Germany is well known throughout the world as a country of cars. But you can easily travel by plane, bus, train or bicycle as well, thanks to our well-developed network of airports, roads, railways and bike paths.
Is your driving licence valid in Germany?
Citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland:
Hop in and go, it’s that simple. Your driving licence is valid in Germany, just as it is in your home country. There is no need to have it converted to a German licence.
Citizens of other countries:
You can drive for six months with your existing driving licence, starting with the day you register your residence in Germany. At the end of that period, you will need a German licence. Whether or not you will have to take a test depends on the country where you obtained your driving licence.
Mulema from Cameroon
"During my first few months in Germany, I drove using my international licence. I could also have used my driving licence from my home country of Cameroon, but that requires a German translation. You can get that from the Consulate or from sworn translators. But the important thing is that whether I had a national or an international driving licence, after six months I had to get a German driving licence. At that time, I really couldn’t speak German very well. Luckily, it was possible to take the theory in my native language. The practical exam was a more difficult matter. I swotted up my German and got to grips with typical German driving jargon, such as “Wechsellichtzeichen” and “Einsatzhorn”. And it was worth the effort, because I passed the driving exam!"
Registering and testing your car
All cars in Germany need to be registered, and you can do this at the nearest car registration office. You will need your vehicle title (proof that the car belongs to you) and your motor vehicle insurance policy.
If you are bringing a car with you from another country, find out from the car registration office what additional documents are required.
After they are registered, all cars in Germany need to pass a general inspection. This means that a mechanic must confirm that your car is safe and meets the official emission standards. A vehicle inspection sticker will then be affixed to your car’s number plate. The general inspection can be performed by an authorised workshop near you, for example. Inspections need to be repeated at regular intervals. There is a charge for both the general inspection and for registering your vehicle.
Please note that in many German cities, low-emission zones have been created to reduce the quantities of particulates and nitrogen dioxide in the air.
To drive into one of these low-emission zones, you need a sticker (Umweltplakette) showing that your vehicle has sufficiently low emissions. This can be obtained for a fee from the licensing authority or other approved agencies.
Driving licence and driving test
German bicycle club