Converting a US driver's license to a German one

159 posts in this topic

7 hours ago, Conquistador said:

Amanda, the two problems I can see is if they look closely at the license issue and expiration dates and notice a gap and, more important, the DMV transcript showing a gap, but that might depend on how granular a look they take at these things. When was the expiration date for the last VA license you had prior to moving to CA? 

 

Well, the Virginia license is obviously canceled when you register in another state.

 

With that said, I'm positive I had at least a few years left on it before signing up for the California one. I just don't know how many it was. I'm trying to get my DMV records but the DMV is awful. The website doesn't work to let me login and the customer service is crap, as usual.

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7 hours ago, yourkeau said:

For VA no exams required, for CA both exams required.

https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/fev_2010/anlage_11.html

 

So, your choice if obvious: Virginia license and DMV to prove that you got this license prior to 2011. Do not mention another license because Beamte can get lost and will just say "Nein". 

 

Indeed, this was a conscious move on my part to switch back to the Virginia license.

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I'm American. Was married to a German. Paid 350€ to take a British English driving test. Failed, due to the language difference. Dipped headlights, is it ok to k on the pavement etc..

 

anyway. I had a Tennessee license, but it was not exchangeable, so on my return to Colorado for a visit to the family, I exchanged he Tennessee license for a Colorado license using my address as a child. In Colorado, here's a big military base, and the state has a contract with Germany where Colorado residence can just show their license and automatically get he German driving license. No money paid, other than the small fee for a Colorado dr. License. 

 

I also heard that you can drive in the USA with your German license and there's no need to get an USA license. The system of police are also not allowed to write tickets for speeding when you don't have a USA license.  A German friend took vacation, rented a car and drove across the USA. He was speeding, got pulled over and the cop HAD to let him go. No ticket!

 

hope that helps. Just look up bug military states, like Colorado, get a license if you have an address, and that should do it. 

 

 

 

 

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On 6/15/2015, 4:01:50, hypepo11 said:

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

 

Do you have any insights as to how you managed to convert your NY license so easily? Do you think the person you dealt with made a mistake and/or didn't realize that NY doesn't have a reciprocity agreement? Or was it just sheer, dumb luck?

 

On 6/15/2015, 4:01:50, hypepo11 said:

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

 

What other documentation did you bring with you?

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On 10/20/2016, 3:51:35, fraufruit said:

I hadn't had my Texas license for long enough when I applied after 20 some years of living in Germany. I just made a sworn statement that I had been driving for 40 years or so and signed it along with my German husband. They accepted that. Most DMV's don't keep records for more than about 10 years.

 

Can this "sworn statement" approach work for people with licenses from non-reciprocal states? How do you go about it?

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If you were in the military in Germany and had a license here you can contact the Army who will mail you proof you had one and you can get it changed over.

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On 6/15/2015, 10:01:50, hypepo11 said:

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.

 

Sorry for the late followup to this. I heard on another forum that one might be able to use the *original* state issuing a license for the German license.

 

My situation: I got my license (when I was 16) in PA, then moved to NY. I have my PA driver's record now and my NYS license. Can anyone confirm that the PA record will work to get a german license?

 

Also, if there are points on your US license, does it matter? I had a small ticket when I was 19... since then clean bill.

 

Topper

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Points won't transfer to your German license.  I had the exact opposite situation with my original license being from New York, and my current license being from Massachusetts, but I think they were more concerned with the fact that I could drive BEFORE coming to Germany.  However, the fact that NY has zero reciprocity with Germany might be problematic, since that's where your current license is from.

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If I exchange a Texas drivers license for a German one, will they send the Texas license back to Texas? Will Texas consider my license as no longer valid if they receive it back from Germany? Or will I still be able to obtain another copy?

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11 minutes ago, mrandmrst said:

If I exchange a Texas drivers license for a German one, will they send the Texas license back to Texas?

 

German local equivalents to their US DMV counterparts will normally send foreign licenses taken in excchange for German ones to the BKA (Bundeskraftfahrzeugeamt) in Kiel. The BKA is a federal insitution charged with the administration of all vehicle and driver issues ranging from type approval of new models for manufacturers to the centralized recording of serious traffic violations.

 

IMO, (34 years in DE of which 60%+in the auto trade) the BKA would probably hold foreign licenses until their German partner license had lost validity. It is possible that they may eventually return them to the originating authority although I can't see a reason why they would spend extra tax-payer resources to do so. To be honest I've never met an official at any German DMV office anywhere who knew for sure what the BKA did with such licenses.

 

20 minutes ago, mrandmrst said:

Will Texas consider my license as no longer valid if they receive it back from Germany?

Or will I still be able to obtain another copy?

 

Now who, in Germany, do you suppose might know the answers to those 2 questions?

Right!

Nobody.

 

Only the Texas Dept of Safety, or whatever the authority responsible for TX drivers licenses is called, can know.

 

Maybe they have a website where members of the public can use a contact form to send them such questions.

 

2B

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As 2B says, it's almost impossible to know the validity of a license or if you can get another copy.  I can only give you anecdotal evidence from the state next door to you (LA).  Traded in my license for a German one which took about 2 months to process.  They took my Louisiana one and, as 2B also said, they had no idea where the license went to but they couldn't give it back to me. I went back home a few months later and told the DMV that I needed a replacement license.  They asked why and I told them that the original was somewhere in Germany.  $35, about 5 minutes and 1 very ugly new picture later, I got the US license. YMMV but good luck.

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Thank you. I read somewhere earlier in the thread that some states require the license to be sent back, but I couldn't find a list of which states. It certainly sounds less coordinated than they lead you to believe. 

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9 hours ago, mrandmrst said:

Thank you. I read somewhere earlier in the thread that some states require the license to be sent back, but I couldn't find a list of which states. It certainly sounds less coordinated than they lead you to believe. 

New York apparently doesn't require the license to be sent back.  Six years ago when I got my German license and they took my NY one, I just emailed NY DMV that I had lost it and needed a replacement.  Was in the mail a couple weeks later.  Of course, I still maintain a US address so they weren't sending it to Germany.  I have renewed the NY license once since then with no prolem either.

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I guess it depends on the city/state in Germany, and the state in the US. My CT one allows me to drive any non-commercial motor vehicle except for a motorcycle, so the Germans gave it back to me as they couldn't revoke my right to drive the other vehicles while in the US. And, I just renewed my CT DL and they send it to you abroad if you're there temporarily. It cost $72, so that's really pricey, but I decided to keep it (even though I don't really have an address there any more) because if I were to switch back to CA, where I do have family, I'd have a license with basically no reciprocity in most of Europe. CT is better.

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One update:

I went there today to exchange my Washington State's license. They told me they need the Initial Registration (anmeldung) proof in Germany. But since I've moved once I presented them with the latest one. They don't accept it and I just wasted 3 hours there.

I guess it's dependent on which Agent and I was not lucky enough.

Really tired of the German Bureacracy that wastes miliion hours of German's life. Sorry for the grumble.

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Well Stargazeryuan I can sympathize, but from their point of view you wasted their time by not showing up with the proper documents. They need the original date your first registered in Germany (no matter how many times you moved within Germany) because you only have a limited amount of time to exchange your license. I personally was hoping that I could have my daughter, when she turns 16, visit family in the US and get a US drivers license and then exchange it here and circumvent the whole expensive process. But apparently, Germany has caught on to that and you only have, I think, 2 years from the time you move here to exchange your license.

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10 hours ago, CarolynS said:

They need the original date your first registered in Germany (no matter how many times you moved within Germany) because you only have a limited amount of time to exchange your license. I personally was hoping that I could have my daughter, when she turns 16, visit family in the US and get a US drivers license and then exchange it here and circumvent the whole expensive process. But apparently, Germany has caught on to that

 

There is no limited amount of time to exchange - just a limited amount of time to drive on a non-EU license. The initial registration date is needed for the reason you mention in your next sentence - because they want to make sure you had your license before you first registered in Germany.

 

But yes, the paperwork requirements are sometimes quite frustrating...

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Just to clarify kaffeemitmilch, I can still, with my IL license, apply with the shortened list of documents for the German one, even though I have been in Germany six years?

 

Context: Had a NE license when I moved to Germany.  I never intended to drive, never did drive.  Changed NE license to IL after marriage and after living in Germany.  Now a potential employer wants me to drive to see clients and IL has reciprocity with Germany (while NE didn't have it fully).  

 

So can I just bring in the paperwork suggested earlier in the thread and avoid driving school?  Sorry if this is/was perfectly obvious and I just didn't understand.

 

Thanks!!

 

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