How to convert a foreign driving license

Isn’t driving great? I missed it so much. So I decided to figure out how to make that happen.

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At the time when I applied, I had lived in Germany for approximately three and a half years and my original license was from the USA.

From my understanding, to apply for the conversion, you need a non-expired license card. And your license should have be initially obtained before moving to Germany, but I’m not sure that this is fully accurate, please don’t let me stop you from trying.

To clarify: It is okay if your home-country’s license has expired since moving to Germany, but then you need to obtain a renewed version. I know because mine expired after living a couple of years here, but I was able to renew it via mail and had a family member then forward it to me. Depending on your home-country and personal situation this might be more difficult.

Book an appointment

I made the appointment via Berlin’s website:

Driving license – transfer of a foreign driving license from a non-EU/EEA country (third country/Annex 11)

Apply (during an appointment)

During my appointment the worker looked at my documents. I brought my current and expired US driver’s licenses, all my housing registrations for Germany, and the other required things.


I didn’t do an eye exam beforehand because I thought it wasn’t necessary, and I was correct.

The worker there gave me some documents. Said something like, “Drei oder sechs week, Abholen” I paid 36 Euro and left.

From there, I wasn’t really sure what to do, except wait. I thought: if no mail comes, I guess just in six weeks I should go the address on the document she gave me and try to collect it.

Wait for some mail

But a few weeks later, a letter arrived. It said that my application was processing. The letter didn’t really explain any clear next steps, but it said not to visit, I felt this contradicted what the worker said, so I just kept waiting, with not so much clarity. Below is the content.

Then some weeks later I got a letter saying that my application was approved, with an appointment to pick-up it up and instructions on what to bring.

Things to bring:

  • the letter
  • valid passport (or ID)
  • original driver’s license

Pick-up (during an appointment)

People are required to come and physically come to pickup their drivers license because they want to keep your original driving license for whatever reason.

There’s what I did: show up at the place, get inside, show the person my appointment paper, go to the appropriate waiting room, wait, get my number called…

Then during the appointment, you only need to say the magic words, “Führerschein abholen, bitte.”

The worker will process your documents and produce your prize.

That’s it!


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