Should I keep my UK driving licence?

58 posts in this topic

Hi, 

I'm British, I've held my UK drive licence for many many years. No points, all clean like a nuns k******s on a Sunday. I don't imagine in a month of Sunday's of returning to Blighty. Is it a good idea to just hand in my UK licence and just get a German one? I imagine it would just make the red tape side of things easier. Let me know if you've done this. 

Thanks. 

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There's a search box top right, unsurprisingly you're not the first to ask this ...

Plus a few more if you look.

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16 hours ago, StefanC said:

Hi, 

I'm British, I've held my UK drive licence for many many years. No points, all clean like a nuns k******s on a Sunday. I don't imagine in a month of Sunday's of returning to Blighty. Is it a good idea to just hand in my UK licence and just get a German one? I imagine it would just make the red tape side of things easier. Let me know if you've done this. 

Thanks. 

 

What licence do you have?

 

Is it the old pink paper licence pre 1998 or is it the photocard licence.

 

If it is the old pink paper licence then you are under no obligation to change it until 2033 or your 70th birthday which ever comes first.

 

If it is the latter, photocard and as you say you have held it for many many years then it might actually be out of date. As a German resident you can only exchange it for a German one. If it is out of date then don't panic this is not unusual and will/should be a straight forward process.

 

If you're concerned about Brexit then the decision is yours but I would imagine there will be no drastic changes if at all any in the short term.

 

@Malt-Teaser to be fair to the op none of the threads on driving licences really help, as the topic title is 'should I keep my UK driving licence', not 'how to','where to' or 'what if (Brexit)'.

 

 

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As @Sir Percy B says, if it is the old style they you don't have to do anything, but sometimes now car hire companies etc. won't accept an old paper licence

 

I changed my old style to a UK photocard style in 2006, and used my parents address.

But when this expired last year then I exchanged it for a DE licence.  This was really incredibly simple, and the Beamter didn't even blink.  Although it took a couple more weeks to process compared to my German wife, who renew hers at the same time. 

 

The disadvantage of the UK licence is actually when you want to rent a car in the UK.  You have to 'prove' that you don't have any points, which used to mean carrying around the paper part.  But now means that you have to go online to get a "licence check code" and give this code to the car hire company.  But the code is only valid for 21 days, so you might have to do this multiple times per year.

 

The only disadvantage I've had with the DE licence is that sometimes the car rental company will print off your contract agreement in German, when you might want this in English (or another language).  

 

I would say that if you are not planning to go back, then take the plunge and change it!

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This is a really good point of OP and one I have been discussing ad infinito with my German colleagues this week.

 

Who knows after Brexit if the Germans might say:  "time to get a German licence, Mr. Brit".  My colleagues say that the local test is expensive (over €2k) and really shit.  A written exam in German in which even Germans struggle.

 

I have translated my UK licence at the ADAC and will probably swap it for the DEU one some time next year before Brexit.

 

Like various other Brexit issues that effect me personally, its all a total pain.  Reciprocity of driving licences obviously isn't a burning issue high up on the negotiating agenda at the moment.  So I am left trying to take a best guestimate (within the time-frame) of what is the best course of action.

 

 

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My understanding on the subject when I transferred my licence many years ago is more based around if you have a valid UK address.  Your UK Licence becomes invalid by the UK as soon as you no longer have a UK address and you cannot register a non-UK address with the DVLA.  So I transferred mine to a DEU one, while my wife still had her's registered at her Parents' house and so has not transferred hers. 

As for Brexit, it will be decided at the end as part of the agreement between the UK and EU as to what will/will not be accepted, so no one can say today.

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10 minutes ago, jumblednonsense said:

 

As for Brexit, it will be decided at the end as part of the agreement between the UK and EU as to what will/will not be accepted, so no one can say today.

 

That's the timing point I was talking about above.  If one swaps before Brexit, then its painless.  

 

I understand that there is a list of countries where a 1-to-1 swap (if you want/need) of a licence is still possible.   DEU acknowledges that some countries have comparable requirements to pass their driving tests.   I think Japan is on the list.  Mexico and the US are not.

 

Will Britain be on the list - if residents here are forced to get a local licence at some point?  Probably, but who knows.  The EU could well be spiteful.

 

Does anyone know what the rule for non-EU driving licence-holders is?  At what point do you need a DEU licence to drive in Germany?

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9 minutes ago, jumblednonsense said:

As for Brexit, it will be decided at the end as part of the agreement between the UK and EU as to what will/will not be accepted, so no one can say today.

 

1 minute ago, More tea, Vicar? said:

Does anyone know what the rule for non-EU driving licence-holders is?  At what point do you need a DEU licence to drive in Germany?

 

Well,  no other countries outside the EU or EEA are allowed to keep their driving licences for more than 6 months here.  So as UK leaving both of these, I do not see it being any different.  This will also affect EU drivers resident in the UK, though they have get 12 months before they have to swap.

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1 hour ago, More tea, Vicar? said:

This is a really good point of OP and one I have been discussing ad infinito with my German colleagues this week.

 

Who knows after Brexit if the Germans might say:  "time to get a German licence, Mr. Brit".  My colleagues say that the local test is expensive (over €2k) and really shit.  A written exam in German in which even Germans struggle.

 

My thoughts too.  I swapped my UK licence recently...it was very easy and cost around 50€. Maybe, just maybe, DE will see some merit in making non EU members take a test...expensive and time consuming. Both of my german parents living in the UK in around the 1970's were for some reason (I can't recall why...legislation of some sort) forced to take a British driving test.  Expensive, time consuming and not easy for experienced drivers with limited English language skills. A colleague of my husband had to take an idiot test after losing his license for some reason.  He found it very difficult.

 

On the other hand, I do wonder what would happen should I return to the UK for any reason.  I'd hope that I wouldn't have to take a test as my original UK license can be proven. Who knows.

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47 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

 

 

Well,  no other countries outside the EU or EEA are allowed to keep their driving licences for more than 6 months here.  So as UK leaving both of these, I do not see it being any different.  This will also affect EU drivers resident in the UK, though they have get 12 months before they have to swap.

 

Thanks snowingagain.  That is the answer to this thread.  If you live here and want to drive, then swap your UK licence before Brexit.  Fullstop.

 

I am less worried about having to re-do my UK test (if I go back) in years to come, then having to the DEU one.

 

BTW, my German colleague has a Japanese wife and she was able to swap hers here, 1-to-1.  She just asked her Japanese authorities to give her a new one afterwards, which worked well because their licences only last 5 years anyway.

 

I wonder if the UK authorities will give us a new UK driving licence after Brexit?

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Thanks to all who replied. I'm grateful. Its nice to exchange ideas here. Its a great forum! I'll probably change quite soon to a German licence. I like things neat and tidy. BTW I have a photo card licence. 

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I changed my old UK pink paper licence for German licence.  The UK  address  was a very old one, and had been using Canadian licence for some years. So, made sense as you cannot renew or change details if no longer living in the UK.

If you do return to the UK, you can exchange your German licence for your old Uk licence.

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I changed my UK license for a German one in the early '90s.

 

Surprise one :  the photocopy of the pink (or green ??)  page had the words FAKE FAKE FAKE all over it ! 

Seems the anti counterfeit people were working even then.

 

Surprise two : when I applied for the German license I had already been living in HH for a while

I was told that I hadn't applied for "staying permission" (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung)

When I queried this, they said you're probably asking for a driving license aren't you. ?

We always get them !

 

I had tax, health, social sec., Anmeldung & work permit all covered.

As a Brit they couldn't refuse Aufenthalt. But I still needed the bit of paper

to get a driving license.

 

Cost me DM 60 in a fine that did...

 

Get the German card and have done with it.

 

PS

See if you can get all the busses, tractors and trailers from the old one added to the new license.

Who knows what you might need in 10 yrs...

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, HH_Sailor said:

See if you can get all the busses, tractors and trailers from the old one added to the new license

 

This thread reminded me to change my licence next week (it's long overdue - and a pain when hiring cars in the UK), and making sure I keep all those old entitlements are my main concern. Over the past year I have needed to hire a variety of those odd vehicles which the youth (which in DVLA speak means anyone under about 40 I think!) aren't allowed any more - including a 7.5 tonne lorry with trailer, which frankly I am amazed anyone let me drive without some prior training!  Has anyone with all those old entitlements been able to keep them on their German licence?

 

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A current , valid UK drivers license shows what you are allowed to drive

and have passed all requirements for same.

I wasn't asked for extra certificates or other proof of  training for the

stuff more than car / manual / automatic.

 

So yes, old entitlements go onto the new license.

 

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4 hours ago, More tea, Vicar? said:

I have translated my UK licence at the ADAC and will probably swap it for the DEU one some time next year before Brexit.

I enquired about changing my UK licence (Pink paper issued in 1983) about 7 years ago and they said it would need to be translated by the ADAC and a few other bits etc etc which would have cost me about €130 then.

2 weeks ago I decided to actually do it so went to the Landratsamt and enquired about starting the process and now you don't need it translated they just need your licence for a couple of days to check if it is real and they will issue you a German photocard licence.Took a total of about a week from enquiring to me receiving the new licence all for the princely sum of about €40.

Well a little bit more than that as you need to go to the Rathaus and they need to verify that you live at that address which cost €6.

They transferred everything from the UK to the DE one including my bus licence which actually expired in 2011.

1 hour ago, RedMidge said:

If you do return to the UK, you can exchange your German licence for your old Uk licence.

I was told once I got the DE one that my old UK one would be destroyed and if I wanted to change it for a UK licence in the future I would have to go through the same process in reverse over there.

 

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I did not translate my old pink one- told it was not necessary.( 7 years ago)

Also told I would have to give up German one if I returned to Uk and applied for Return of UK one.

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I have lived in Germany for over 16 years and still use my UK license. I never exchanged it for a German one. I don’t own a car and only drive occasionally. 

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