Hit the road, Jack!

If you are national of the EEA (the EU + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), you can hit the road as soon as you arrive – your document is valid as if you were in your country of origin until its date of expiry.

If you come from another country you can use your driving licence for six months from the day you register your residence in Germany. After that, you will need a German licence and, depending on the country where you obtained your licence, you may need to take a test.

To get your German driving licence for a motorcycle or a car, you will have to bring several documents to the driver’s licence authority:

  • an official and valid document of identity;
  • a certificate of registration from the Residents’ Registration Office;
  • a recent photograph that meets the requirements of the Regulations Implementing the Passport Act (Passverordnung);
  • eye test certificate from an officially recognized body;
  • proof that you have attended a training session on emergency life-saving measures;
  • the original driving licence issued by the other country (an International Driving Permit is not sufficient) together with a translation into the German language, unless the driving licencing authority makes an exception and waives the requirement for a translation;
  • a statement declaring that your foreign driving licence is still valid;
  • other documents may be asked if you apply for a specific driving licence (trucks…).

If you have already changed your EU driver’s licence in another EU country, you can use it, with one caveat: the licence cannot itself have been issued from a non-EU or non-EEA country license without having taken a driving test, or from a forged non-EU or non-EEA driving licence.

Contacts and information:

Diploma and qualifications

It may be helpful to have your qualifications recognised. For some regulated professions, such as doctors or lawyers, recognition is a requirement. For non-regulated professions, recognition can help your employer to understand your skills and qualifications.

The cost for having your qualifications recognised usually varies from 200 to 600 euros, though it depends on each individual situation (documents to translate, notarizations…).

If you want to have your qualifications recognised, visit Recognition in Germany, the official portal for the recognition of foreign qualifications. The recognition finder will refer you to the relevant contact regarding your individual situation.

Get in touch with the local contact centre to get all the necessary forms and advice. Recognition in Germany can provide you with further assistance, as well as access to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees’ hotline.

After sending your form and the required documents, your local centre will examine your case, and you will eventually receive written notification about the outcome. If you are denied, the authorities will let you know what you need to do to compensate for the differences. For non-regulated professions, the notification will reconcile your qualifications with the German equivalent and explain the differences between them. This would be very helpful for your employer.

Contacts and information:

Here you find the most important information needed to answer your questions about Recognition of official documents. If you know other tips or want to share your experience, do not hesitate to contact us. You could even send your testimony which could be published on our website! Thanks for your contribution to the Leon community!