Converting a US driver's license to a German one

93 posts in this topic

Summarizing my experience of exchanging my US driver's license in Munich

 

1. Only certain states in the US have an agreement with Germany to allow for an exchange of the US to DE drivers license without taking a drivers test in Germany. (MA has an agreement)

2. If the drivers license is less than 2 years old then you would be required to submit a Drivers Record (Unattested is fine) from the DMV in the US. For MA you can order the Drivers Record from their website.

3. Depending on the agreement between the state and Germany, the US drivers license might be returned to the issuing state once a German drivers license has been issued.

4. If your US drivers has been issued for less than 2 years then you are still eligible for a German drivers license but you would be subject to a 2 year probation period minus the period from when your US license was issued. If you are involved in an accident then you would need to undergo the drivers tests in Germany.

5. The US drivers license and Driver Record have to be translated in German before submitting the application for exchanging the drivers license.

6. Fill out the application from for transferring the foreign license to the German license.

7. Go to the Kreisverwaltungsreferat, Fahrerlaubnisbehörde (License Authority) at Eichstätter Str. 2. The office opens at 7am so be there at least half an early. http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/kvr/service/offen/38198/index.html

8. Please take your application form, license translation, biometric photograph (x1) and passport with you. The application cost is €35. http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/kvr/strverkehr/fuehrersch/102680/umus11.html

9. Just sign the application that the official gives you and you will receive a letter in 4-6 weeks informing you that your license is ready. They will give you a piece of paper

 

Hope this makes your life a little easier! :)

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I am from Washington state and swapped my WA-state drivers license for a German one. I did not get my US license back. I tried to get a second copy through the WA DOL after the fact, but they knew already that I had given up my license to the Germans.

Now when I go back to the US and want to get a drink out with friends, I have to bring my passport with me, since bartenders and bouncer scoff at anyone without an American ID. (exactly the piece of paperwork you want to carry around on a night out, eh)

If I had known better, I would have reported a lost license to the WA DOL and gotten a second copy of it before handing anything over to the German authorities so I would have a backup for trips home (yes, it costs money, and yes, it's possibly "illegal")

Luckily I'm getting old enough that they'll stop caring soon. But it would have been a simple step had I thought of it ahead of time. 

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I have a DL from KY and I got it back and have to renew every 4 years like everyone else in KY does. I did read that carrying 2 DLs was illegal but it's not like both are in my wallet at the same time and I just pick and choose which one to show. I say check the list get the ID and if they keep it, let them. It's not like you can't drive in the states any more - ever again. 

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@Bloomies r us you can order your US driver license thru the German Fahrerlaubnisbehörde when you are returning to the States. There is a fee attached. Then you surrender the license when you return to Germany. Most US citizens do this for renting cars too.

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I have had no trouble showing my passport at bars in the US. I've also used my German DL there. I prefer not to show my CT DL (which I was allowed to keep as it apparently allows me to drive more categories of vehicles than the German DL) as it has way too much other information like my ADDRESS. I also have a passport card which is handy.

Plus, when you're pulled over in the US with a foreign DL, they will likely let you off without writing you a ticket. Quite an advantage.

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HI everyone,

I just got my license today yay! The thing is I was holding NY License which are not exchangable.

I have been practiced for the theoretical test for years and finally I went to submit all my document at Fahrerlaubnisbehörde last month.

Then last Friday I got a letter said that my license is ready to pick up, then I went today and I got it!!!

The strange thing also is I got my NY license back. ??? of cause, I didn't say a words I just hurry to get my ass out of there with my 2 licenses.

oh well.

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HI everyone,

I just got my license today yay! The thing is I was holding NY License which are not exchangable.

I have been practiced for the theoretical test for years and finally I went to submit all my document at Fahrerlaubnisbehörde last month.

Then last Friday I got a letter said that my license is ready to pick up, then I went today and I got it!!!

The strange thing also is I got my NY license back. ??? of cause, I didn't say a words I just hurry to get my ass out of there with my 2 licenses.

oh well.

​Clever boy!

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Hi,

 

In researching switching out my license, I realized I may have problems due to having not deregistered in 2012 when I moved back to the States for two years (I didn't know I had to until I registered this year upon moving back). If I'm correct, a person has 3 years to exchange their license from the States. I just returned to Munich and want to get my license, but does anyone know if I am past my 3 years since I was registered as living here since 2011 even though I wasn't here for 2013-2104? Being Germany, I'd imagine there's a "no excuses" policy. 

 

I appreciate any help or insight. Thank you!

 

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I suppose you can explain the situation? That you didn't know you had to un-register, but were actually living in the US? I think the rule is you need to have lived abroad for 6 months, wherever you got your license, before coming back to Germany.

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6. Fill out the application from for transferring the foreign license to the German license.

 

Where can I get this application? Is it available online? 

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The strange thing also is I got my NY license back. ??? of cause, I didn't say a words I just hurry to get my ass out of there with my 2 licenses.

oh well.

When I got my German drivers license, they told me I could come back in eight weeks to retrieve my IL license. They said (basically) they needed to make sure I hadn't done anything illegal while on my IL license while in Germany.

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They gave my NY license back thats was ok. 

But they just exchanged my NY License to be German with out any test, that is very strange isn't it?

Or they change the policy?

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That's really strange re: no test.  All the research I've done is that NY reciprocity still isn't there - embassy link - so I'm going to exchange my NY license for one in Louisiana (my parent's place) before coming over to Germany.

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 - so I'm going to exchange my NY license for one in Louisiana (my parent's place) before coming over to Germany.

That is a must!!! and do it 185 days before coming to Germany. just a reminder :)

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I can confirm: if your state doesn't want your license back - Illinois is one of them - I was told today that I could come back after six weeks (they take the license and verify that it's real in that time) and ask for it back "with a good reason". I asked if traveling to the states and needing my license to drive there was good enough, and he said yes. 

I thought I'd then have to trade the German one in for the Illinois one every time I go back home, but he said no, I'd then have two licenses. 

 

Otherwise, the license is held onto for three years and then it's destroyed (again: this is only for states that do not want the license back). 

 

 

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You can get your license back if you ask for it,  after a waiting period.  BUT,  it is easier when you return to the US to just go back to the RMV in your state and get another license (provided yours hasn't expired) when you visit next time.    Or go prior to leaving  and do the 'i lost it' thing and get another copy that way.

 

The only issue will be upon renewing.  You have to go back and do that in person.  I only know of one state that renews by mail.  Maybe that's changed.  

 

The states list of reciprocity with Germany is key.  there are only 7 states which give easy switches to German licenses.    Make sure you have the insurance coverage paper which lists education (drivers ed however it is listed) and a -0- points count.    If you have points, and'or  no drivers ed (or proof of) you will have to spend about 2000E to go to drivers school in Germany.

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