What has to be considered in the case of a transcription?
If you want to live in Germany permanently or at least for longer than six months, you should not put off transferring your driving licence. After six months, your authorisation to drive a motor vehicle expires. If you can show that you will not be living in Germany for longer than twelve months, you can have the six-month period extended once to a total of twelve months. You can apply for a driver's licence transfer for an unlimited period of time. This means that although you are in possession of a driving licence, you are no longer allowed to drive a motor vehicle after the expiry of the time limit.
How does the transcription process work?
To have an American driving licence transferred, you must first apply in person for a German driving licence, also known as a transfer. To do this, you must go to the driving licence office in your place of residence. The driving licence office will make a note on the German driving licence that the American driving licence has been presented. This driving licence will either be taken into custody or returned to the driving licence office in the USA. Before you receive a German driving licence, you must present the following documents to the driving licence authority:
- identity card or passport
- proof of the date on which you changed your place of residence to Germany
- valid American driving licence - proof of a stay of at least 185 days in the USA (rental contract, school or study certificate)
- official translation of the American driving licence
- proof that you have passed the eye test
- biometric photo
Is an examination necessary in Germany?
Numerous holders of an American driving licence wonder whether they need to take a driving test again. No practical test is required to transfer an American driving licence. The theoretical test is required in some cases. A prerequisite for this is that the training and examination procedure in the US state in which the driving licence was obtained is equivalent to the German training and examination procedure. Appendix 11 of the Driver's Licence Ordinance provides information on the US states for which equivalence exists. The American driving licence classes are not uniform. In the USA, each state has its own driving licence rules. If the state in which you obtained your driver's licence is not listed, you will have to take a theoretical and practical driving test before you can get your driver's licence. The best way to do this is to contact a driving school. However, a new driving test is not necessary. Currently, a transfer without an examination is possible for driving licences that were acquired in 27 of 50 US states.
Vehicle Registration in California
If you are in the USA and are considering getting a car there, you should be aware that each state has its own rules. If you want to register your car in California, you must establish residency there. You must also have a US driver's licence. California is a popular destination for many students, so many take a US driver's licence in order to register a car there. However, you should bear in mind that California is not listed in Annex 11 of the Driver's Licence Ordinance and that you will have to take a theoretical and practical test in Germany if you have your American driver's licence transferred.
In summary, it cannot be assumed that you will have no problems transferring your driving licence. It depends on the state in which you acquired your driving licence. If the federal state is listed in Annex 11 of the Driving Licence Ordinance, it is sufficient to apply for the transfer of the driving licence at the driving licence office. Otherwise, you should contact a driving school, as it is necessary to take a theoretical or practical test.