Procedure for Exchanging a Licence

Find out the exact steps to follow if you would like to exchange your foreign driving licence...

Drivers from EU and EEA countries (EU member states plus Lichtenstein, Iceland and Norway) may request a licence exchange, but it is not obligatory. No formal test takes place, but certain conditions must be met.

Drivers from non-EU and non-EEA countries who wait longer than three years after becoming resident in Germany before applying to exchange their licence must undergo the whole driver training and testing procedure from scratch. This is a costly process as it involves a minimum amount of compulsory elements (first aid, theory and practical).

To exchange a valid driving licence for a German licence, a transfer application must be made to the local Driving Licence Office (Führerscheinstelle) of the local administrative department or town hall (Kreisverwaltung or Rathaus).

  • To exchange a driving licence in Berlin visit Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten Fahrerlaubnisbehörde
    Address: Puttkamerstr. 16 - 18 10958 Berlin
    Phone: (030) 90269-2300
    Contact (in German)
    Book an appointment online (Termin buchen)
    More information on services related to driving licences in Berlin
A fee is payable to exchange a driving licence. Formalities may vary from one federal state to another, but generally the following documents must be provided:
  • Proof of identity (passport)
  • Confirmation of residency (polizeiliche Anmeldung) plus a photocopy
  • Passport-size photo of the driving licence holder signed on the reverse side (Photo should be: 45x35mm, bare-headed, three-quarter facial profile)
  • Current foreign driving licence plus photocopy
  • Certified translation of current foreign driving licence plus photocopy (Non-EU/EEA driving licences only)
  • Confirmation from the Office for Foreigners (Landeseinwohneramt) of the duration of residency in Germany (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
  • In some cases an eye test may be required
  • Some States require a certificate of proof of participation in a first aid course

The process may be relatively quick (around a week) but may take much longer so it is advisable to apply well in advance of the date when the existing licence becomes invalid. Once the German driving licence has been issued, the foreign driving licence will usually be retained and returned to the respective driving authority in the country of issue.

Canadian and US Citizens

A Canadian driving licence may be exchanged at the local authorities without taking a driving test. This must be done before the end of the first six months in Germany.

US citizens may drive in Germany with their US driving licence for up to 6 months on a US licence. Citizens who can prove that they are staying for less than a year in Germany may drive for 364 days with their US driving licence, but must declare this at the local driver's registration office.  Those staying longer than a year must get a German licence.

  • For more information about the American Drivers' License in Germany from the US Embassy site
  • Licence holders from certain states may directly exchange their driving licence for a German one
  • Licence holders from other states must take a written theory test (this can be taken in English)