• Gabriela Zafira

    German driver's license

    posted by  Gabriela Zafira in Germany forum 

    Hi Anne! I found this information on the web as I had the same questions, hope it helps:

    A general condition for the validity of a foreign driving licence in Germany is that the licence has been legally obtained and is still valid in the country of its origin. Licences with limited validity, e.g. learner's permits, are not accepted, and drivers must be at least 18 years of age to be allowed to drive in Germany. If you are not a holder of a licence from an EU member state, you should carry an international driving licence or an official German translation of your licence with you. Translations can be obtained from the ADAC (General German Automobile Club - the German equivalent for the AA in the U.K. or the AAA in the U.S.), from automobile clubs in your home country or from German embassies. Driving licences issued in the following countries do not require a German translation: Andorra, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Hungary, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Senegal and Switzerland.

    Different rules apply depending on whether you are visiting Germany, for example on a holiday, or intending to live there longer term. In the latter case, you will hold an official residence permit and work in the country. You may be married to a German resident or have other relevant connections to the country. In this case, the rules of living in Germany apply to you.

    Visiting Germany
    If Germany is not your country of residence, your driving licence has unlimited validity for the class of vehicles for which it was originally issued.

    Living in Germany
    After staying in Germany for 185 days, you will be considered to be an ordinary resident. If you travel abroad within this time, the number of days will start to be counted again from the day of your return. After 185 days, your driving licence will no longer be considered a traveller's driving licence. You may have to obtain a German licence or a translation of your licence, depending on where it was issued. In any case, you should make the relevant arrangements at least 3 months in advance. Driving licences issued from within the European Union (EU), and in Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland need not be exchanged for a German licence, as long as their period of validity has not expired. Otherwise, you will have to convert your driving licence to a German one. Some U.S. states have reciprocal agreements with Germany so that licences can be converted without taking a further driving test; licences issued in some other U.S. states can be converted after only taking the written test; click below for more detailed information. If neither case applies to you, you will have to take both the written and the practical test. Contact the local Traffic Office (Straßenverkehrsamt) for more information and get in touch with local driving schools, but make sure you point out that you don't need the full driving course, which is very costly, but only need to convert your licence to a German one.

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