.

What can you be failed for on a driving test? › Most common driving test fails

  1. Not making effective observations at junctions. …
  2. Not using mirrors correctly when changing direction. …
  3. Bad positioning when turning right. …
  4. Traffic light mishaps. …
  5. Not having proper control of the steering. …
  6. Ignoring road signs. …
  7. Not responding correctly to road markings.

Which European country has the hardest driving test? ›

Croatia is the toughest country to get behind the wheel due to their expensive and stringent driving tests that require a minimum amount of learning and monitoring to pass.

How can I relax for my driving test? › Staying calm before your driving test

  1. Chat to your instructor about how you feel if you need reassurance.
  2. Practice any manoeuvres which you think need a little more work and focus. …
  3. Ask your instructor if you should take any extra lessons to focus on things you find tricky.

What do driving examiners look for? ›

The examiner will look to see that you: Make good observations, in all directions, before emerging. Assess the speed of other vehicles accurately. Take advantage of safe gaps as they arise.

What is a serious on a driving test? ›

a dangerous fault – this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property. a serious fault – something potentially dangerous. a driving fault – this is not potentially dangerous, but if you keep making the same fault, it could become a serious fault.

Which country is easiest to get license? ›

International Driver’s Permit

Vietnam appears to be one of the easiest places to get a driver’s license. Short-term travelers might be best served by applying for an IDP before leaving home. An IDP is simply a translation of a home license and is accepted as valid in most countries, at least for a short time.


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