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Changing a Canadian driver's licence to German

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Hi there-

 

I understand that you have a year from the time you arrive in Germany to automatically swap your North American drivers license to a German one without having to do tests for it.

 

I've also heard you do this at the police, at the burgeramt... you name it. It's been rather confusing to get a straight answer.

 

Has anyone done this recently and where did you go. Also, how much did it cost?

 

Thanks!

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There's a ton of info on TT on this if you use the search. In Hamburg at the motor vehicle licensing office 11 years ago I switched from a BC license. I had to pay 1100 DM and take 10 hours' worth of lessons, plus a written and a road test. Had I been from Quebec (!!) they would have charged me 50 DM handling fee. Hope your mileage is better than mine. B)

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Hi Zobirdie,

I'm a Canadian living in Berlin and just received my brand spanking new German drivers license in the mail.

It's actually quite easy to get, you just gotta wait a looooong time for them to process it.

 

Go to Puttkamerstr. 16-18, by Kochstr. U-Bahn and walk straight up to the first floor and turn right and go into the big waiting room. Ask whoever's working the help desk to give you the forms to transfer drivers licenses. For a car you want to ask for a "B" class license. After you fill out all your forms they charge you 40 euro and tell you that your license will be mailed to you within 6-8 weeks, WHICH IS A LIE. Mine took about 4.5 months. That's German beaurocracy for you.

 

Super easy.

 

By the way, after being in Germany for more than 6 months your Canadian license is no longer valid. They also take away your Canadian license when you get your German one.

 

Bring all ID with you when you go, passport, old license, insurance number, that paper that says where you live, it all helps. Oh yea, and NO ONE there speaks A WORD of english, so learn all the vocab you think you'll need to know beforehand.

 

Hope that all helps.

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Hey Langton!

 

Thanks so much!

 

GAD! I waited to do it until I got my visa (which took 8 months!!!)... maybe they will work from that date... or do they take it form your amneldung... because I've had that for almost a year.

 

How bloody annoying. I assumed they would want to see I actually had a visa first. (Or why give me a license?) I have been back in Canda since my amneldung. I wonder if that will make a difference? Oh.. and when you say insurance number, what do you mean there? Do I have to get insurance here to get a DL?

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Don't worry about specific ID or anything, I think the only ones you REALLY need are your passport and old canadian drivers license. So long as it doesn't say that it's expired on the card, you should be fine. I can't remember if they looked at my other pile of paperwork at all, but I had it with me, just in case.

Oh yea, one other thing I forgot to mention. This is absolutely essential. Bring a passport size photo along, they'll need it, because they don't take your photo there, you gotta bring your own. Either your original passport photo, (which they will keep) or have another one printed. It doesn't have to be the same photo as the one on your old license or passport but does need to be a professional one from a passport office or wherever else ID photos are made.

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They go from the date of when you first registered to live in Germany (anmeldung), NOT when you finally got the visa. So hurry up!

 

For my swap, I first went to the vehicle license bureau which gave me some forms I needed to go away and get filled/signed/officially stamped before coming back and starting the actual process. Guess Berlin is easier or the process has been made simpler since I did mine a few years back.

 

proof of registration in Germany - the vehicle license bureau gave me a form I had to take to city hall and have stamped as proof of some sort

 

eye test - a form which I had to take to an optician to do an easy eye test

 

translation of Cdn driver's license into German which I did at ADAC

 

Also popped into a photographer's studio and got passport photos taken.

 

Plus Cdn passport and original Cdn driver's licence. I tried to get away with giving them a photocopy of my Cdn license, and the gal at the vehicle licensing office seemed to think it was ok. But after two weeks I received an official letter saying that they must have my original in order to process the swap. So I had to give it to them and it delayed the whole thing by at least 3 weeks.

 

I'm now allowed to drive tractors for some odd reason. My Father-in-law keeps "threatening" to give me lessons on one of his two. One day I'll say "yes" and he'll die on the spot of a heart attack. ;)

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Unlike Bipa, I did not need an eye test. The again, it said right on my Canadian license that "adequate lenses are required". I'm thinking they figured that was good enough, and put the same restriction on my German license.

 

Unlike on my Canadian license, I cannot pull a trailer or drive a tractor in Germany. I was allowed to do both of these things back home. Maybe it was because I'm from the Prairies, and everyone needs to be able to work on their farm/vacation in the Rockies? ^_^

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I asked about exchanging my Canadian license back in January and I was told that I needed an eye exam, 2 photos, a translation of my Canadian license and a 1 day first aid course. From what I could figure out, the translation might cost me up to 50€ and the first aid course about 15 and the license about 40. My embassy gave me a better deal to get my EU license (which I had to give up for the Canadian one) back for 21€ so that's what I did.

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