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How to get a German driver's license

A driver's license is a very small and inconspicuous document – however, in Germany it is obligatory to have it with you every time you’re behind the wheel. This article helps you if you need information on whether you require a German driver's license and how to convert your foreign licence.


German driver's license

When you are planning to drive in Germany you must carry a valid national driver’s license alongside a German translation or an international driver’s license. If you wish to continue driving six months after entering Germany, you must be in possession of a German driver’s license. The transfer of your foreign driver's license requires several steps depending on where your national license was issued. In the end of the process, the German Führerscheinstelle will keep your foreign license in exchange for your new German license.

Note: If your driver’s license is issued by an EU country, it is recognised in Germany and throughout the EU.

To get a German license you have to take theoretical and practical driving exams depending on your home country. Fortunately, many German driving schools offer classes in English and other languages. You can even take the theoretical tests in different languages.

Convert a foreign for a German diver's license

Getting a German driver’s license involves battling with German official bodies and sometimes theoretical or practical exams depending on where you come from. In order to convert your license for a German driver's license you have to allow at least two months for the whole process, provided you have to take the tests. First call the office that will issue your license (Führerscheinstelle) to find out which documents are required in order to avoid difficulties. Authorities in Germany often have a different set of requirements depending on their location.

Documents required

  • official identification document such as a passport
  • original national license together with a German translation and classification (more information below)
  • a residence confirmation from the Einwohnermeldeamt
  • a recent biometric photo
  • Documentation of a recent eye test (not older than two years)
  • Documentation of a recent first aid course

Getting a German driver's license: Step by step

  • You complete your first aid test (available at the Red Cross for EUR 25) and an eyesight test (authorized doctor or optician).
  • Get a certified translation of your national driver’s license. Most German translation agencies can provide you with a suitable translation. Certified translations by lingoking are valid in every German office. lingoking also offers a classification of your license.
  • Take your national driver’s license, the translated license, a biometric photo, a recent residence registration form (Meldebescheinigung) and the proof of registration of your chosen driving school to the Führerscheinstelle and apply for a German license. The office charges around EUR 45 for the application.
  • It usually takes six weeks to process your application, giving you time to take both the written and practical exams. Your driving school will provide you with all necessary information. When you pass the driving test you get your German driver’s license on the spot.

Cost of conversion

Depending on your Fahrschule and whether you have to take every exam, expect to pay EUR 500 for the conversion.

  • Registration fee Führerscheinstelle: EUR 45
  • Certified Translation: from EUR 45.90 (more information below)
  • Eye examination EUR 15
  • First aid test EUR 25
  • Registration at driving school (regional differences) EUR 100 - 200
  • Theoretical exam EUR 80
  • Practical exam EUR 150
  • Driving lesson if needed EUR 30 - 50

Calculate the price of translating and classifying your driver's license now! lingoking provides you with a certified translation of your driver's license including classification (if needed), postal delivery and a personal all-round service at an affordable price.

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