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How to get your driving license recognized in Germany

You have arrived in Germany and already passed your driving test in your home country? In order to be allowed to drive in Germany, you must have your driver's license recognized. We will explain the exact rules.

Who needs a recognition

All people who move to Germany from a country that is not in the European Union need recognition if they live in Germany for more than 6 months.

How you get the recognition

There are some things you need to do before you get the recognition.

Following things you will have to do:

- You have to take an eye test at a glasses store (optician's store).

- You have to make a first aid course. After that you will receive a certificate.

- You have to take a theoretical driving test. You have to answer questions about the most important traffic rules, signs and traffic.

- You have to take a practical driving test. You will sit in the car with a driving instructor and an examiner and have to drive for 45 minutes without making bad mistakes.

Where you can start

First I would turn to a driving school. They have the most experience with your problem and can help you to do the necessary things.
In our article on "How to get a driver's license" we explain where you can find these driving schools. There are probably driving schools in your area where you can get learning material in different languages.

What you do when you have done everything

With all passed exams and the certificates from the eye test and the first aid course you go to the administration in your city or community.

The department that deals with driving licenses is called the "Driving License Office" (Führerscheinstelle) or "Driving License Authority" (Fahrerlaubnisbehörde). You need to make an appointment with this department. This can often be done online, by mail or phone, for example here:

in Mannheim

in Ludwigshafen

in Heidelberg

The authorities will take the driver's license from your home country, translate it and at the end you will get a German driving license back. In Germany every person is only allowed to have one driver's license.

What you need at the authority for the recognition

- Your passport or identity card

- A current biometric photo (look at our article)

- The driver's license from your home country

It is also important that your driving license is still valid. If the date has already expired, it can unfortunately not be recognized anymore.

What the recognition costs in total

Recognition does not cost the same everywhere. But overall it does not become cheap. You have to pay the theoretical and practical exam, the eye test, the first aid course and at the end a fee of about 40 € for the authority.

It is best to ask your driving school right at the beginning how much you have to expect.

You can say: the whole process until the recognition is exhausting and takes a long time.

But do not give up! There is a booklet with tips for you on how to stay relaxed with the authorities and how to manage your appointments. Maybe you also know someone who speaks German and can help you with difficult documents.

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