What to bear in mind : Exchanging your driver’s license – deadlines for the compulsory exchange of driver’s licenses
You are by no means alone if you are faced with the task of exchanging your driver’s license. ADAC experts estimate that the number of driving licenses that will have to be exchanged from 2022 onwards will be enormous – around 43 million.
By Wolfgang Weitzdorfer
- Why do you have to exchange your driver’s license?
- Who must exchange the driver’s license?
- How does the exchange of driving licenses work??
- How much does the driver’s license exchange cost?
- Which deadlines must be observed when exchanging a driver’s license??
- Can you also simply apply for the new EU driving license?
- Driver’s license exchange: Do you have to make up a test?
- Driver’s license exchange: Threats a penalty if you miss the deadline?
- How often does the driver’s license need to be exchanged?
- Is it allowed to drive abroad with the old expired car or motorcycle driving licenses?
Why do you have to exchange your driver’s license??
"The point is that driving licenses must be exchanged for forgery-proof documents", says the automobile club. The background to this is a resolution passed by the Bundesrat in its meeting of 15. Directive adopted in February 2019. According to the Federal Ministry of Transport, driver’s licenses must be "for the implementation of European requirements" be exchanged. "This concerns the Third EU Driving Licence Directive, according to which until the 19. January 2033 all before the 19. Driving licenses issued on January 2013 must be exchanged. The old driving licenses will then be cancelled, so that all vehicle documents in circulation in the European Union will have a uniform pattern", says the website of the Federal Ministry of Transport. An important point here is the fulfillment of the requirements for the forgery-proofness of the documents.
Who has to exchange the driver’s license?
Basically, every old German driver’s license must be exchanged for a new EU driver’s license. Only the respective exchange period differs – and that partly quite seriously. Because the exchange is of course staggered, so that not all driver’s licenses have to be exchanged for a new driver’s license at once. Because that would of course be logistically impossible. Thus, from now until the planned end of the action is still twelve years time. The aim is for all EU citizens to have the new and forgery-proof EU driver’s licenses after the deadlines that apply in the respective member countries have expired.
Is the EU driving license actually a completely new document??
Strictly speaking not. And many a citizen who may have had to surrender his driver’s license for a traffic violation – such as driving under the influence of alcohol, grossly excessive speed or other misdemeanors – or who may have had his old driver’s license stolen, for example, will already have the new driver’s license in his wallet. At least if this was done after 1999. Because back then, in January 1999, the EU driver’s license was put into circulation in Germany. It is valid in all EU countries, including Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The EU driving license is a small plastic card the size of an EC card – and looks the same in every EU country. The current exchange is the logical continuation of the second EU driving license directive introduced in January 1999.
How does the driver’s license exchange work?
The driver’s license authority in the current place of residence is responsible for the exchange. The Federal Ministry of Transport advises to contact the authority early for an appointment. "This is especially true for the groups of people who are now in line, since here the corona-related changes to the office hours on site are likely to still apply", says a government spokesman. To make the exchange go as smoothly and quickly as possible, you should have the necessary documents ready. These are: the valid identity card or passport, the current driver’s license and a biometric passport photo. The vast majority of people, however, will not live where they received their driver’s license. "In this case, it is necessary to obtain a so-called index card transcript. This is issued by the authority that originally issued the driver’s license – it can be applied for by phone, mail, or even online", says the ministry spokesman. The transcript can also be sent directly to the current authority. A special feature concerns the holders of driving licenses of the classes C, CE, C1C1E and the class D. For classes C – i.e. truck drivers – the owners must present an eye test and a health certificate. For class D – bus driver – a health certificate must also be provided.