If you’re British living in Germany, now’s the time to consider switching your UK driving licence for a German one if you haven’t already.
As of 1st January 2021, UK driving licences will not be valid in Europe without an International Driving Permit (IDP). More importantly, if you are resident in Europe you won’t be able to drive on the UK licence even with an IDP. Therefore it is essential to switch your licence now, otherwise, you may have to take a test to get one in the future.
The process is pain-free and done at the “Führerscheinstelle” of your local “Kreisverwaltung”. Your town hall will be able to advise where the one relevant to you is located. I live in Zell but had to go to Cochem to do my exchange. It is usually necessary to make an appointment, but this can normally be done online.
At the appointment, it was just a matter of presenting the following:
- my original UK licence
- my passport
- Meldebestestätigung (the registration document proving where I live in Germany)
- a “Sehtest” which is a basic sight test available from most opticians for a small fee
- a biometric passport photo (3.5cm x 4.5cm)
The whole process took around fifteen minutes and cost €35 (they accept debit cards or cash). I was given back my UK licence and told to expect the new one in around six weeks. I still have two weeks to wait, but they promised to send it my local town hall. Once it arrives, I will be required to hand over my UK licence.
Be aware that you may get slightly different or fewer categories on your German licence. This will most likely be the case with goods vehicles and minibuses. If you wish to keep those categories on your German licence you’ll need to present further paperwork e.g. medical certificates. I personally didn’t bother as I just need my licence for the car and maybe a small van from time-to-time.
So, don’t delay as the transition period comes to an end on 31st December 2020 and many of our rights and privileges as EU citizens will cease. On the subject of Brexit, I’d be very interested to hear from British readers what impact it is having on them so far, whether they are in Germany, Europe of the UK.
If you are living in the UK and are planning on driving in Europe after the end of the transition period, please check out this article also.