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Transfer of Driver's Licences from Non-EU Countries (Drittstaaten)

Transferring a foreign driver’s licence from a third-party country is mandatory for anyone who wants to drive a car in Germany for more than six months.

General Information

In Germany, only driver’s licences from certain countries may be used for a longer period of time without having to be transferred. These include driving licences from EU member states or from states which are part of the European Economic Area (EEA) which includes Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

If your driver’s licence was issued in a country that is not an EU or EEA country, the so-called “third-country rule” applies. This rule means that you may use your driving licence to drive a motor vehicle for a maximum of 185 days (six months) from the date of entry into Germany.

Persons who wish to continue driving in Germany beyond this period must apply for a German driver’s licence.

Please note that due to the COVID-19 situation, the driving licence is currently valid for twelve months after entry for persons who have entered after 31 September 2019.

After the application, the process may take up to six weeks to complete. Fees can range from €43.90 to €72.50 depending on the category of the driver’s licence, and are determined during the application process.

Things to keep in mind for your application

Please note the following before starting the application process:

  • This service is only available for people with a valid foreign driver’s licence.
  • The person holding the driver’s licence must be a registered resident of Hamburg.
  • This service is only available at the Bezirksämter Hamburg-Mitte and Hamburg-Nord.
  • Applicants must make an appointment in person.
  • Learners’ licences and other temporary licences cannot be transferred into a full German driver’s licence; this service only applies to full and official driver’s licences.
  • Your foreign driver’s licence can only be transferred if you have lived as a registered resident in the country that issued it for at least six months.
    This means that if, for example, you acquired the license while on holiday abroad, the license cannot be transferred into a full German driver’s licence.

Please note that passing a theoretical as well as practical driving test is mandatory for transferring the foreign driver’s licence. Before these tests can take place, the driving school must confirm the applicants’ suitability for the tests.

For more information on driving tests, see this list (German only). For more general information in other languages, see the BMVI website.

Prepare before application

Applicants will need the following documents in order to apply:

  • A personal ID card or passport stating your current place of residence
  • Your valid foreign driver’s licence;
    in some cases, it may be necessary to bring an official translation or classification provided by a sworn translator; whether or not this necessary will be determined individually during the application process
  • A biometric passport photograph 3.5 by 4.5 cm
  • An eyesight test issued, for example, by an optometrist
  • Confirmation of successful participation in a first-aid class
  • The confirmation of your appointment

Depending on the country where the driver’s licence was issued, further documents may be required.

For the transfer of category C and D driver’s licences, applicants also need the following documents:

  • A certificate from an ophthalmologist within the last two years
  • A general medical certificate from within the last twelve months
  • A criminal record certificate from within the last three months issued by your local Einwohnermeldeamt
  • If applicable, proof of a professional driver’s qualification for goods and/or passenger transport

Making an appointment

Appointments should be booked via the LBV:

  1. Visit the LBV appointment booking website; under the headline Führerschein (driver’s licence), select Umschreibung ausländischer Führerschein (transfer of foreign driver’s licences)
  2. Select the location closest to you to view the available appointments
  3. Choose an available appointment from the calendar
  4. Enter your name and email address to finish the booking process
  5. You will receive an email confirming that you have successfully booked an appointment

Please remember to bring the booking confirmation to the appointment.

Useful links and documents

LBV (Landesbetrieb Verkehr) Contact

LBV website for booking appointments

List of test requirements for certain countries

Validity of foreign driving licences in the Federal Republic of Germany