How to get a German Driving License: A Complete guide

How to get a German Driving License: A Complete Guide

Are you facing difficulty getting a German driving license, here are all the details about how to get a German driving license in Germany. In principle, individuals must possess a driving license issued in Germany or any other EU country to drive in Germany. Driving licenses obtained from non-EU countries retain their validity for only six months in Germany. In addition, it is necessary to carry a translation of your driving license into German. The translation must be performed by a German or internationally recognized automobile club, an authority in your home country, or a sworn translator.

Flat man driver license plastic card template, id card vector illustration.


Individuals must be at least 18 years old to acquire a driving license in Germany. The minimum age may vary depending on the class of vehicle one wishes to drive and, in some cases, it could be even higher.

How to Register?

If your driving license is not issued in Germany or another EU country, you must transfer (“Umschreibung”) it within six months from your first police registration in Germany at the latest. Although, To initiate the transfer process, you must submit an application to the local Driving Licence Office (“Fahrerlaubnisbehörde” or “Führerscheinstelle”). The processing time for your application may vary depending on your place of residence and the number of applicants, so it might take some time before they process your application.

The Driving Licence Office evaluates received applications to determine whether a direct transfer of the driving license is possible or if theory and practical exams are required. This assessment is based on the country that issued the driving license. The outcome of the evaluation determines the subsequent steps. It is recommended to consult a driving school for guidance prior to taking the exams due to Germany’s extensive traffic rules and road signs. However, individuals with an existing foreign driving license are exempt from mandatory driving lessons, unlike new drivers.

How to get driving license?

Obtaining a driving license usually requires a period of 3 to 5 months, involving theory classes and driving lessons. Some driving schools offer intensive crash courses where individuals can complete the theoretical aspect in 2 weeks by attending 14 theory units. Practical driving sessions, lasting 90 minutes each, can be completed in approximately 15 weeks with an average of 30 hours and one session per week. However, fast-track courses are available in certain driving schools, allowing individuals to prepare for theory and practical tests within 1 to 2 weeks, depending on factors like prior knowledge and available time. It is important to note that the processing of license applications by local authorities takes around 5 weeks, so timely submission is crucial. If a person fails an exam, such as the road test, they can retake it after a two-week interval.

Documents for Transferring application

    • ID or passport,
    • registration certificate,
    • a biometric passport photo,
    • eye test results conducted by an optician or ophthalmologist
    • a confirmation of participation in a first aid course,
    • the original driving license issued in your country of origin, and a statement affirming the ongoing validity of your driving license from your home country.
    • It is crucial to have the driving license translated into German by a sworn translator.

How Would an Individual Get a driving licence in Germany?

 1) Driving school

Individuals interested in obtaining a German driving license must go through a certified driving school. Through the driving school, they can receive theory and practical lessons at a cost. Additionally, the driving school will provide a car for practice purposes, accompanied by a driving instruction. To proceed with obtaining a German driving license, you will need to present your identity card or passport, a biometric photo, evidence of completing an eye test, and a certificate verifying your completion of a first aid course.
    1. First Aid Course:Enroll in and complete a recognized first aid course. This is a mandatory requirement for obtaining a driving license in Germany.
    2. Eye Test:Visit an optician or eye specialist to undergo an eye test and obtain a vision certificate (Sehtestbescheinigung).
    3. Biometric Photo:- A biometric photo refers to a photograph that meets specific requirements set by the issuing authority. These requirements ensure that the photo accurately represents the license holder’s facial features for identification purposes. Biometric photos for driving licenses typically have certain specifications, such as a plain background, specific dimensions, and the driver’s face centered and clearly visible without any accessories like hats or sunglasses. The purpose of a biometric photo is to enhance security and prevent fraudulent use of the driving license.

2) Theory Test

To obtain a German driving license, you must pass both the theory and practical driving tests. The theory test, which includes 30 multiple-choice questions, is available in 12 languages. Failing to score within the designated range of minus points will lead to test failure. Your driving school will handle the registration for the theory test, and you will need to present specific documents during the process. The results of the theory test remain valid for one year. If the driving test is unsuccessful, you will be required to retake the theory test after 12 months.

3) Practical Test

Once you have passed the theory exam, you can advance to the driving test, which usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. During the test, the examiner evaluates your driving skills, safety, competence, and composure while occupying the back seat. Your instructor accompanies you and has the ability to take control in case of an emergency. In the event of failure, you can retake the exam three times with two-week intervals. There is no limit to the number of attempts, although the intervals between attempts increase after the third try.

Driving cost

Obtaining a driving license can cost over €1000, factoring in the expenses of driving lessons. The price varies depending on the number of required lessons. The most substantial portion of the expenses comprises theory and driving lessons. Various factors determine the necessity of theory lessons. Beginners must complete mandatory driving lessons, including highway, night, or overland trips. The instructor holds the authority to determine the number of lessons needed. You can only register for the driving test once the instructor is confident in your driving abilities. Different driving schools offer varying prices for their lessons.

License Issuance

If you pass both the theory and practical exams, and your application is approved, you will receive your German driving license.

TIPS to get Driving license in Germany

Before Driving:

    • Adjust mirrors and seat properly before starting; the examiner will guide you.
    • Check your mirrors to ensure you are within the lane; it’s crucial for safety.
    • If allowed, review your driving route; it might be part of the exam.

Traffic Signals and Speed:

    • Slow down at yellow signals; it helps manage stress and keeps your mind clear.
    • Always follow and stay within the speed limits; crossing it can lead to mistakes.

Lane Discipline:

    • Avoid driving too slowly; it can obstruct traffic, but stay within speed limits.
    • Check before changing lanes; look at the sides, blind spots, and solid lines.
    • Never cross solid lines; it’s a rule on regular roads and the autobahn.
    • When a car is turning, indicate and go around if safe; be cautious not to make mistakes.
    • Use the second lane for two-lane turns; it provides better visibility.

Intersection and Right of Way:

    • Remember the “right before left” rule when driving.
    • Execute “Umkehren” at the first suitable opportunity.
    • Watch for signs indicating turns in the exam; they can be tricky.

Autobahn Rules:

    • Never cross solid lines on the autobahn; follow the rules.
    • Maintain your speed while exiting; adjust after seeing speed limit or exit signs.
    • Accelerate when entering the autobahn; change lanes one at a time, checking mirrors and blind spots.
    • Don’t blindly follow the vehicle in front; be observant of signals and oncoming traffic.

Special Instructions:

    • Stop at pedestrian lanes for people; slow down and check for pedestrians or cyclists.
    • Be aware while parking; look around and be cautious.
    • Use shoulder checks for emergency parking before moving back.

Understanding Signs and Instructions:

    • Pay attention to “möglich” signs; it’s important for driving decisions.

Getting a German driving license involves transferring or applying for a new license, attending theory and practical classes, and passing both tests. The process takes months, depending on individual factors. Timely documentation, application submission, and cost consideration are vital. Retakes are allowed for failed tests within specific intervals. Dedication, compliance, and successful completion of exams are key to obtaining a German driving license.

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