Living in Hamburg

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Driving Permits

Most foreign driving permits lose their validity in Germany after 6 months. Read on to find out how to keep driving in Germany.

General information

The validity of your driving permit depends on several factors, for instance, how long you're staying in Germany, but also on where your licence was originally issued. The extent to which your driving permit is recognised in Germany depends on the kind of reciprocity established between Germany and the governmental body that issued your license. Please note: this may differ between states, provinces and territories within one country. In Hamburg, mobility issues are handled by the State Office for Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV).

Driving licenses from EU and EEA

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

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

If your foreign driving permit is about to expire or if it is no longer valid, please contact the Hamburg State Office of Transport (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – LBV) immediately.

Driving licenses from countries outside the EU and the EEA

If you have a foreign driving license that was not obtained in the EU or the EEA states, it is valid for six months from the time you take up normal residence in the Federal Republic of Germany. After that, your driving license is no longer valid in Germany.

In order to continue driving, you will then need a driving license issued in Germany. The requirements for obtaining a German driving license depend on the country in which you obtained your foreign driving license. 

Please note: Driving a motor vehicle with a foreign driver's license that is not or no longer recognized here is considered driving without a licence and will be prosecuted by the police.

Making an appointment and necessary documents

The foreign driving license must be valid so that it can be converted. Which documents must be submitted and whether you have to take driving tests depends on the state in which your driving license was issued:

  • Listed states
    Germany has concluded an agreement with so-called list states on the mutual simplified conversion of driving licenses.
    Driving licenses from these countries require fewer application documents and, as a rule, no tests. You can find the necessary documents and book an appointment here.
  • Other countries - "third countries"
    If your driving license was not issued in an EU/EEA country and not in one of the listed countries, you must take theoretical and practical tests for all vehicle categories that you wish to have converted.
    First of all, you must submit an application for conversion with all the necessary documents. Please look for a driving school and register there. You will be advised there. Here you can book an appointment for the transfer.

Once you have passed any necessary tests, the German driving license will be issued to you at the Landesbetrieb Verkehr.

The German driving license is also valid abroad.

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