Under current EU law, foreign driver's licences must be converted after six months at the latest in order to remain valid. Depending on the country in which the foreign driver's licence is issued, the conversion of driver's licences involves a number of administrative procedures and tests. Since there is no international standard for driver's licences or vehicle classes, driver's licence offices in Germany require not only a certified translation but in some cases a classification of the licence.
Classification means defining equivalencies between two differently titled driver's licence classes. There have been standardised classes in the EU since 2013. If you have a passenger car driver's licence, your licence will indicate driver's licence class B. This entitles you to drive a vehicle with a total weight of 3.5 tons.
Outside the European Union, however, driver's licence classes are not designated with A, A1, A2, C, CE, B, BE etc. but with numbers or other number-digit combinations. In addition, driver's licences vary according to the permissible weight of the vehicle or the age of the licence holder. In order to be able to adequately compare and determine EU driver's licence classes with foreign driver's licences, a classification is necessary.
The term classification is also used in connection with the old and new driver's licence classes. For example, classes B, BE, C1 and C1E (with trailer) were class 3.
Do I need a classification of my driver's licence?
Whether the classification is required depends on where and in which language your driver's licence was issued and where you apply for the conversion. In the case of English-language driver's licences, the driver's licence offices often forgo classifications, as these are known due to the large number of conversions. The following rule of thumb can be applied: The more exotic the country of issue, the sooner the authorities demand a classification.
The number of conversions also depends on which immigrants come to a particular region. In southern Germany, for example, more Turkish and Arab driver's licences are being converted than Russian ones. In the end, the driver's licence authority decides whether you need an additional classification for the certified translation of your driver's licence.
Play it safe and ask your local driver's licence office before ordering the translation. Here you will find your authority.