Unbelievably in a country as chock full of bureaucratic BS as Germany it really did only take 4 relatively simple steps to exchange my Canadian driver’s license for a German Führerschein…
Step 1: Get your driving license translated: Unfortunately the only translation that seems to be universally accepted by all Fahrerlaubnisbehörden is from ADAC and at €55 is almost double the cost a private, certified translator charges. (but worth every penny as it’s guaranteed to be accepted!)
Step 2: Apply to exchange your driving license: Pop into your local Bürgeramt (citizen center) with your passport, driving license, certified ADAC translation, Anmeldebescheinigung (address registration), a biometric photo and the fee – I paid €35. Let the counter staff know you want to “umschreiben meines Führerscheins” (exchange your license). Depending on the employee who takes your application this can be either an easy & pleasant process or absolute hell…just remember that in Germany customer service skills are not a job requirement and try to keep up your own smile, like the good little Canadian you are, no matter how pissy your assigned worker is…
Step 3: Wait….and wait…and wait….and wait….and wait. I applied & paid for my license exchange on June 27th and didn’t receive my come-and-pick-up-your-new-license-letter until October 5th.
Step 4: Take your Canadian driving license & the come-and-pick-up-your-new-license-letter to the address provided. Give the letter to the counter staff and trade in your Canadian license for your shiny new German Führerschein!
*Disclaimer: This was my own personal experience exchanging my Canadian driving license for a German Führerschein. As Canada has wonderful reciprocation agreements with Germany license exchanges are a fairly painless process. If you’re not from Canada this article may have the info you require.
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