Driving is a perfect pastime for anyone who love vehicles. Therefore, if you are an expat, you need to be able to drive around to get the ultimate experience of living in Berlin. However, like most countries, Germany has stringent regulations that you must follow to get on the road. How can you ensure you follow the law and have a valid driving licence in Berlin? This guide will give you insights on how to get a driver’s licence in Berlin. However, you should be aware that the specific requirements and procedures might vary at the local level. Therefore, it is worth checking at the local Führerscheinstelle to be sure.
Does a foreign licence qualify you to drive in Berlin?
Foreigners above 18 years with valid driving licences from their home country can get behind the wheel. However, they can only use the licence in the first six months of residing in Berlin. After six months, its validity depends on whether the licence was issued from an EU/EEA member country or away from Europe.
Driving in Berlin using EU/EEA licence
Citizens from EU or EEA countries can drive in Berlin using their national driving licence. However, the licence needs to be current and provisional. Its validity will rely on the expiration date of the permit in your home country. If you fulfil these conditions, you do not need to get a German driving licence or obtain a translated copy.
Non-EU/EEA driver’s licence in Berlin
You can use your driving licence for the first six months if you are a non- EU/EEA citizen. As long as you comply with the legal requirements, the permit will be valid. After the lapse of six months, you need to get the licence translated or obtain a German permit. If you plan to stay in Berlin for only 12 months, you can organise for the licence to be extended by the local German licencing authority. You will qualify for an extension if you can prove that you plan to leave Germany at the end of 12 months. You also do not need a translated copy if you are from Senegal, New Zealand, San Marino, Switzerland, Monaco, Hong Kong, and Andorra. You can also use an international driving permit (IDP); however, while it provides a translation of your valid licence, you must carry around the foreign licence as well.
Can you exchange your foreign driving licence?
The process of exchanging your licence for a German one depends on the reciprocal arrangement between your home country and Germany. The procedure could be straightforward, where you forward documents, and you are good to go. However, some states require retaking a test. To avoid inconveniences, you should check with your home country’s transport authority about the reciprocal arrangement. Aside from the agreements between countries, you must meet the following qualifications:
- You need to have established legal residency in Berlin.
- You are a citizen of an EU/EEA country, or your home country has an arrangement with the German government.
- You did not obtain your foreign licence while you were residing in Berlin (to prevent driver’s licence tourism).
- Your international licence should be current and valid during the exchange.
If you meet the above requirements, you can exchange the licence. If you do not, you may need to take the driving test and pass all the exams to get a German licence.
The process of converting your foreign licence
To begin the exchanging procedure, you need to visit the local licencing authority in Berlin. They will assist you with the application and inform you of all the requirements. While the specific requirements vary, you will need the following documents to complete your application:
- A German resident’s permit from the residents’ registrations office.
- Proof of identity; you can use your identity card or passport.
- A current passport photograph.
- An original driving licence or translation of your foreign licence.
- Evidence that you completed the driving test and exams from your instructor.
- Proof that you have done first-aid training and passed the medical vision test.
- In some cases, you may need proof of validity if the expiration date is not on the licence.
Once you have completed the application, you will be issued a valid German driving licence. Remember that the government will retain your foreign licence. Students do not need to exchange their international licence since they do not transfer their legal residence to Germany during the duration of studying. However, they can still obtain the German permit when they have been residents for six months.
Renewal of the driver’s licence in Berlin
In the past, the German driving licence did not have an expiry date. However, nowadays, they are valid for 15 years. Therefore, you need to renew before the lapse of the time. How do you replace the licence? The process is simple since you do not need to redo all the tests or bring all the documents. You need your recent photograph, a renewal fee, and your current licence. The local licencing authority will help you complete the procedure, and you can have a valid licence within a month.
Can you renew your foreign licence in Berlin or Germany?
Unfortunately, you cannot renew a foreign licence in Germany. However, that does not mean you cannot enjoy driving in Germany. You can obtain a valid German driver’s licence if you want to drive.
What happens when you lose your driver’s licence?
When you lose your licence, you need to get a replacement from the local authority. If you need proof that you had a valid licence, the issuing body may give you the evidence you need. Before you get a replacement, you will provide a written statement about the circumstances of the loss.The process of obtaining a driving licence in Berlin is simple. However, you need to study the requirement carefully before beginning the application. If you must do the tests, ensure you pass them because failure will set you back to the beginning.