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Additional info for USA citizens

One can drive up to a maximum of 1 year with your American license in Germany.

To obtain a German license one might be able to exchange an American one depending on if your State has an exchange provision. If not, one has to take the written and driving exams after having done the German driving school, which costs quite some money. One can't just show up and takes the exams!

Having already had a valid Ohio license and years of experience, I was able to get certified from a school with minimal class room instruction and just a few driving sessions but it was still hundreds of Euros. I found the written test easy as one can take it in English and there are texts available in English that explain the rules and give example questions.

The practical test is a bit unnerving because they are very critical and it is hard to change long held habits. I am a good driver but somethings are done a bit differently and what might be seen as correct procedure in the USA is not always considered proper in Germany.
For example, Americans are more lax about driving along in the left lane on the highway and passing such a person on the right if they don't get over. Either of these things would flunk you on the German test. One might think ahead if going to Germany for an extended period. If your State doesn't have an exchange provision, do you have an option to get a license in a State that does?
This can save a lot of money and stress!

TominStuttgart Germany Expat Advisor
Member since 19 March 2012
Stuttgart, Germany
4 Comments
6 months ago

Great site in English about Americans getting a German drivers license: http://www.german-way.com/for-expats/living-in-germany/german-drivers-license-reciprocity/

6 months ago

Sorry to bother you, I found it! In case any one else is looking for this info, here is the list of states that are exempt or partially exempt from taking the exams. This page also states what documents one needs to present during the application process http://germany.usembassy.gov/acs/drivers_license/

6 months ago

Hi Tom, thank you for the info. Where would I look/ask to find out if my home state has an exchange provision?

6 months ago

Great site in English about Americans getting a German drivers license: http://www.german-way.com/for-expats/living-in-germany/german-drivers-license-reciprocity/

See also

European Union and non-European Union nationals may drive in Germany with their national driver's license for up to six months. They may also exchange it.
V.I.E, the International Internship Program in Germany: the most promising fields, conditions and procedures.
Student life in Germany: learn more about cultural and urban life, student housing, transports, leisure time and health care.

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