In this post, I would like to share my experience in getting a German driver’s license. Before moving here, I already have a valid non-professional driver’s license in the Philippines. I also took an International Driver’s Permit with me.
In German law, the International Driver’s Permit is only valid for 6 months. If you will stay for up to 1 year, you could request for an extension of another 6 months. After that you can no longer use it and must apply for a local license.
Since I plan to stay here longer, I applied for a local Driver’s License. It took me awhile to find an English speaking teacher. After that, I spend 3 months plus almost 1k euro to get my license.
Let me share step by step how I achieved in getting a German Driver’s License:
- Find a suitable driving school for you. Mine is here. Here is the map location.
- Translation of existing driver’s license. For my case, I need to translate to German. Do not attempt to use a different translation company. Use ADAC as they only accept this even though in requirement list, there are other options. I went here. It will take you back 3 weeks and 55 euro. So you must do this first.
- Driving school. Either you call them to schedule a visit or go directly there. They will give you more details on the steps to do but for my case (conversion of license), continue on.
- You need to pay the school upfront (for my case it is 219.80 euro) this covers registration fee plus online access to materials. It would be good if you bring you smartphone or tablet. You will be asked to download an app with a specified username and password. Here you can study and take practice written test.
- Next, you need to take first aid course (Erste Hilfe). This one is very tricky as I couldn’t find an English schedule so I settled for German class. I took this one. You are required to bring a translator if you cannot understand German. It cost me less than 20 euro. They also offer to give you eye test and take your picture for the application. Please take it as you need it for your next step.
- Now you have everything you need to go to the Licensing Office (Führerscheinstelle)
- Existing driver’s license (they will take it and will not return it)
- Translation of your driver’s license
- Passport or Residence Card
- Passport size picture
- First Aid Certificate (Erste Hilfe)
- Result of eye test
- Fee 42.60 euro
- Need to remember your school name, they will ask you.
- You will also be asked which type you want to apply. Here they have categories for Motorcycles, Cars, Vans, Truck.
- For above, you could schedule an appointment to avoid the long queue. Normally it takes half a day if you don’t book a schedule.
- For others you are required to attend theory classes. For my case (conversion), I only need practical. You could schedule sessions to practice driving with a teacher. Each session takes around 1.5hrs with a fee of 71.80 euro. It depends on how fast you learn. The faster the better and lesser the cost.
- While practicing, you need to review for the written exam. The app covers the same questions that you take in the actual test.
- Once you are ready to take the written test, you need to schedule it with your school. There are many locations/dates/time to choose from. Choose the one that is suitable for you. For me, I chose the one near my house. You need to pay the school 59.90 euro to book and when you arrive to the location, you need 20.83 euro to pay as well. After the test, you will get immediately the results.
- If you fail, don’t worry, you can take it again.
- Continue your driving practice and when you are ready, inform your teacher and the school will schedule the actual driving test. You need to pay the school 149.90 euro.
- On the day of the actual driving test, you need to pay 84.90 euro to the examiner. Take note that on your front passenger seat is your teacher behind is the examiner. He/she will give you instructions in German and you must follow. If you fail, he/she can quickly end your session.
- If you pass, you will receive a letter that you pass, you just need to go back to the Licensing Office, give them the letter and on the same day, you will get your driver’s license.
- The written test can be in English. Make sure you tell the examiner to give you an English test. You will be using an tablet in taking the test so no need to bring anything.
- My teacher give me the instruction in both English and German so that when it comes to the actual driving test, I could understand.
- On the actual driving test, your teacher is not allowed to speak. Main checks are on right of way, one way roads, road signs, entering/exiting autobahn, emergency break and parallel parking.
Getting a German Driver’s License is tougher than getting one back home but with patience and proper guidance, you could get it no time.
Hope it helps.