Driving Licence Issued Outside the EU or EEA

What happens if you carry a licence issued in one of the major English-speaking countries outside the EU? Find out what to do if you have an American, Canadian, Australian or other driving licence...

Non-resident foreigners in Germany may use a valid foreign licence, provided it was issued by their country of residence (a minimum of 185 days per year must be spent in the principal country of residence). Owners of driving licences issued outside the EU and EEA must carry a translation. For a fee, the German Automobile Association (ADAC) can provide a translation of the driving licence, as well as a certification of permission to drive (Zertifizierung der Fahrerlaubnis).

This does not apply to:

  • Holders of provisional driving licences or learner drivers
  • Anyone banned from driving or holding a driving licence in Germany

The foreign driving licence of a non EU / EEA resident foreigner becomes invalid in Germany when the holder has been resident for six months. After this time, a German licence must be acquired. Some drivers may simply exchange their existing licence for a German one, while others will have to take a German driving test.

  • For more information on the validity of driving licences from other countries: Click here

If the foreign driving licence cannot be exchanged for a German licence, or if no current driving licence is held, the full German driving test must be taken.