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Jumat, 05 Maret 2021

Transferring your home country (non-EU) driving license to a German Driving license

 Hello everyone!

I was planning to write this months ago but life was so busy meanwhile (with this whole "new normal" thing) that I barely had any time or muse to start writing, so apologise for that one. 

This time I'd like to write about my experience of transferring my Indonesian driving license to a German one. It seems that I don't have that much luck with German bureaucracy, because almost everything that I wanted to do seems to be not the "normal" case, which means more complications than what it has already been. And for transferring my driving license, it took more than a year for me! And I also visited "Führerscheinstelle" at least 5 times. Believe me, it was really time and energy-consuming! Well, to be honest, some months of it was me being lazy, hehehe. Let's get started!!!

Basically, if you want to make a driving license from scratch in Germany, you need to do the following things:

  1. First-aid course (max 2 years)
  2. Eye-test
  3. Theoretical class
  4. Theoretical exam
  5. Driving class
  6. Driving exam
To do everything from the beginning will cost you approximately 2000€. I also think it depends on where you live. In south, everything seems to be much more expensive than in NRW, for example. We will now go through some cases, and I'll try to provide information on what you need to do had your condition met one of the followings:

You don't have a driving license prior to moving to Germany.

Simple. You have to follow all the steps from the beginning. 

You have a driving license from your home country AFTER you moved to Germany.

Unfortunately, you have to redo everything from the beginning, as you can only eligible to transfer your driving license if you had it before moving to Germany. 

You have a driving license from your home country BEFORE you moved to Germany. 

Congratulations. You have the chance to get a German one. 

  • Your driving license is valid to use up to 6 months from your moving date! Use this wisely and I'd suggest practicing as much as possible or get it done within the first 6 months (of course, if you have the budget for it).
  • If you're from one of the lucky countries (sorry, the list will provide later if I could find the link, but e.g. Korean one!), you can simply go to switch your driving license without having to go through any class and exams!
  • But, if your country was not included in the list, then you have to go through exams, some countries probably only needed a part, but probably other countries have to do a lot more. 

You have a driving license from your home country BEFORE you moved to Germany, BUT your driving license EXPIRED in between

This was my case, and it was one reason why my process took so long because I was a bit lazy to do everything. 
  • If you have a new driving license issued after that, make a police statement from Indonesia (better in English, if it was Indonesian, have it translated to either English/German), stating that you already have a driving license before. If you have a copy of your old driving license, attached it as well in the letter. 
(original)

(translation)
  • If you do not have a new driving license (my case), I have to fly back home and make a new one, before doing the steps above xD 

Your driving school is in a different Bundesland than your home

Again, this was my case. I worked in the Stuttgart area and every week I was commuting between Aachen-Stuttgart. I was only in Aachen every Friday-Sunday which was a disadvantage for me to do a driving course in Aachen, as probably some schools won't have that much slot for Sunday driving. That was why I decided to do it in Stuttgart. 
  • Ask your company to provide a statement letter, stating that you are working in the area of your driving school! AND MAKE SURE IT'S AN ACTUAL ONE. Due to the lacks of documents, I needed 3 months until I got my documents completed, and even by then, they asked me to COME AGAIN with a newer statement letter (I was pretty mad that time because it was their fault of 134134938 requirements that made everything got delayed)
(statement letter from the office)

DOCUMENTS TO PREPARE:

  1. First aid course certificate.
    • Most driving schools provided some courses. You could also find it through google. In bigger cities, more English sessions are offered. 
    • The course is 8 hours (1 lesson hour = 45 minutes) and normally they're put in one day. So make sure you prepare the time for that. 
    • And as the slots normally fully booked, you should be prepared to book this a few weeks in advance!
    • Cost around 25-30€
  2. Eye-test certificate
    • I did mine in Fielmann and it was free of charge! 
  3. Your original driving license
  4. Certified translated driving license (if it's not in English)
    • I did in ADAC and I think they overcharged me. For a driving license under 200 words, it would cost 75€. They said mine was more than 200 words, and in the end, I paid 115€ for that!!!! Probably if you have ADAC membership it will be cheaper. 
  5. Photo
  6. (if you're applying from NRW) Your driving school contract
  7. Additional documents based on your unique case, in my case my additional documents were:
    1. Police statement from Indonesia that I got my first driving license in 2012 + the German translation
    2. Statement from my employer that I worked in a different city than my place of residence

STEPS TO YOUR NEW SHINY GERMAN DRIVING LICENSE 

(I'd also write my own experience in between, that's why it got so long xD):

  1. Do the first-aid course and the eye-test. 
  2. IF YOU LIVE IN NRW: register yourself at a driving school before going to step 3. IF YOU LIVE IN BW: go to step 3 first before registering yourself at a driving school!
  3. Go to "Führerscheinstelle" in your city. Some cities probably need appointments. If you're in Aachen, I'd suggest making an appointment because the waiting time could be up to two hours (no joking here). 
  4. Tell the worker that you'd like to transfer your driving license. They'll review all the documents you have, and if all are okay (which probably won't be for the first time xD), they'll ask you to pay (approx 25€-50€) for the processing fee. 
  5. Now, you wait until your driving school contact you. I'd suggest you start studying for your theoretical exam. I use this app to study, and it's really helpful! 
  6. Once your driving school contacts you, it means you're good to go for the theoretical exam! They'll give you some dates option and you could say when you want to take it. Do not rush if you're not ready! 
  7. There are two scenarios of the theoretical exams:
    1. PASS: congrats, now go to step 8
    2. FAIL: no need to be sad (except if you are like me, who underestimated and failed twice, yeah, shame on you xD). There's no limit to retaking the exams, but you need to remember that you have to pay for every exam. The earliest you could reapply for the theoretical exams is two-weeks after the failed exam. 
  8. After passing the theoretical exam, you're now eligible to start your driving course! Note that it is mandatory for you to take the course, you can't skip it and go directly to the driving exam! But, unlike the students who do their license from scratch, there are no mandatory driving hours to take. It all depends on your driving teacher. 
    • I contacted my driving school and stated that I'd like to get started as soon as possible, and later on, my driving teacher WhatsApp me with the two hours schedule where he'd decide how many hours I'd have to take before taking the exams. After the first drive, he told me I'd need another 3 times driving. HE EVEN REGISTERED ME ALREADY TO TAKE THE EXAMS.
    • Because of Corona, we had to use masks during the lesson. I was lucky that during that time, it was possible again to do the driving classes.
    • I did a total of 6.25 hours of driving lesson! I received a lot of criticism, especially since I drove too slow (I could not blame myself, driving in Indonesia, people just appear out of nowhere to cut you on the street xD). My biggest weakness I think was the German Autobahn. People drove really fast, and I was just not used to that. 
    • Usually, your driving instructor already knew the route of the exams, so they'd instruct you to go the paths usually taken for the exams. 
  9. DRIVING EXAM TIME! 
    • On this day, your driving teacher (at least in my case) had me a 30-minutes warm-up. In my case, it was my worst performance and my driving teacher was a bit worried I might fail xD 
    • In the exam, you will start and end the exam at the same place. The exam will be about 45 minutes. There will be an examiner that sits with you in the back seat, usually the rear right seat so they could observe your speed and behaviour. 
  10. Again, in this scenario, there are two possibilities:
    1. PASS: CONGRATULATIONS! NOW YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO DRIVE IN EU BUT REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE 2 YEARS OF PROBATION. 
      • In some Bundesland, e.g. Aachen, you have to go again to Führerscheinstelle to give your third-country driving license and they'll give you the shiny new German driving license.
      • Well, for BW (because I did the exam here), the examiner gave me directly my driving license, even saying I could keep my Indonesian one! 
    2. FAIL: I did not fail in the first try, so I am not 100% sure of the procedure, but I think you have to take some hours again before reapplying for the exams. 
that happy face passing the driving exam in the first try! xD


Theoretical Exam Models:
  • It'll computer-based one, so you'll see your results directly after the exams!
  • There will be 30 multiple choice questions asked, each question has points. Answering the questions, wrong, you'll get the points based on it.
    • The passing grade is to have LESS OR EQUAL THAN 10 POINTS. 
  • The good thing about theoretical exams, that the candidate questions are already available so you could study up. But the thing is, there are more than 1000 questions in the question banks xD 
  • The exam usually took 30 minutes, faster if you are confident enough you answer everything correctly!
  • After you submitted your test electronically, your results would appear, and you can review your wrong or right answers one by one!
  • At the end of the exam, if you FAIL the exam, the examiner will give you a paper that contains which part you got your answer wrong. 
  • Tipps:
    • I repeat, DO NOT TAKE THE THEORETICAL EXAMS LIGHTLY! Went through each question AT LEAST TWICE, and only be confident if you have answered everything correctly at least once!
    • The questions in the exam banks really help you with the driving lesson and exams! 
Driving Exam Models:
  • As I wrote above, you'll drive with your driving instructor who would seat in the passenger seat, and the examiner who'd be sitting in the rear seat. 
  • The examiner will instruct you what you have to do, but if they don't say anything, you just need to go straight. In case going straight is not possible, you should ask them where you should drive. 
  • If the examiner is nice enough, you won't need to drive in Autobahn xD 
  • Tipps:
    • If your driving instructor did not initiate the 30 minutes warm-up before the exam, ask them! I think it's very important to get you less nervous than before. 
    • PAY ATTENTION during the lessons! The route you take will be very similar, and in some areas, special rules apply, and that's what the examiner wants to see whether you actually PAY ATTENTION TO ALL THE SIGN.

ANYWAY, thank you so much for reading it through! I hope you won't take as much and complicated processes as I went through, and I hope this post helps (even a bit) in your process of transferring your driving license. GOOD LUCK!!

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