Get German Driving License (Compete 2022 Guide)

by | Mar 20, 2022 | Transportation in Germany

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If you have landed on this article, then you might have already driven on the German Autobahn or you want to drive on it. That feeling of driving without any speed limit is something out of this world. In order to get this feeling, you need a German driving license. 

Today, we will explain everything you need to know about a German driving license. If the driving license from your country is valid in Germany or not. If it is not Valid then how you can convert your license or maybe make a new one from the scratch. Beside all these steps, we will also tell you how much all this costs in Euros. 

German Driving License- A quick guide

If you are from a country that follows the reciprocity agreement with Germany, you can simply exchange your foreign license with a German one.

Take the appointment and visit the driving license office in your registered city.

Make sure to take necessary documents with you i.e., photographs, foreign license, German translated license, etc.

Submit the document and get your German license. In case you are from a country that doesn’t follow the reciprocity agreement, you will have to get admitted to a driving school, take a first aid course and eye test, and submit the necessary documents.

After verification of your documents, you will have to take theoretical and practical driving exams. Once you pass these exams, you will get your German driving license. However, the procedure is quite costly as you will have to pay the high fees of exams and driving school as well. 

Driving School-How to find the best one?

Before taking a driving exam, you need to learn driving from a driving school. Make sure to find the best one to get yourself well-prepared.

While searching for a driving school, make sure to check some necessary things about the school. Check on the school ratings and reviews. You can use google to read the customer reviews about the school. Most important of all, check whether they are offering teachings in English or not.

Also, check how much cost will you have to pay for the lessons. Is the cost affordable to you?  

Keep these things in mind and find the best driving school in your city to get enrolled.

 Cost of getting a German driving license

Before going through the procedure you need to follow to get a German driving license, make sure that your budget allows you to follow it. You need to have a good amount of money in your pocket if you want to get a German driving license. Particularly if you are not able to follow the reciprocity agreement, the exam will cost you very high. Including the training and exam pay, the Germans typically have to pay 1500 to 2000 euros.

However, the cost varies with the area. If you are residing in the northern part of Germany, you will have to pay less. The southern part of Germany is a bit more expensive. Following is a rough estimate of the total cost you will have to pay for getting a German driving license.

  • The application fees will be from 40€-50€.
  • For the first aid course, the cost will be between 25€- 40€.
  • To take an eye-sight test, you will need 5€-8€.
  • First you will pay fees for the introduction to the theoretical exam that is 55€ – 65€.
  • Then comes the theoretical exam fee which is 22.49€.
  • For the practical exam, the introduction fee is somewhere between 145€ – 165€. And the exam fee will be 91.75€

Driving school fees will depend on the school you will choose to get admission to.

The need for a German driving license

The validity of a foreign driving license in Germany varies from country to country. Spot your country from the following categories to follow the relevant procedure.

Driving licenses from EU/EAA countries

If you have a license from any of the EU/EAA countries, then you don’t need to read this article at all. Germany validates your license until its date of expiration. However, the renewal of this license can’t take place in Germany. It can only be renewed in the country it was issued.

Driving Licenses from Non-EU/EAA countries

In case you have a driving license from a non-EU/EAA country, you will have only six months to use your previous driving license in Germany. Once you get your registered address in Germany, you will have six months to use your foreign license.  

Countries that follow Reciprocal Agreement

If you are from one of those countries that follow the reciprocal agreement, then you can exchange your foreign license easily with a German one. There will be no need to take a driving exam at all. All you need to do is to hand in your previous license to authorities and get a class B German driving license. Many countries follow the reciprocity agreement with Germany. These countries include Japan, Israel, Canada, Namibia, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa, and many others.

Driving license from US state

If you are from the US, then the state you belong to will decide the procedure you need to follow to get a German Driving License. Some states of the US follow partial reciprocity such as Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Mississippi, and Nebraska. In this case, you will only have to take the theoretical driving test. In this case, you will only have to take the theoretical driving exam. There will be no need for the practical one.

The other case is you are from a US state with full reciprocity i.e., Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Ohio, etc. In this case, you can simply get your old license exchanged with the new German driving license. 

If you are from a country or a US state that doesn’t follow the reciprocal agreement, you need to take a driving exam (theoretical and practical). A lot of your time and money is required in this case.

Steps to Get your German driving License

You can get your German driving license in two ways depending upon the previous driving license you have. Both of these methods to get a German driving license are elaborated here in detail. Choose the one that applies to you and follow it to get your driving license in Germany.

This video is in German but you can turn on the auto-translated English subtitles. 

How to exchange your foreign driving license reciprocity in Germany?

Step1: Book your appointment to visit the Driving license office

The first to exchange your foreign driving license and get a German one is to apply for it. For applying, book an appointment at the driving license office (Führerscheinstelle) in your city.

There is an important thing you need to keep in mind while making the appointment. If you have a non-EU/EAA license and you need to exchange it for a German driving license, then book an appointment for Umschreiben eines ausländischen Führerscheins (Non-EU). 

Make sure to take the appointment from the office in the city you are registered in. To taking an appointment, you can call them via phone or use the online service.

Step 2: Collect all the required documents for the exchange process

Collect all the required documents to avoid any hustle and bustle at the eleventh hour. Following are the documents you need to gather.

  • 35 x 45cm biometric photograph of yours
  • Your foreign driving license (make sure that the license is valid)
  • A German-translated version of your license. However, if your existing license is in English, then this German translation may not be required. You can clear this ambiguity by making a phone call or writing an email to the office.
  • Proof of the period since which you got your current driving license. This proof is sometimes available on the driving license. If not, then it is required separately.
  • Eye-test certification is also required. This certification should be current. The test must be taken in the past two years according to the reciprocity agreement.
  • If you are a German citizen, then your German ID card will be required. Otherwise, a Passport can serve the purpose.

Step 3: Visit the office as per booked appointment to Get your German driving license

You have booked the appointment at the driving license office. Also, you have gathered all the necessary documents. Now all you need to do is to visit the driving license office on the appointed date. Submit all the documents you gathered in step 2.

Now everything is done. The office will give you a German driving license. Sometimes, you may be asked to hand in your previous driving license. The office will send this license back to the issuing authorities.

How to get a driving license in Germany without reciprocity?

In this case, you will have to take the driving test and follow some specific steps to get your German driving license. Follow the below-mentioned steps and get your German driving license.

Step 1: Find the best driving school to sign up

In Germany, you need to learn driving from a certified German driving school (Fahrschule). Proper education is required to take the driving test. Find the best driving school and sign up to start taking lessons.  

Step 2: Take the first aid course and eye test

The training session of the first aid course lasts 9 x 45mins. Since the course is not so lengthy, course providers usually offer classes on Saturdays. Sometimes, the driving school suggests the best local first aid course, provider. If not, then you can find it as many cities in Germany have numerous course providers.

Usually, you can take your eye test the same day you attend the first aid course class. If not, then it is not a big deal at all. You can visit any optician to take the eye test and get your eye test certification.

Step 3: Book your appointment to visit the driving license office

The next step is to get an appointment with the driving license office. There is an important thing you need to keep in mind while making the appointment. If you have a non-EU/EAA license and you need to exchange it for a German driving license, then book an appointment for Umschreiben eines ausländischen Führerscheins (Non-EU). 

Make sure to take the appointment from the office in the city you are registered in. To make an appointment, you can call them via phone or use the online service.

Step: 4 Collect all the necessary documents to attend the first appointment

 When exchanging your foreign driving license without reciprocity, the following documents are required.

  • 35 x 45cm biometric photograph of yours
  • Your foreign driving license (make sure that the license is valid)
  • A German-translated version of your license. However, if your existing license is in English, then this German translation may not be required. You can clear this ambiguity by making a phone call or writing an email to the office.
  • Proof of the period since which you got your current driving license. This proof is sometimes available on the driving license. If not, then it is required separately.
  • Eye-test certification is also required. 
  • First aid course certification
  • If you are a German citizen, then your German ID card will be required. Otherwise, a Passport can serve the purpose.

After collecting your documents, you will visit the German Road Traffic Licensing Department along with your documents. You will be required to attend two appointments to proceed, and this will be the first one. In this first meeting, the department will go through all your documents to verify them. This verification process will decide whether the office will accept your request for a German driving license or deny it.

 If your request gets approved, the department will inform TÜV of this approval. TÜV is responsible to supervise all the driving exams in Germany and provide valid certifications.

Step 5: Prepare well to successfully take the theory test for the German license 

Passing the theory exam is a must to further proceed with the process. Although you have the option to take this test in English, it doesn’t mean that you will pass the exam easily. The exam will be all about the traffic rules in Germany. These rules are very detailed and therefore, you will have to prepare yourself with keen attention. To participate in this theory exam, you can use a web app or a mobile application.

Step 6: Take the driving lessons and then participate in the practical driving test  

Although taking driving lessons is optional, it is good for your preparation. Before the practical driving test begins, you are asked a few questions from the examiner. The questions will not be so tough and an individual with good preparation can answer them easily. These questions will be like Are the brake lights working properly or not? If an emergency arises, what button in the car is required to press to give an indication? These oral questions should be answered correctly to start the practical test.

The duration of the driving test will be 45 mins. The examiner will observe you and will give the necessary instructions about driving. After 45 mins of the exam, the examiner will let you know whether you have passed or failed.

In case you pass the exam, the examiner will provide you with a certifying slip. This slip is proof that you are eligible to drive in Germany.

Step 7: Take your German driving license from the office

Once you have successfully taken the driving exam, you will be able to receive your German driving license within a few weeks. This will be your second visit to the office. You will have to give your previous foreign driving license to receive the German one. Since your country is on the list of no reciprocity, you will be called the first-time license holder in Germany despite your previous license.

How much time will it take to get the German Driving License?

If you are eligible to follow the reciprocity agreement, you will have to wait 4 to 6 weeks to get your German driving license in your hands.

However, if you can’t follow the reciprocity rules, then it will take you from 2 to 6 months to follow the whole procedure. Several factors are involved in determining the exact duration i.e., your driving school lessons, the first aid course, etc.

    Conclusion

    To exchange your foreign license for a German driving license, you need to follow some specific steps. The procedure is expensive as well. But following these steps will ensure your road safety and help you buy or rent a car in Germany easily. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

     

    1) How many times can I attempt to pass my driving exam?

    Once your documents are verified by Führerscheinstelle, you can do as many attempts as you want within one year. However, it will cost you high because for each attempt you will have to pay the exam fee. Furthermore, you will have to pay for the lessons you will take before each attempt. 

    2) Is there any difference in the license for manual and automatic cars?

    Yes, there is a difference. If you have a driving license for an automatic car, you will not be allowed to drive manual cars. In case you have a license for manual cars, you can drive automatic as well.

    3) Can I get a German driving license with weak eyesight?

    Yes, you can, but you must wear glasses while driving a car. So, don’t worry if you are unable to pass the eye test. You are still eligible to take the driving exam.

    4) Is the German driving license valid in Europe?

    Yes, it is. You will not have to apply for an international driving license in Europe. Your German driving license will work in Europe.

    5-Is there any specific mobile application to take the theory exam?

    Several mobile applications are available in the market. Fahrschulcard App is one of them.

    ⚠️ In our articles, we use affiliate links from our affiliate partners. If you click these links and purchase a service or a product then we may earn a small commission, without any extra cost to you. This way, we stay motivated and bring you all you need to know about Germany. 

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