Driving Licences in Germany after Brexit

There has been some concern among the British community in Germany about UK driving licences and when/if to exchange for a German driving licence. Especially in view of the uncertainty of whether there will be a Withdrawal Agreement or not. In short there are two scenarios:

1. If there is a signed Withdrawal Agreement:

Your UK driving licence remains valid up until the end of any transition period. Agreements on mutual recognition of licences between the UK and the EU will form part of the negotiations on the future relationship during the transition period.

2. If there is no signed Withdrawal Agreement:

The UK becomes a “third country” from the date of Exit and your UK driving licence would become invalid (see “No deal scenario” below, under “Further explanation).

What can you do at this stage?

– Get in your application as soon as possible to exchange  your UK driving licence for a German one if you intend to be staying here – and driving – after the Exit date.

– To apply, contact your “Führerscheinstelle” at your local Kreisverwaltung.

– Read the current fact sheets (in English) from the German Federal Ministry of Transport on driving licences (See links below – they contain a lot of extra detail).

What if you return to the UK?

A government website in the UK (Dept. of Transport) assures us that if we were to return to the UK with a German driving licence, we could swap it back for a UK licence.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/driving-in-the-eu-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/driving-in-the-eu-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

Further explanation:

No deal scenario:

If the UK leaves without a deal, then overnight on the date of Exit the UK would become a “third country”. Different rules apply to nationals of those countries. One of those rules is that third-country nationals have to exchange their driving licence for a German one within six months of arrival. So, in theory, the licences of those Brits who have been resident for longer than six months at that point would become invalid from the date of Exit. In their recent Facebook Q&A session, the British Embassy stated that “the local driving licensing authority will be responsible for determining when exactly the 6-month period for the exchange of driving licences starts, i.e. whether in the case of a no-deal Brexit there will be a grace period at your place of residence or not. Therefore, please consult your local Bürgeramt.” 

New test requirement?

The nationals of some third countries are required to take a test (theory and/or practical) before they can exchange their driving licences for a German one. The Embassy has stated that in a no-deal scenario, British citizens would have to take the German driving test if exchanging their license after the Brexit date. This situation is explained on the BMVI’s Mobility after Brexit page (under the question “Will it be necessary to make any adjustment’s to my driving license?”). 

Links:

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

www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/EN/Articles/StV/validity-foreign-driving-licences-in-germany.html?nn=12830

There are links from there to:

“Fact sheet for holders of foreign driving licences from EU and EEA states on driving licence provisions in the Federal Republic of Germany”

www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/EN/Documents/LA/fact-sheet-foreign-driving-licences.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

and:

“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”

www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/EN/Documents/LA/driving-licence-provisions-fact-sheet.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Further information on driving licences in the EU:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/driving-licence/driving-licence-recognition-validity/index_en.htm