Driving in Germany after Brexit

Are you still driving on a UK driving licence? If you are resident in Germany and intend to continue driving here, then you need to exchange your UK driving licence for a German one.

If you were resident before 1 January 2021, then you should exchange your licence by 30th June 2021. Otherwise you may need to take a German driving test in order to continue to drive here and, as things stand at present, it may no longer be legal for you to drive on your UK licence after 30th June.

Information from the UK government about living in Germany and driving licences is here: Driving in Germany

If you have arrived in Germany during 2021 and intend to live here, then you should exchange your UK licence for a German one within 6 months of becoming resident. Otherwise you may need to take a German driving test in order to continue to drive here.

Information about Brexit and driving in Germany from the German Bundesministerium für Verkehr is here:
BMVI Brexit FAQ English
BMVI Brexit FAQ German

What do you need to do to exchange your licence?
  • To apply, contact the “Fahrerlaubnisbehörde” (driver licencing authority) in your local Stadt or Kreis.
  • You will be charged a fee.
  • You may need to provide a notarised translation of your UK licence.

NOTE: some local Fahrerlaubnisbehörde are currently unwilling to exchange UK driving licences and are asking UK licence holders to apply after 30th June. In some of these cases, writing to the local mayor has helped. If you are told that it is not possible for you to exchange your licence, then we suggest that you request a written confirmation from the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde that you will be able to do make the exchange after 30th June. You may also want to let the UK Consulate know.

What if you return to live in the UK later?

The UK government Living in Germany information confirms that if you return to the UK in future, you can exchange your German driving licence for a UK licence without taking another test: Driving in Germany

New test requirement or new agreement?

Nationals of some third countries are required to take a German driving test (theory and/or practical) before they can exchange their national driving licences for a German one. Germany and the UK expect to make a new agreement  on recognition of driving licences so that it will still be possible to exchange your UK licence for a German one. However, this has not yet been signed.  So we can’t yet be sure exactly what will happen after 30th June.

Additional links:

A good and authoritative general source regarding driving licences in Germany is the English-language web page of the German transport ministry: Validity of foreign driving licences in Germany   

If you hold a licence from another EU country, then this should continue to be valid without needing to be exchanged for a German licence. Further information on driving licences in the EU is here: EU-driving-licence-recognition-validity
There is also a German fact sheet for holders of licences from EU and EEA states:  Fact-sheet-EU-EEA-driving-licences

Since the UK is now outside the EU, you may find the fact sheet for holders of foreign driving licences from states outside the European Union and the European Economic Area on driving licence provisions in the Federal Republic of Germany useful: Driving-licence-provisions-fact-sheet

Note that if Germany and the UK sign an agreement on recognition of driving licences, then the information in this last fact sheet may not apply. However, that agreement has not yet been reached.

Have you notified your local Foreigners’ Office of your residency and rights under the Withdrawal Agreement? Check here for what you may need to do: Residency – latest

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