Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration

Transport & Mobility Foreign Driving Licences

We inform you about important German regulations for holders of foreign driving licences.

Foreign Driving Licences - Hamburg Welcome Portal

The validity of your foreign driving licence depends on several factors, for instance, how long you're staying in Germany, but also on where your licence was originally issued. During short stays (less than 185 days per year), your valid foreign driving licence is also valid in Germany. If your driving licence is subject to any conditions or restrictions, you must also comply with them in Germany. Especially, your driving licence is not valid in Germany, if you do not have the minimum age of 18 years (accompanied driving is possible with 17 years).

You must always carry your driving licence with you when driving.

Nationals of Non-EU/EEA countries additionally need an international driving licence or a translation of their domestic driving licence.  In Hamburg, mobility issues are handled by the State Office for Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV).

Attention: Driving a vehicle with a foreign driving licence that is not or no longer recognised in Germany will be treated as driving without any driving licence at all and be reported to the police.

EU and EEA States

If you hold a valid domestic driving licence, you may drive a vehicle in Germany until this licence expires.

The regulations about the validity of category C, C1, CE, C1E, D, D1, DE and D1E (buses and trucks) driving licences equally apply to the corresponding EU/EEA driving licence. These driving licences are valid in Germany for 5 years, beginning with the date of issue of the foreign driving licence. You must comply with this, if you hold a driving licence of these categories.

If your foreign driving licence is about to expire or if it is no longer valid, please contact the Hamburg State Office of Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV) immediately.

Non-EU and -EEA States

If you hold a foreign driving licence issued in a country that is not a member of the EU or the EEA, this driving licence will be valid for six months after you have registered your residence in Germany. After this period, your driving licence is no longer valid.

You can continue driving a vehicle with a driving licence issued in Germany. To do this, you must apply for a conversion of your foreign driving licence into a German one. Which documents you must provide and whether you must take a driving test, depends on where your foreign driving licence was issued.

  • (Partially) Exempted States "Listenstaaten"
    Holders of driving licences from some foreign states are (partially) exempted from taking the otherwise obligatory theoretical and practical driving tests and health exams in order to legally drive in Germany. You still need to obtain a German driving licence, but the process is easier. In countries like USA, Canada or Australia, the rules of exemption depend on the federal state, province or territory the licence was issued by. 
  • Non-Exempted States
    If your licence was issued by a non-EU/EEA or non-exempted state, you will need to pass practical and theoretical driving exams, complete a first aid course and undergo a vision exam in order to legally drive in Germany after six months of residency.
    You must first submit a conversion application with all necessary documents. Then, please find a driving school and register there. They will provide further assistance.

After you have successfully completed the procedure, you will be issued the German driving license by the Hamburg State Office of Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV). The German driving license is also valid in foreign countries.

Schedule an appointment

Book an appointment online with the State Office for Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr ─ LBV) to start the process. Select the 'Führerschein: Spezielle Dienstleistungen' option and choose 'F09 ─ Umschreibung ausländischer Führerschein', then choose a location and time for your appointment.

If your licence was issued in an exempted state, bring:

  • passport
  • registration confirmation
  • foreign valid driving licence
  • passport photo (35 mm x 45 mm)
  • possibly a translation of driving licence and/or classification

If your licence was issued in a non-exempted state, bring:

  • passport
  • registration confirmation
  • possibly translation of driver's licence and/or classification
  • passport photo (35 mm x 45 mm)
  • eyesight test results
  • first aid training certificate

For class C/D you will need additional medical reports, in this case please contact the State Office for Transport and ask for further information.

For more information, please visit either the website of the State Office for Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV) (German only) or the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Development.


LBV Hamburg-Mitte, Ausschläger Weg 100, 20537 Hamburg
LBV Hamburg-Nord, Langenhorner Chaussee 491, 22419 Hamburg
Phone: 040 42858-0