Getting a German driver's license

220 posts in this topic

4 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

I thought an EU driving licence is fine, and no need to change?

Yes, it's fine. You only need to change it to a German one before it expires.

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I have an expired Canadian driver's license (Quebec) and I have been living in Germany for 4.5 years. Do I need to start everything from scratch? My Quebec license expired in 2013.

Didn't think I'd live long enough in Germany to need/want a driver's license but here I am.

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You had to exchange your license 4 years ago already since it's only valid for the first 6 months. Now, it's far too late and believe you have to start everything from scratch, which will cost you a small fortune. Even if you would go back to Canada, they will not renew a 3-year expired license. Check with the involved authorities.

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There is the thread where Quebecois did that:

 

Basically you need somehow to renew it and then get driving record from SAAQ.

 

Otherwise, start from scratch: since you're not in a hurry, you can take fewer lessons a week, so it won't be financially hard.

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Thanks guys. The way I learned driving wasn't very safe so I think starting from scratch wouldn't be a bad idea anyway. For example in Canada we have intersections with 4 stops, and I never knew the rule on who goes first beyond just looking at the other drivers, making a nod with my head and smiling. Don't think that would work here.

 

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Not sure if Quebec has same rules as Ontario, but to renew your  Cdn licence, you need to be resident in Canada, with a Canadian address.

 Yes, the dreaded 4 way stops!    Whoever arrives first has right of way, BUT" more often it is a case of "He who dares!".

A good idea to take lessons to learn the quirks.

 

 

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1 hour ago, vmelchers said:

For example in Canada we have intersections with 4 stops, and I never knew the rule on who goes first beyond just looking at the other drivers, making a nod with my head and smiling. Don't think that would work here.

That works here as well: give way to all, if the other driver doesn't proceed, you have the right of the way. Happens often where I live because my street looks as if it is a priority road. But it isn't (no signs, so priority has the one coming from the right), so a lot of drivers coming from the smaller street give way where they in reality have right of way. Most accidents in Germany happen due to mistakes in priority rules, but if you give way in confusing situations you are safe.

 

What is difficult is dealing with pedestrians (especially children), overtaking and giving way to cyclists. This I recommend to practice (even for those coming from Netherlands because Germany has much more roads shared with cyclists rather than separate bike lanes.)

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I was in a similar situation (been in Germany for 6.5 years) but did not have to start from scratch. I still have to do the theory test, but because I kept my US license up-to-date and had proof that I had the license since before I moved to Germany (a mix of old licenses and a printout from the DMV showing my license history), they had no problem keeping to the reciprocity agreement and letting me skip out on doing the practical test. I didn't even need to get anything translated - the whole experience was a bit surprising.

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2 hours ago, Gold and a Pager said:

I was in a similar situation (been in Germany for 6.5 years) but did not have to start from scratch.    - the whole experience was a bit surprising.

It certainly was!  I also came here about 6 1/2 years ago and was warned that I had only 6 months from when I had registered here to finish the license application.  If not, I would have to take the entire driving class from scratch as if I was a new driver.  With a NY license, I only had to do the two tests, no classroom.  As it turned out, I had the road test on the last day of the 6th month - the guy doing the test was surprised and told me again that I was lucky it was done!

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On 12/22/2016, 4:39:23, yourkeau said:

That works here as well: give way to all, if the other driver doesn't proceed, you have the right of the way. Happens often where I live because my street looks as if it is a priority road. But it isn't (no signs, so priority has the one coming from the right), so a lot of drivers coming from the smaller street give way where they in reality have right of way. Most accidents in Germany happen due to mistakes in priority rules, but if you give way in confusing situations you are safe.

I have in the past had a lot of trouble with this rule here in Germany. Whereas in the States the smaller side roads aren't seen as having the right of way and the drivers on the main road just cruise on through, I was totally at a loss here the first few times someone stopped at the intersection by my apartment on the main road so that I could go through because I was to the right.  I've gotten the hang of it now, but it was confusing for a while.

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23 hours ago, garyh911 said:

It certainly was!  I also came here about 6 1/2 years ago and was warned that I had only 6 months from when I had registered here to finish the license application.  If not, I would have to take the entire driving class from scratch as if I was a new driver.  With a NY license, I only had to do the two tests, no classroom.  As it turned out, I had the road test on the last day of the 6th month - the guy doing the test was surprised and told me again that I was lucky it was done!

 

The most surprising bit was that there wasn't a time limit.  Showing proof of a valid license from before I entered Germany was good enough, even though I didn't try to convert it for over six years.

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Either Saxony has its own laws regarding this, or the Dresden Beamte are poorly informed.

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18 hours ago, yourkeau said:

Either Saxony has its own laws regarding this, or the Dresden Beamte are poorly informed.

It's the same in Berlin. I converted mine 5 years after moving here. 

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In NRW the same. My husband just exchanged a Florida license for a DE one. Only had to pass the written test.  After over 4 years here. 

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This thing is getting so expensive for me and I don't know what should I do!

 

I have had a driving license for more than 10 years back home and I also had a car for three years there. Now here I had to again do the exams. I passed the theory without any mistakes but the practical is so annoying since it is a total call of examiner.

 

First time I had two sessions and my teacher said that I am ready for the exam. I did the exam and I failed which was shocking IMO.

 

Second time I again had two more sessions and did the exam today but I failed again though I think I did almost everything right. The examiner was telling me something is German. I told him that I understand German a little but I don't know what he exactly means.

 

Every failure including two more sessions costs me around 488 Euro which is a lot! Is there anyway to find a better examiner? If you look for small things (which could be false claims like not looking at mirror although you know you did) to fail someone you can fail almost everybody even those who have driving license.

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2 hours ago, Persisky said:

it is a total call of examiner

 

I don't think it is -- there are given tasks that have to be included in the exam. Have you been preparing specifically for the exam in your driving lessons? It is not only about being able to drive, but also about showing your examiner that you know the rules and can anticipate and avoid dangerous situations. So for example with using the mirror, your head has to be clearly frequently moving in that direction throughout the exam (more than it would normally when nobody needs to see you doing it). Or you have to have the indicator on when you start your drive even when you are in the middle of an empty car park at the time. My teacher was giving me two types of tips, some were for my driving and others for the exam. He used to say his job was to make sure I pass the exam. I have virtually no driving experience and even now don't have a car as I live in the old town of a city and don't need one/can't park here, but I was really well prepared for the exam because my teacher was so helpful. 

 

Have you thought about changing your teacher? My Japanese colleague did not have to retake the exam here, but did not feel comfortable driving as the rules and signage are so different, so she took some lessons with the aim of learning what to concentrate on on German streets. She said all her first teacher said was '...und Gas und Gas und Gas und Gas! Warum fahren Sie so langsam?' and he told her nothing useful. She went to another school and was really happy; the teacher understood immediately why she was there and kept chatting to her the whole time about what she should be looking at/for and all sorts of other useful bits and bobs.  

 

Also, have you got one of the books to help you prepare? Mine has a useful section about the exam explaining what you need to do, what are the mortal sins which would cause you to fail the exam immediately, what are mistakes that you would have a chance to iron out, etc. 

 

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3 hours ago, Persisky said:

which could be false claims like not looking at mirror although you know you did

Mmmm, didn't your driving instructor teach your how to do shoulder blick? Then change the driving instructor because no way you can pass the exam without actively using your head to look for vehicles not visible in the mirror. We use this method less often in real life, but in the exam you should show that you know that side mirror shows not everything.

 

3 hours ago, Persisky said:

I have had a driving license for more than 10 years back home and I also had a car for three years there.

I've had my license for 10 years back home, but had to learn everything from scratch here. Driving is different and more responsible, methinks. Every German has a license, so it's not that difficult as it appears, really. But it seems you just have a bad teacher. Change him/her.

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