Getting a German driver's license

Info on schools, tests, language, and costs

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pinky
I've been living in Germany nearly 8 years, and now (because i didn't bother converting my California license before 3 years was up), I need to do the full test to get a German driver's license - there's no way about it.

Can anyone tell me what all needs to be done?

Also does anyone know of a good driving school? I read somewhere that some schools will let people who have extensive driving experience do fewer hours of actual driving classes.

What else do you need to do? Eye exam? First aid class?

And how much will the whole procedure cost from start to finish?

Another thing - are there any tests administered in English? I understand German fluently - it just takes longer and its more of a pain to study in German than in English.

Am ever so grateful for all your help.

Pinky
Purple Muffin
I am not sure about schools and number of lessons etc but I do know that you can do the theory test in English as a friend of mine did it. I am not sure maybe she also did the practical in English as well I could check.
arien78
hi pinky,

my husband is taking driving classes, so from that i can tell u a few things...but ur situation is a bit different since u r an experienced driver...

- it will cost approximately 1500 bucks...maybe less also
- u may take lessons in english too...or take lessons in german but have the exam and study material in english
- practical lessons depends on u...the teacher will see how many and i think u can decide how many u want to have.
- u ll have to take a first aid class which is held at ostbahnhof in english every 1st and 3rd saturdays monthly, it is a 6.5hrs course...begins at 16:00hrs and will cost u 20 bucks. (Orleansplatz 11, store passage next to bus station)
- There only u can get ur eye test done and recieve a certificate...i think that is an additional 6 EUR...
(take ur passport along with u when u go for the class)
- then u ll have to go for registration at the TÜV office
- give ur exams
- hopefully u ll pass and u ll be given ur drivers license!!

hope this helps!!

cheers
agni
For anyone in Munich, try this link: fahrschule-christine-timmer

Agni
jester
I did mine about 2 years ago in Frankfurt. The whole thing cost about €2,000. This included mock exams, eye test, theory test, driving test, lessons, mock exams and so on. Their is a minumum number of theory hours you have to attend and a minimum number of hours you must spend in the car.

Theory is around 14 hours. You can attend an English school but I kept it simple and attended the one that was beside me. It was all German but you can figure most of it out from the videos they show. You can also purchase a copy of the exam questions in English. Every question that can come up will be in this set so if you know everything in the set then the theory test is very easy. You can sit the test in English, just make sure that you state this.

You also have to do an eye test and first aid test. The school's in the area where I was had a day for this every few Saturdays and you put your name in to attend, usually limited numbers. It started around 9 and was finished at 3 or 4, very basic stuff. Do the eye test first thing in the morning and the rest was about what to do when comimg upon an accident.

Driving was very straightforward, I think it was 3 hours city driving, 3 hours country driving, 1.5 hours night time and 1.5 hours autobahn.

Once that is complete you sit the test, also very straightforward. Mine was less than 30 mins, drove from one town to another via the countryside and returned via the autobahn. That was it. I would imagine/hope it's a bit longer for the 17/18 year olds!
pinky
thanks for the info jester. €2000, yikes!
marie-claire
An Australian friend of mine got his German license 6 years ago and only paid around € 500, even though he was past the 3 years time frame and had to do the whole thing. So I guess it's worth looking around for something cheaper than € 2000. I may have to do it as well and what worries me most is the horrendous amount of time it will take.
jenniemargalit
I see that this post is rather old, but could someone confirm that it is still allowed to do the theoretical lessons in German but the test in English? Thanks for your help.
Grapejuz
Also cheaper to fly to the states, get your license renewed there (you can obviously pass the test again easy) and then bring it back and have it translated for €35. Just be sure you are getting it in one of the states that allows you to transfer it without taking any tests here.
Moondancer
That doesn't work Grapejuz, if you have been living in Germany over the time limit. One has to do this fairly quickly, like within 6 months after moving here.

http://germany.usembassy.gov/acs/drivers_license/
Krieg
I see that this post is rather old, but could someone confirm that it is still allowed to do the theoretical lessons in German but the test in English? Thanks for your help.
You can take the theoretical test in many languages included English but the practical test is in German. However, it is not that difficult, your instructor can prepare you to understand the usual lingo.

Also cheaper to fly to the states, get your license renewed there (you can obviously pass the test again easy) and then bring it back and have it translated for €35. Just be sure you are getting it in one of the states that allows you to transfer it without taking any tests here.
Not so easy, the foreign driving license won't be accepted for a swap if its issue date is previous your registration date in Germany. The rule is there to stop what they call "Driving license tourism" (you fly to other countries to get a license because it is easier/cheaper there).

That doesn't work Grapejuz, if you have been living in Germany over the time limit. One has to do this fairly quickly, like within 6 months after moving here.

http://germany.usembassy.gov/acs/drivers_license/
The 3 years limit does not exist anymore. You can swap your license any time after your first 6 months of residence.
hech54
The 3 years limit does not exist anymore. You can swap your license any time after your first 6 months of residence.
True. As long as your license is still valid you can do a simple swap.....IF you are from a US State that is approved for a simple swap. My home state is one of those states and it REALLY pissed off the ladies at the local town hall. LOVE IT....
Americanguyinulm
I am glad this thread started up again. Ok, I swapped my license in the US last week for a state that is accepted here. Now I am back in Germany.

Can anyone tell me what if anything else that I need?
kdale
Hey Americanguyinulm,

I just swapped out my US drivers license (WA state) for my german fuhrerschein here in Ulm. The information that I found indicated that a person needed to make the swap within the FIRST 6 months you are here (since registration I believe). After that, you will need to start from scratch.

Steps I took:
1. Went to the city's Führerscheinstelle (if you are in Ulm as I think you are): Fuhrerscheinstelle in Ulm
The ladies in the Ulm office are very friendly (when you are too)
2. The clerks there were able to give me a concise list of what I needed to do to complete the swap. I believe it was:
- while I was in the Führerscheinstelle, they took a copy of my US license.
- I paid for a translation of my license (the translation work was sent to Stuttgart)
- a few weeks later I recieved the translation in the mail
- return to Führerscheinstelle with translation, ID and cash ($35)
- a few weeks later, return to pick up your new German license. You WILL have to give up your US license to the clerk before you can get your German license.

This all assumes that you are from a state that allows for a direct swap

Hope this helps!
Kris
Americanguyinulm
That is exactly what I needed to know. Can you tell me where to get the translation done? Is there no place in Ulm?
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