Hamburg Welcome Portal Driving Permits

Most foreign driving permits lose their validity in Germany after 6 months. Read on to find out how to keep driving in Germany.

Symbolic image: Foreign Driving Licence

Driving Permits - Hamburg Welcome Portal

The validity of your driving permit depends on several factors, for instance, how long you're staying in Germany, but also on where your licence was originally issued. The extent to which your driving permit is recognised in Germany depends on the kind of reciprocity established between Germany and the governmental body that issued your license. Please note: this may differ between states, provinces and territories within one country. In Hamburg, mobility issues are handled by the State Office for Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV).

EU and EEA

If you hold a valid domestic driving permit, you may drive a vehicle in Germany until this permit expires.

The regulations about the validity of category C, C1, CE, C1E, D, D1, DE and D1E (buses and trucks) driving permit equally apply to the corresponding EU/EEA driving permit. These driving permits are valid in Germany for 5 years, beginning with the date of issue of the foreign driving permit. You must comply with this, if you hold a driving permit of these categories.

If your foreign driving permit is about to expire or if it is no longer valid, please contact the Hamburg State Office of Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV) immediately.

Non-Exempted States

All non-EU/EEA foreign driving permits will lose their validity six months after you’ve officially registered your residence within Germany. If your permit was issued by a non-EU/EEA or non-exempted state, you will need to pass practical and theoretical driving exams, complete a first aid course and undergo a vision exam in order to legally drive in Germany after six months of residency.

(Partially) Exempted States

Holders of driving permits from some foreign states are (partially) exempted from taking the otherwise obligatory theoretical and practical driving tests and health exams in order to legally drive in Germany. You still need to obtain a German driving permit, but the process is easier. In countries like USA, Canada or Australia, the rules of exemption depend on the federal state, province or territory the permit was issued by.

Schedule an appointment

Book an appointment online with State Office for Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr ─ LBV) to start the process. Select the 'Führerschein' option and choose 'Umschreibung ausländischer Führerschein in befristeten EU-Kartenführerschein', then fill out your personal information and choose a location and time for your appointment.

Permit issued in an exempted state, bring:

  • passport
  • registration confirmation
  • foreign valid driving permit
  • passport photo (35 mm x 45 mm)
  • possibly a translation of driving licence and/or classification

Permit issued in a non-exempted state, bring:

  • passport
  • registration confirmation
  • possibly translation of driver's permit and/or classification
  • passport photo (35 mm x 45 mm)
  • eyesight test results
  • first aid training certificate
  • medical report (class C/D)

For more information, please visit either the website of the State Office for Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV) (German only) or the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Development.


LBV Hamburg-Mitte, Ausschläger Weg 100, 20537 Hamburg
LBV Hamburg-Nord, Langenhorner Chaussee 491, 22419 Hamburg
Phone: 040 42858-0

Driving Permits