I am a US/DE dual national living in NL for over a decade now. However, I only have a US driver's license.

Is there any way to exchange my US license for an EU (DE) one? Ordinarily, the Europeans don't recognize the validity of the US licenses for stays over than six months. However, perhaps as an EU citizen the situation is different. I hope so…

  • 1
    Which state issued your US licence?
    – nvoigt
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 16:40
  • Does the state matter?
    – Teusz
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 7:46
  • 1
    Germany allows to trade your US licence for a German one, but only for some states. With licences from other states, you may have to take the theoretical or practical exam again. Maybe both. So if your licence is from a state where you'd have to retake the test in Germany anyway, you could as well get a new licence in NL.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 7:48
  • Great point. How about Massachusetts?
    – Teusz
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 8:07
  • 1
    It seems you could trade in your US/MA licence for a German one without any additional tests (See table here). However, this is not an answer, as to do so you normally need a residence in Germany and I don't know how to do it without.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 8:15

1 Answer 1


I don't think so. Residence can have all sorts of consequences but I am not aware of any driving-licence-related law that makes a distinction based on citizenship and official Dutch sources like RDW and rijksoverheid.nl explicitly specify that what you may or may not do with foreign licenses depends on where they were obtained and how long you are staying but don't mention citizenship at all.

In the EU, your country of residence is solely responsible for all driving licence-related matters. It should not be possible to take the exam or exchange the licence in Germany while living in the Netherlands and, should you nonetheless manage it, the RDW explicitly says that you would not be allowed to drive in the Netherlands with it.

You cannot exchange a US licence for a Dutch driving license either, the only solution is to pass the theory and driving exams again in the Netherlands. And even if you would live in Germany for some time and exchange your licence for a German one in that time, I am not sure the Netherlands is necessarily bound to recognise it.

  • 3
    How would the Netherlands distinguish between a German license that had been issued as a result of a German driving examination as opposed to one issued as a result of an exchange?
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 14:04
  • 2
    @phoog, not sure how they would do it, but it's explicitly stated here: europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/driving-licence/… Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 13:29
  • 1
    @phoog In most cases, there is a series of codes on the back of the license, one for each licence category (starts with “70.” followed by a country code and the number of the original licence). On my Dutch licence, they are found under “Beperkingen/Vermeldingen”. A regular German licence would not have any code like that.
    – Gala
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 6:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.