Is my driver’s license valid in Germany?

Posted on 14 May, 2018

If you’re only planning to stay in Germany temporarily (and not to make it your residence), your driver’s license from your home country is still valid. You can drive any vehicles in Germany which you’re allowed to in your home country and you don’t need to convert your license. If you’re moving to Germany long-term however, the rules are different.

Residence in Germany and driver’s license from another country

If you become a resident in Germany, then German driver’s license laws apply. Driver’s licenses from other EU or EEA countries retain their validity, even in Germany. This applies to the following countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the UK, Cyprus, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Driver’s licenses from these countries are valid even if you have permanent residency in Germany and you don’t need to convert your license into a German one. All associated documents from your home country are valid in Germany. You do, however, have to be 18 years old, even if the age limit is lower in your home country. There are also specific restrictions and conditions for licenses for driving trucks and buses.

A driver’s license from outside the EU or EEA

Licenses issued in countries outside the European Union or European Economic Area are only valid for six months after becoming a resident in Germany. Only in exceptional circumstances can the validity of your license be extended by a further six months. After this time period, you have to convert your licence into a German one, which often involves taking a practical test. Germany does have arrangements with certain countries, which allow you to convert your license without taking a test.