German Driving: The ULTIMATE Foreigners Step-By-Step License Guide

Munich is a city with plenty of public transportation options so you can easily travel around Munich without a car.

However, since driving also means flexibility, you might be considering converting your foreign driving license to a German Driving License. After all, by having this license, you can also drive in almost all European countries.

Depending on your country of origin, there are different steps to apply for a German Driving License but the process can be easily managed by lodging a conversion application (Umschreibung)

However, for some, depending on your country of origin, it might mean completing a theory and/or a practical German Driving Test as YOUR country may not have reciprocal driving license agreements with Germany.

In this post, we’ll outline step-by-step how to get a driver’s license in Munich as a foreigner, plus we’ll cover all the important topics about German Driving & getting a German Drivers License such as costs, time required, license testing, and much more.

How to apply for a German Driving License?

Before you start looking into applying for a German driving licence (Class B), you must

possess a valid driving licence from your country of origin. If your licence is outdated, you can only renew it in your country of origin.

registered as a Residence. This is necessary for locals and foreigners who will be living in Munich over a 6-months period. If you haven’t done so, here is a guide to arranging a KVR appointment.

If the above criteria apply to you, you should then identify if your licence has a Reciprocal Agreement with Germany

If your driving licence was issued by an EU/ EEA country, you are valid to drive in Germany until its expiry date. So it’s not necessary for you to convert it. However, it is also possible to exchange for a German licence as described below.

For licence holders who have the licenced issued in the countries listed below, you can simply exchange your foreign licence for a German Class B licence without completing a practical driving or theoretical test. Here are the Countries with Reciprocal Agreements allowing driving licenses to be exchanged in Germany.

Here are the Countries with Reciprocal Agreements allowing driving licenses to be exchanged in Germany.

· Andorra· Japan· Switzerland
·  Australia
(South Australia, Tasmania, or Victoria has full reciprocity.
Other states require an up-to-date eye test)
·  Jersey·  Serbia
·  Bosnia and Herzegovina·  Monaco·  Singapore
·  Canada·  Namibia·  South Africa
· French Polynesia·  New Caledonia·  United Kingdom
·  Guernsey·  New Zealand·  USA* (check in the Staatenliste list below to see all states with no, full or partial reciprocity)
·  Isle of Man·  Republic of Korea
·  Israel·  San Marino

If your country is not listed here, you will be likely to be required to do the theory and/or practical exam. The country list here shows the specific requirements for you to convert for a German license. (From the link, go to the Downloads section under *”Staatenliste“)

How to exchange a foreign licence with reciprocity

Licence holders with reciprocity are certainly considered the lucky ones. As long as you have all your documents well prepared, completion of the process takes only around 4- weeks. Keep in mind though, this needs to be done within the first six months of your stay in Munich.

1. Booking Appointment At The Driving License Office (Führerscheinstelle)

This is probably your biggest challenge: booking an appointment with the Führerscheinstelle (driving license office). Through the link, by clicking Umschreibung eines ausländischen Führerscheins, you will able to Termin verinbaren (arrange an appointment).

If you’re already familiar with booking appointments at the KVR, you know it’s often full and it also only releases appointments one month ahead of time. So make sure you start looking for an appointment as early as possible.

As suggested by the Führerscheinstelle, additional spots are opened during the day and early in the mornings. So you just have to be like an eagle, and keep your eyes out. 

2. Prepare and present the required Documents at the appointment

The following documents are to be presented in the appointment. Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare them. Any missing documents could mean application rejection or delays.

·  Identity card or passport

·  Biometric passport photo

·  Original valid foreign driving licence

·  Translation of the foreign driving license (ADAC, Lingoking, IDA are options for driving license translation)

·  Eye test certificate (see below for details)

·  Proof of the duration of possession of the foreign driving licence (If this is not indicated on your licence, you would have to contact your local driving licence office for the record)

·  Your first Anmeldung (registration) certificate in Germany

If the Führerscheinstelle accepts your application, to proceed, you will be required to hand in your foreign licence to be verified by the State Criminal Police Office. This would take around 2-3 weeks

3. Exchange of German Licence and Payment

If everything sails smoothly, you will be able to collect your new licence within 4-6 weeks. A letter will be posted to you with payment instructions and collection date and time.

The application cost of the Umschreibung is 36.30Euro

At the collection, note that you might have to hand in your foreign driving licence for the “exchange”.

Common questions on the application for a German driving licence with Reciprocity:

How long does it take for approval of the German licence application?
It usually takes 4-6 weeks, but it can take up to 8 weeks.

What are the typical costs for the application:
Eye test: 10-20Euro (usually is free if you purchase glasses at the Optometrist)
ADAC translation: 65.00Euro
Application cost: 36.30Euro

How to exchange a foreign licence without reciprocity

For countries without reciprocity with Germany, unfortunately, the process will take longer and will be more expensive. Depending on where the licence is issued, you may be required to complete all or a combination of the following:

·  Register with (Fahrschule) Driving school

·  First aid course

·  Eye-test

·  Theoretical test

·  Practical driving test 

Here’s the list of different countries with their requirements.

1. Sign up with a driving school (Fahrschule)

You will need to register for a Fahrschule to take theory and practical tests to exchange for a German licence.

Luckily, there are many schools that offer English. You can do a search from Fahrschule-123 or Clickclickdrive.

When you register with a Fahrschule, you’ll most probably need to present your eye test and First aid course certificate. Some schools can assist with these arrangements otherwise.

From the driving school, you’ll receive a plan and information package for your theory and practice lessons. You’ll also be provided with a car to complete your driving practice with your driving instructor.

 2. Complete a First Aid Course

The Erste Hilfe Kurs (first aid course) is typically 6-7 hours long and can be taken in several sessions and cost somewhere between 20-50Euros.

This may occur to be a time and money-consuming process, but you’ll really benefit from these lifelong skills and knowledge.

 3. Complete an Eye Test

There is a handful of First Aid course providers that offer English and also facilitates eye test (Sehtestbescheinigung) for a small additional cost. Notfallmedizine is one of these and has several branches in Munich.

Otherwise, many local opticians offer certified eye tests with results on the same day.

 4. Book and attend an Appointment with the Führerscheinstelle

Before any tests, you’ll need to have an appointment with the Führerscheinstelle. After an evaluation of your driving-related documents (listed below), you’ll be confirmed if you can proceed with further examination with TÜV.

Do try to book ahead of time, as spots can be filled very quickly. Here’s the link for booking the appointment with the Führerscheinstelle. Click Umschreibung eines ausländischen Führerscheins to Termin verinbaren (arrange an appointment).

·  Identity card or passport

·  Biometric passport photo

·  Original valid foreign driving licence

·  Translation of the foreign driving license (ADAC, Lingoking, IDA are options for driving license translation)

·  Proof of the duration of possession of the foreign driving licence (If this is not indicated on your licence, you would have to contact your local driving licence office for the record)

·  Eye test certificate

·  First Aid Course certificate

5. Completing the Theoretical test

Before taking the theoretical test, your driving school will typically enrol you on a 14 double lessons course comprised of 90 minutes each.

To enhance the chance to pass, many will use extra training materials such as apps/software to practice. We recommend this too. Here’s a sample of driving theory test offered by TÜV, but there are many options in the market. Your driving school will certainly give you more suggestions.

The theory test is composed of 30 multiple-choice questions. You can only pass the test if you have not been deducted a total amount of 10 points. German driving regulations and signs do vary from different countries, so it’s advised to learn and study for the exam. This would also benefit you when driving on German roads later.

If you prefer to take the exam in your Muttersprache (mother tongue), these languages are also available: English, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Croatian, Spanish, Turkish and Arabic

Cost of Theoretical test

Theoretical test by TÜV: 22,49Euro.

6. Practical Driving Test

Driving lessons are optional. It’s however recommended to take a course to refresh your driving skills and learn the requirements in Germany. Especially if you’ve never driven in a snowing country, it’s a good idea to learn the relevant skills.

The driving exam will last around 45mins and will begin with your examiner asking you 3-5 general questions about the car. They’re related to basic safety knowledge, like the function and/or condition of the tires, headlights etc.

The exam continues with instructions given by the examiner. Note, during the test, the examiner will sit at the back, while your driving instructor is in the passenger seat. It will be conducted in German. If you want to polish your German before the test, here are some online German learning platforms here.

At the end of the round, you’ll be informed of your results. If you have passed the exam, congratulations! You’ll receive a slip that allows you to drive until your official driver’s licence arrives.

For unsuccessful candidates, retakes of exams are possible. You are allowed to retake the exam 2 times within a 2 weeks interval. With three-plus fails, the waiting time will be extended.

Cost of Driving Test

Theoretical test by TÜV: 116,93Euro.

Fee from driving school: around 100Euro

Yes, it’s a hefty fee. So is wise to plan with your driving school to maximize your chance to pass the test.

 7. Appointment with the Führerscheinstelle

This should be your last appointment with the Führerscheinstelle and should be easy-peasy and you can prepare your celebratory champagne!

You are here to pick up your new German licence and hand in your original foreign licence for the exchange.


The German authority takes driving very seriously and when changing your foreign driving to a German one, you should bear in mind the time and cost that will be involved.

We hope after reading our post, you understand the application better and hence are able to prepare without begin daunted by confusion.

Here, we are providing you with a summary of steps for conversion of a German license issued outside of EU/EAA without reciprocity.

1. Register to a Fahrschule (driving licence school)
2.   Completion of First Aid Course
3.   Completion of Eye Test
4.   Register with the Führerscheinstelle with the required documents
5.   Complete and pass theoretical training (14 double hours)
7.   Complete and pass the practical training (at least 12 driving hours)
and oh la, you can finally receive your German license and drive on the free-speed Autobahn!
We wish you Viel Erfolg (success) and Zeig’s ihnen (Go get’em)!!!

Munich Führerscheinstelle (Driving License Office) and opening hours

Address: Garmischer Straße 19/21, 81373 München

Tel: +49 89 233-96090 | Opening hours: only by appointments