Exchanging a Non-EU Licence

Where a licence can be exchanged for a Dutch one, this is the process to follow...

If a non-EU country issued the driving licence then the holder has 185 days (six months) after registering as a Dutch resident in which to arrange a Dutch licence. In some cases this means a straight exchange it but in other cases it means sitting the Dutch driving test. During the 185 days the licence holder may use their licence.

In some cases an International Driving Licence may be required to accompany the original for the transition period. The licence-holder's Embassy will be able to advise on whether this is necessary.

The 30 percent ruling and getting a licence

  • For more information on tax law see the page Income Tax in the Netherlands in the money section.

Anyone entitled to the "30 percent tax ruling" can simply exchange their licence, no matter where they are from. This applies to family members too. Ask for an exchange form for the foreign driving licence at a local municipal office.

In addition to the fully completed form, the following must also be submitted:

  • a copy of a statement issued by the Tax Office proving that the applicant and family members are entitled to benefit from the 30 percent tax ruling
  • the original, valid foreign driver's licence
  • a birth certificate or certificate of residence from the municipality
  • a statement of capability
  • two identical, recent passport photographs

As soon as the municipal fees have been paid, the council will send the entire application to the RDW, and the driving licence will be issued within two to three weeks.

Diplomatic Exemption

Diplomatic staff or consular officers in the Netherlands and their families benefit from a special status. People covered by the diplomatic rule may drive in the Netherlands without the need to exchange their foreign licence for a Dutch one.

Certificate of Suitability

A "Certificate of Suitability" may be required by the authorities (CBR - Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing) over and above the health form when applying for a driving licence, in specific cases:

  • when a Dutch licence is first issued
  • when trading in a licence issued by certain countries
  • if the application is made by diplomatic or consular staff or their families
  • if certain medical issues are involved
  • if the driver is older than 75

Licence Verification

As so many different types of driving licences from various countries are submitted for exchange, the validity or authenticity of every document has to be verified. The Department of Road Transport may therefore ask the applicant to have the validity of certain information confirmed by the Consulate or Embassy of the country that issued the foreign driving licence.

It may also be necessary to have the content of the foreign driving licence translated by an approved interpreter/translator.

Japanese and Taiwanese nationals who wish to exchange their licences are required to have their original licence translated. Chinese nationals who are obligated to undergo an exam before exchanging their licence for a Dutch driving licence must also obtain a translation of their original licence.