Exchanging a U.S. Driver’s Licenses For a German License

Driving in Germany can be exciting with the cities and beautiful landscapes. However, proper driving licenses are still required but may be simpler to acquire than previously thought.

Exchanging a Driver’s License

A driver’s license already acquired in one of the nations in the European Union is already accepted as a driver’s license in Germany. There is no need to exchange it for a German driver’s license. However, if a license was issued outside of the European Union then it is only valid for six months as of the date of arrival in Germany. This provision can be extended for only six months if the planned visit is over six months but less than one year.

An immigrant from a country outside of the European Union who plans on residing in Germany for longer than 2 months will need to acquire a German license known as Fuhrerschein in German. Depending on which country the immigrant is from, it can be as easy as exchanging their license for a German one to taking a written exam and/or a driving test.

Canadian & United States Immigrants

For those immigrants from Canada and the Unites States, it as simple as exchanging a Canadian or USA license for a German one as a general rule. If the USA immigrant is from any of these states it is a simple exchange:

·         Alabama

·         Maryland

·         Arkansas

·         Colorado

·         Illinois

·         Delaware

·         Idaho

·         Iowa

·         Kansas

·         Arizona

·         Kentucky

·         Louisiana 

·         Massachusetts

·         Michigan

·         New Mexico

·         Ohio

·         Oklahoma

·         Pennsylvania

·         Puerto Rico

·         South Carolina

·         South Dakota

·         Texas

·         Utah

·         Washington State

·         West Virginia

·         Wisconsin

·         Virginia

·         Wyoming

However, the residents from these USA states must take a written exam:

·         Florida

·         Minnesota

·         Tennessee

·         Mississippi

·         North Carolina

·         Connecticut

·         Missouri

·         Nebraska

·         Oregon

·         Indiana

·         Washington D.C

All residents from Canadian provinces can simply exchange their license for a German one. For all other states both the written exam and driver’s test will most likely be required. For a smooth transaction, the USA license must have been issues for at least six months previous to arriving in Germany. Proof may be required by German officials.

Other Immigrants

For those immigrants from South Africa, a written exam and a driving test will be required. New Zealanders may be required to take the written exam dependent upon which classification they hold or which they wish to obtain in Germany. Australians will most likely be able to exchange their current license for a German one but may require a vision test dependent upon which territory initially issued the license.

Driver’s Test & Written Exam

The best place to find the requirements necessary to obtain a German license is to contact the local authority when you arrive in Germany. Be forewarned that the German written driving test is somewhat difficult with nearly 30% of drivers failing to pass the exam on the first try. Plenty of materials are available in English as well as taking the exam in English, as the exam is available in a variety of languages. Driving schools also offer classes and driving practice as Germany has nearly a six-hour driving requirement to be met for driving on the Autobahn, country roads and within the city. Some driving schools can be highly priced but there are many with competitive rates for all types of drivers.

Once the German license is secure then the license will be valid for 5 years, as of 203. 


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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