Under current EU law, foreign driving licences must be converted after six months at the latest in order to remain valid. Depending on the country in which the foreign driving licence is issued, the conversion of driving licences involves a number of administrative procedures and tests. Since there is no international standard for driving licences or vehicle classes, driving licence offices in Germany require not only a certified translation but in some cases a classification of the driver's licence.
Classification means defining equivalencies between two differently titled driving licence classes. There have been standardised classes in the EU since 2013. If you have a passenger car driving licence, your driving licence will indicate driving licence class B. This entitles you to drive a vehicle with a total weight of 3.5 tons.
Outside the European Union, however, driving licence classes are not designated with A, A1, A2, C, CE, B, BE etc. but with numbers or other number-digit combinations. In addition, driving 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 driving licence classes with foreign driving licences, a classification is necessary.
The term classification is also used in connection with the old and new driving 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 driving licence was issued and where you apply for the conversion. In the case of English-language driving licences, the driving 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 driving licences are being converted than Russian ones. In the end, the official in the driving licence authority decides whether you need an additional classification for the certified translation of your driving licence.
Play it safe and ask your local driving licence office before ordering the translation. Here you will find your authority.
Where can I get a classification of my driver's licence?
Classifications of driving licences are usually only applied to translated driving licences from non-EU countries. In most cases, classifications are only ordered along with a certified translation. There are currently only a few places that offer classifications. At lingoking you receive certified translations including classification in all languages. And all this within a few days. A scan or photo of your driver's license is enough. Here you can have your driving licence translated and classified.
Other providers are recognized automobile clubs, such as ADAC, AvD or ACE Autoclub. At the ADAC you have to hand in your original driving licence at a branch. The waiting time is up to 3 weeks, depending on the issuing country and language of the licence.