Welcome Service for International Researchers

Driver’s License and Your Own Automobile

For a visit of less than six months, bringing your own automobile is relatively uncomplicated. Should you stay longer than one year, however, time-consuming and costly bureaucratic hurdles must be cleared in order to maintain your driver’s license and car registration and to deal with car taxes and insurance. If you possess a valid driver’s license, it is most likely valid in Germany for six months. Valid driver’s licenses are:

  • one issued in one of the EU member states (without a German translation),
  • one issued in the following countries (without a German translation): Andorra, Cyprus, Hungary, Hong Kong, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Senegal and Switzerland
  • one currently valid and issued abroad with an accompanying German translation (the translation of the foreign license can be done by a German diplomatic mission, an automobile car club in your home country or in Germany (e.g., ADAC, ARCD, AVD, etc.) or a professional translator) or
  • an international driver’s license.

You must be certain to apply three months before the expiration of the deadline for a conversion of your license to a German driver’s license, for otherwise the validity of your driving privileges will elapse.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is severely punished in Germany, up to the loss of the driver’s license. At 0.05% blood alcohol content (BAC) and above, you are in violation of the law and will face rather stiff fines if apprehended. Driving at or over 0.08% will result in immediate loss of the driver’s license for several months and an even stiffer fine. Should you be involved in a traffic accident, you will be facing charges of varying degrees starting at 0.03%! Be careful: 0.4 l of beer, 0.2 of a litre of wine or 4 cl of high proof alcohol generally produce a BAC of 0.03 percent, depending on your weight. Sensible drivers do not drink at all several hours before driving.

In Deutschland seat belts are required for all occupants of the car. Should anybody in the car not be wearing a seat belt, the driver is subject to a fine of 30 euros. Telephoning while driving is not allowed without a so-called ‘hands free’ set.

If you are involved in an accident, you must remain at the scene until the police arrive. Hit-and-run driving is severely punished in Germany. Have the damages carefully recorded by the police and then report the accident to your insurance company. Any time you cause damage with a moving vehicle to any property, it counts as an accident and must be reported. (Quelle: Humboldt-foundation)