Exchanging Indian driving license for German

45 posts in this topic

Dear All

 

I'm from India and will shortly be relocating to Germany. I read that you need to surrender the Indian original driving license to get a German license (apart from tests etc). My question is, when I travel back to India and need to drive in India, will my German license be valid? Or do I need to get an International Driving permit from Germany?

 

Thanks for letting me know

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The easiest ...cough cough...thing to do is to get a second Indian license. Go in and say you lost the other one.

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You need not surrender Indian license if you start German license course from start.

But for this, you have to attend all theory classes and take 12 compulsory driving classes apart from other practice driving lessons. This is a bit expensive option.

If you opt for exchange, then you need to first translate Indian license and then take up theory and practical tests. Even for this you have to enroll with a driving school. This may cost you a few hundred euros less depending on your driving skills..

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@Aniket11 - You could do well to check with Indian authorities. Some home countries may require a local DL if you intend to drive,in your home country, for longer than 3 months whilst using a foreign DL.On a recent holiday to my home country and after having converted my DL to a German DL,the authorities in my home country were ok with my "Führerschein" when i was required to show it.

 

@Sesh - I converted my DL by NOT starting from scratch and it cost ALOT of hundred of Euros,unless 1500 Euros is a few bucks to you... (I did the DL translation, did the First Aid Course (available only in German),studied the theory on-line in English, sat the Tüv theory test in English and did the practical test with a Prüfer that spoke no English at all but luckily enough my english speaking instructor was on hand to help.)

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I did not say it will cost only a few hundred euros. I meant with an exchange it will cost a few hundred euros less than starting from scratch. Ofcourse as you have mentioned, you have to do first aid, eye test, theory and practical exams. At the end your license from home country has to be surrendered.

 

AFAIK German license is accepted in most countries, but doubt if it is accepted in India. Also to get an English speaking instructor is possible in big cities, but in smaller towns the instructor as well as the examiner speak in German. But during practical test, we seldom need to communicate with them all the time. Just understanding few words regarding to driving (links/rechts abbiegen, geradeaus, einparken, gefahrliche bremsen etc) would be enough.

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My question is, when I travel back to India and need to drive in India, will my German license be valid? Or do I need to get an International Driving permit from Germany?

 

Difficult question and wrong forum to ask it. AFAIK you can't rent a car in India coming from Europe, you're only allowed to rent it with chauffeur. That means that most probably German DL is not valid in India. International DL is just a translation into multiple languages, you get it quickly from ADAC once you get a driving license.

 

 

You need not surrender Indian license if you start German license course from start.

 

True.

 

 

But for this, you have to attend all theory classes and take 12 compulsory driving classes apart from other practice driving lessons. This is a bit expensive option.

 

We have thousand of topics here on TT like "I'm taking lessons for 3 months but my driving instructor doesn't allow me to take exams. What should I do?" I guarantee that regardless of your choice (starting from scratch/exchange) you'll have to take more than 12 lessons. So, the only annoyance is to visit useless theoretical lessons.

 

 

If you opt for exchange, then you need to first translate Indian license and then take up theory and practical tests. Even for this you have to enroll with a driving school. This may cost you a few hundred euros less depending on your driving skills..

 

Few hundred? You are being very optimistic. Minimum a thousand. Two thousands if you are a bad driver like myself.

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My question is, when I travel back to India and need to drive in India, will my German license be valid? Or do I need to get an International Driving permit from Germany?

Your german licence will be valid only if it is accompanied with a International Driving Licence and you will be allowed to drive using that whilst visiting.

 

If you were to return to India then you would have to check with the State where you are to reside, rules vary from state to state, as to what the procedure is.

 

Also, bear in mind, if you exchange your Indian licence for a European Licence as they are now known your new licence will be valid in other Eurpoean countries whilst visiting. If you move to the UK for example and take up permanent residence your licence would only be valid for 12 months. Thereafter you would be required to take the theory and practical test in order to obtain a new licence.

 

It may pay in the long term to start the test from scratch here in Germany and then you would never have the issue above anf for your return to India you would still have your Indian licence.

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I was told by the KFZ-Zulassungsstelle here in Luneburg that they hold on to the surrendered licenses so any time I flew home I could just swap them back temporarily (hand them the German and get back my old one, and reverse when I got back to Germany).

 

Please note that the KFZ-Zulassungsstelle in Luneburg have also proven so far to be impressively clueless when dealing with the entire process of switching a foreign license so anything and everything they say should be taken with fairly large grain of salt.

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...and Lüneburg is built on salt! You see some of the buildings leaning due to salt mining just as they did/do in places like Northwich (near to where I last lived in the UK).

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...and Lüneburg is built on salt!

I never thought of that, that kind of explains everything I have experienced since coming to Germany :D

 

ETA:

 

 

You see some of the buildings leaning due to salt mining

I once looked at a flat in the Frommestrasse (the street that is currently subsiding) in one of the buildings that has since been taken down. They all had loft beds since that was the only way to sleep flat, and you felt more than slightly drunk after climbing the stairs.

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Also, bear in mind, if you exchange your Indian licence for a European Licence as they are now known your new licence will be valid in other Eurpoean countries whilst visiting. If you move to the UK for example and take up permanent residence your licence would only be valid for 12 months. Thereafter you would be required to take the theory and practical test in order to obtain a new licence.

 

No. A lot of people here got their licenses without exams (or with only theoretical test) which are indeed valid only in Germany, but other EU countries have a right not to recognize them.

 

But this case is different. This is a full exchange, both exams required, you get a normal German license where nothing indicates that it was exchanged (which is a problem if you want to rent a car, you can't prove that you've had a license during the last year). Such license is valid in the EU just like normal German license obtained from scratch.

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If you have few years already on your Indian license (don't remember the exact number), the license authorities will allow you to skip the theory/practical requirements.

All you will have to do is to register with the school, take some practice classes for your own good, do the theory and practical exam, and viola, you can keep your Indian license, plus have the German license as well.

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If you have few years already on your Indian license (don't remember the exact number), the license authorities will allow you to skip the theory/practical requirements.

All you will have to do is to register with the school, take some practice classes for your own good, do the theory and practical exam, and viola, you can keep your Indian license, plus have the German license as well.

 

No way. There are only two cases in which you can keep your license:

1. Beamter forgets to take it away.

2. You have multiple categories but exchange only category B (a car). For example, you have AB license (car and motocycle), then you exchange it into German B license and keep Indian license because it contains additional category A.

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For what it is worth - I managed to convince the person who dealt with my license swap to give me a photo copy of the old license which she stamped and signed as an "official" copy. As it now appears as if I have a license since 2013 not 2001 (I have a license that I could exchange with no need for exams), that will hopefully help convince the insurance companies/rental companies that I am not a new driver if the need ever comes up.

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Not saying you should do it, but one could technically just scan their Indian DL and when in India, go to the local RTO and get it printed and laminated since you are allowed to carry a copy legally. Just remember not to commit any serious traffic offense which will make them ask you to produce the original.

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No way. There are only two cases in which you can keep your license:

1. Beamter forgets to take it away.

2. You have multiple categories but exchange only category B (a car). For example, you have AB license (car and motocycle), then you exchange it into German B license and keep Indian license because it contains additional category A.

 

You are right. This information can be very useful if OP has similar circumstances as point (2).

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I have used my German DL in my last trip (1 month) to India. Interacted with traffic police, paid for parking ticket etc. It is valid, but I am not sure about length. I drove in Maharashtra.

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As it now appears as if I have a license since 2013 not 2001 (I have a license that I could exchange with no need for exams), that will hopefully help convince the insurance companies/rental companies that I am not a new driver if the need ever comes up.

 

Why does it appear that your licence is only valid from 2013?

 

You might need to look at some of the codes on the back, for example in the top left corner are the numbers 13 & 14.

 

What is written after the number 14?

 

If it is 10 then this will refer to the column 10 which will show the validity of the driving categories with dates.

 

If it is not 10 then it will be the date you past your test but only if you took your test in Germany.

 

In addition as this is an exchange licence, also on the back at the very bottom there is the number 12. Does this start with the number 70. followed by some numbers and letters which normally refer to your old licence number and your date of birth.

 

If you see 70 this is the administrative number indicating that the licence has been exchanged and sometimes at the end there might be a country code.

 

Car rental companies will only check the licence is valid and check the categories and dates in column 10.

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No. A lot of people here got their licenses without exams (or with only theoretical test) which are indeed valid only in Germany, but other EU countries have a right not to recognize them.

I really wonder sometimes where you get your information or do you just dream it up, as for the above that is just total bollocks, a licence exchanged/issued in Germany is valid in every EU country whilst visiting.

 

Take this sample story for example;

 

 

Angeles is a Chilean who moved to Spain a few years ago. Since Spain recognises Chilean driving licences, Angeles was able to exchange hers for a Spanish one after meeting a few administrative formalities.

 

With this new licence, Angeles can drive around the EU. However, if she ever moves from Spain to another EU country, she will have to check with the authorities there whether they recognise her Spanish licence.

 

If the new country also recognises the original Chilean licence automatically, she will be able to continue driving with her converted Spanish licence. If not, she may have to have her Chilean licence formally recognised or exchanged in the new country.

Source.

 

 

But this case is different. This is a full exchange, both exams required, you get a normal German license where nothing indicates that it was exchanged (which is a problem if you want to rent a car, you can't prove that you've had a license during the last year). Such license is valid in the EU just like normal German license obtained from scratch.

 

What do you mean by a normal German licence, there is only one type and it's now called European driving licence which is exactly the same throughout the EU. I'm sure I've posted that link before so I'd suggest you read it this time.

 

If the op is going to exchange his licence for a German one then this will be indicated on the new licence in various codes, see my previous post to lostinluneburg, he/she will have to give up their existing Indian licence with no exceptions.

 

As I mentioned before, the op only has 2 choices, exchange or take the whole test and only if he/she chooses the latter will they get to keep their Indian licence.

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