Obtaining your driver’s license in Düsseldorf has proven to require a different course of action for many. For some, there can be quite a few steps to obtaining a driver’s license in Düsseldorf and depending on where you’re coming from, different rules may apply. For others, it can be as simple as heading to a local Bürgerbüro and trading in your old license for a German license without any testing required.
While we can’t provide an ever-changing list of countries and requirements for obtaining a German license, we can try and get you off on the right foot. If you can’t find information online about the country you currently hold a driver’s license in, give the local Strassenverkehrsamt a call to figure out what you may require in order to obtain a German license. Those of us who require a new license and need to start from scratch, here are a few steps that will help you get off on the right path.
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Step 1: Sign Up for a Driving School
Whether you’re just learning or you’ve been driving for a century and counting, it’s a good idea to sign up for a driving school to get some practice on the German roads. It’s also important to learn the road signs and rules. Coming from Canada I know they’re quite different. Fahrschule-Krupp and City Fahreschule are a good start, these come highly recommended by other expats in the community and there are English speaking teachers.
Note: You may join a driving school if you would like some additional practice, but this also may be a mandatory requirement for you to obtain your license.
Step 2: Complete the Theoretical Training Questionnaire
Step 3: Visit the Strassenverkehrsamt/Road Traffic Office
It’s time to head to the road traffic office (or as you will have to Google search: Strassenverkehrsamt). They’re very particular about what you bring with you, so make sure that you’ve done the research ahead of time and aren’t missing any pieces. Here are some of the things you may have to bring:
- Passport/Identification Documents
- 2 Passport Photos
- Driver’s License
- Translation of Driver’s License (can be purchased at ADAC, located on the main level of the Strassenvverkehrsamt or easily online at Lingoking.com)
- Eye test
- First aid test
- Documents from your driving school
- All applicable fees (there are up front fees and fees provided in a letter for the theoretical and practical parts of the exam that you can pay the day of your exam)
Note: Depending on your situation, you may be able to head to your local Bügerbüro instead (which can save some time) and/or your driving school could refer you to the Bürgerbüro instead of the Strassenverkehrsamt.
Step 4: Receive Approval & Take Theoretical Exam
If you’re required to take driving school, the school will be the one to approve you for your theoretical exam. Once approved, you are able to take the exam at the road traffic office.
You will then take the exam and receive a report of your passing. Next up, practical exam.
Step 5: Receive Approval & Take Practical Exam
You’ll likely be required to head back to the driving school to take part in practical driving lessons before receiving approval to take the practical exam.
You will then take the exam and receive a report of your passing.
Of course, there are other ways to obtain your driver’s license in Düsseldorf. As mentioned above, there are certain country licenses which may allow you to simply swap your original license for a German one (as long as you’ve been residing for less than 3 years in Germany, otherwise you may have to start from step one). For EU citizens, you are able to head to your local Bürgerbüro to swap your license (many international citizens may also have the option to visit the Bürgerbüro instead as well). You can also go to the Bürgerbüro for registration and extension of current German licenses, or to obtain a certificate of vehicle change.
For others, you’ll require a few tests and a visit to the Strassenverkehrsamt, but you won’t have to start from step one. For some, you’re just out of luck my friends.
Good news… you can often drive with your current (out-of-country) license (if still valid) for up to 6 months.
PS: If you’re in need of a car to take your drive test, or hoping to get a little bit of practice in beforehand, Germany is one of the cheapest countries when it comes to renting cars! You can often get lucky by searching on a price comparison website like MietwagenCheck. Prices typically start around 15 – 20 Euro per day.
PPS: If this post has just stressed you out and you’re now realizing that you are in fact going to put “obtaining a driver’s license” on the back burner for a little while, don’t worry! The Rheinbahn public transport in Düsseldorf is excellent and you’ll likely get anywhere you need to in the city in 15-30 minutes easily.
Do you have any more tips to add to this post? We know obtaining a driver’s license in Düsseldorf is a tough topic to write about as the times change, but hopefully, this can serve as a guideline.
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