Confused about how to get a German driver's license [as an exchange?]

11 posts in this topic

Hi everyone, I've been in Germany for a handful years as a non-EU national, and as I've been stuck in an English speaking bubble, my German is still not good enough to deal with authorities.

 

My problem is that I feel more and more the need for a car, now that we've moved a bit more into suburbia. I have a valid foreign license, and from what I understand I'm already past the first 6 months in Germany timeframe where I could have exchanged my old one for a German one.

 

What to do here in Baden-Wurttemberg? I really don't want to do the who spiel of getting a brand new one, and I'm wondering what I can do to expedite the process. The local authority is no help in person, and what I've been reading online does not cover my specific case - or I couldn't find a good reference for it.

Halp :)

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It has been my understanding that you can't drive on your foreign licence longer than 6 months but I think you can still exchange it if it's valid.  I don't think you can avoid the local authorities because they are the people who will be exchanging your license for you.  Whether you need to pass a written or road test depends on where your license is issued.

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as your 6 months window has passed, you can no longer simply "exchange" your foreign license for a German one (not even for those non-EU countries that may have some kind of reciprocity agreement with Germany or the EU). 

 

After 6 months your foreign license became "invalid", you are now being treated like somebody who is applying for a new driver's license in Germany.

Means you get to go for the entire full course of training in testing. 

 

This page explains it quite well - I don't know if your German is good enough for it.

https://www.bussgeld-info.de/auslaendischen-fuehrerschein-umschreiben/

 

Depending on where you live there may be local "Fahrschule" offering courses (and maybe even tests) held in English.

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7 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

as your 6 months window has passed, you can no longer simply "exchange" your foreign license for a German one (not even for those non-EU countries that may have some kind of reciprocity agreement with Germany or the EU). 

There are numerous threads on TT on this topic, especially regarding Americans.  After 6 months, without special permission, we can not use our US license, but we most certainly can exchange it without a driving course if our state has reciprocity. Many of us have done so after years of residency.

https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/332231-exchanging-your-us-drivers-license/?page=3

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21 hours ago, BethAnnBitt said:

There are numerous threads on TT on this topic, especially regarding Americans.  After 6 months, without special permission, we can not use our US license, but we most certainly can exchange it without a driving course if our state has reciprocity. Many of us have done so after years of residency.

https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/332231-exchanging-your-us-drivers-license/?page=3

 

 

Yes, exactly. You can exchange it, depending on your country, or if you are from the US, your state. You do NOT need to apply as if you are a new driver after 6 months! Please check the reciprocity agreement with your country. 

 

I am from NY and had a valid license in NY when I exchanged it for my German license. That was 4 years after I moved. I had to take my first aid course, the theory test, and the practical exam. I did not have to take all the theory classes because of the agreement with NY. My exH simply exchanged his license 3 years after we moved because of the (new) agreement with Australia. 

 

You do not need to apply as a new driver after 6 months (depending on where you are from)! Karin’s information is false. Check what is required. 

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On 7/20/2021, 5:39:56, karin_brenig said:

as your 6 months window has passed, you can no longer simply "exchange" your foreign license for a German one (not even for those non-EU countries that may have some kind of reciprocity agreement with Germany or the EU). 

 

After 6 months your foreign license became "invalid", you are now being treated like somebody who is applying for a new driver's license in Germany.

Means you get to go for the entire full course of training in testing. 

 

This page explains it quite well - I don't know if your German is good enough for it.

https://www.bussgeld-info.de/auslaendischen-fuehrerschein-umschreiben/

 

Depending on where you live there may be local "Fahrschule" offering courses (and maybe even tests) held in English.

6 months is about DRIVING on foreign license.

Regarding EXCHANGE of foreign license on German one, I am not sure if there is any time limit. Condition is that the foreign license should be obtained before establishing residency in Germany.

 

In any case, you are NOT treated like somebody applying for a new driver's license in Germany even if your state does not have any reciprocity agreements. In the latter case you need to pass either theoretical exam only, or theoretical+practical exam (for countries/states not listed in the link). 

 

What you do not need to do is to attend any lectures/driving lessons, even though it is recommended to do so. I took a lot of lessons, but not a single one was driving at night as I did not find this necessary. Those who start from scratch should take this lesson, for example.

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5 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

Condition is that the foreign license should be obtained before establishing residency in Germany.

 

 

This is an important point.

 

I have been driving since 1995 and in NY you renew your license every few years, sometimes depending on age (I needed a new license when I turned 21, for example). At the Führerscheinstelle, they do require proof of how long you have been driving. Since I had thrown out my first two licenses, I only had licenses dated back to 2003. Something happened with this point (I do not remember exactly), but it was extra paperwork. 

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BTW I did this earlier this year at the Stuttgart Führerscheinstelle and because of Corona had to get an appointment. I phoned in November and the appointment was for February. Don't know if that still applies, but don't expect it to be fast.

 

 

 

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On 21.7.2021, 22:00:31, klingklang77 said:

 

 

Yes, exactly. You can exchange it, depending on your country, or if you are from the US, your state. You do NOT need to apply as if you are a new driver after 6 months! Please check the reciprocity agreement with your country. 

 

I am from NY and had a valid license in NY when I exchanged it for my German license. That was 4 years after I moved. I had to take my first aid course, the theory test, and the practical exam. I did not have to take all the theory classes because of the agreement with NY. My exH simply exchanged his license 3 years after we moved because of the (new) agreement with Australia. 

 

You do not need to apply as a new driver after 6 months (depending on where you are from)! Karin’s information is false. Check what is required. 

 

Seems to be a question of which state in the US your licence is from. We do business with a household name American company. Their HQ are in NY, but the have a large office in Germany, and they send folks on assignents for a couple of years in both directions. There was some trick about getting the NY licence transferred to some other state (was ist RI?) after which it could be swapped for a German licence. 

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17 minutes ago, capslock said:

 

Seems to be a question of which state in the US your licence is from. We do business with a household name American company. Their HQ are in NY, but the have a large office in Germany, and they send folks on assignents for a couple of years in both directions. There was some trick about getting the NY licence transferred to some other state (was ist RI?) after which it could be swapped for a German licence. 

 

You can find a link to a PDF list of countries / states that Germany has an agreement with here: https://www.adac.de/verkehr/rund-um-den-fuehrerschein/auslaendische-fuehrerscheine/staaten-auserhalb/

 

New York is not on the list and neither is RI but Massachusetts or Pennsylvania would work.

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4 hours ago, capslock said:

 

Seems to be a question of which state in the US your licence is from. We do business with a household name American company. Their HQ are in NY, but the have a large office in Germany, and they send folks on assignents for a couple of years in both directions. There was some trick about getting the NY licence transferred to some other state (was ist RI?) after which it could be swapped for a German licence. 

 

You would have had to have residency for 180 days to switch your license. That wasn’t really possible for me. I had also been living in Australia for 5 years prior to living in Germany. Stupid me didn’t bother getting my NY license changed to an Australian license (kept up my NY license instead and didn’t drive in Australia), and then Germany had reciprocation with Australia about 2 years after I moved to Germany. Oh well. 

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