In my previous posts Berlin My New Home, I mentioned the do’s and dont’s after you move to Berlin. The necessary paperwork required, the bureaucracy you have to deal with, how to avoid waiting in the queue for hours just to get a stamp, etc. Now I’m going to write about the things that is required to exchange your expat drivers license to a German license.
Coming from a country which forces you to have a car and drive everywhere even to buy simple things like bread and milk, I decided to change my Canadian drivers license and get a German license. At first I was a bit worried that I had to go through the written and road test all over again. I’ve already failed the written test in my native language before so I cant even imagine how I’d pass if it was in German. Therefore before I left Canada I made sure that I had my International Drivers Permit so I can drive anywhere in the world without a hassle. Although my dream had to come to an end. After living in Berlin for more than a year, I found out that after being a resident of Germany for more than six months, it was mandatory to switch my drivers license. Also if you haven’t changed your license within 2 years residing in Germany, you’ll have to go through the written and road test all over again, of course in German!
After browsing the internet to find out what is required from Canadian citizens to do to get a German drivers license, I found these sites very helpful.
As lucky as I am being Canadian, it is just a simple exchange of my current license to a German license. I went to the Bürgeramt with these items;
Two passport size photos
My residency paper (Anmeldung)
My Canadian drivers license
In all the websites I’ve read it does mention to take a notarized translation of your drivers license. I decided to take the risk and save myself the 60-70 Euros. Again luck was shining on me and they didnt ask for the translation ( I guess the guy at the Bürgeramt understood basic English).
The process took around 10 weeks and you get a letter from the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde ( Drivers License Authority) to claim your new license. The location of the building and opening times can be found here. Like every Amt aka office in Germany, go there early and grab a seat, the wait can be awhile. When I got called in, I had to forfeit my Canadian license and in return I got my shiny new German drivers license