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As far as I know it's possible to take the theory exam for your driving license in a foreign language, but I don't know in which languages. Does it cost more than the exam in German?

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According to this official answer from the ministry for economic affairs, work and transport of Lower Saxony to a question by a local MP, the exam has to be offered in 11 languages:

Abweichend davon kann die Prüfung auch in folgenden 11 Fremdsprachen abgelegt werden: Englisch, Französisch, Griechisch, Italienisch, Kroatisch, Polnisch, Portugiesisch, Rumänisch, Russisch, Spanisch und Türkisch.

Which is in English:

Notwithstanding this, the exam can be taken in the following 11 foreign languages​​: English, French, Greek, Italian, Croatian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

This follows from a federal regulation. In the past, individual states could also offer to pass the exam in other languages using an interpreter but Lower Saxony apparently stopped doing it over concerns about cheating.

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@GaLa's answer contains all of the languages that are accepted when doing the test:

  • Arabic
  • Croatian
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Turkish

However you can buy the teaching material in the following additional languages. You won't be able to take the test in these languages however.

  • Albanian
  • Afghan (Dari)
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • Hungarian
  • Indian (Punjabi)
  • Persian
  • Thai
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese
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    Small update for 2021: Arabic is also an option – nicbou Feb 19 at 13:00
  • @nicbou For the examination, or for the teaching materials? – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 19 at 18:09
  • For the examination. The teaching materials are usually exactly the same, verbatim. When I took the test (2017), the questions were the same, word for word. This is good, because the translations are horrendous. In my experience, you need to know the questions/answers by heart, because the sentences are often confusing and contradictory. – nicbou Feb 25 at 16:38
2

You can opt in to have an exam in any of the following languages:

  • English
  • Turkish
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Serbocroatian

There might be more supported languages now, the list is just from the top of my head, it might have been updated.

Although the actual test costs the same, the books/sites used to prepare for the tests usually charge extra if you need a version in another language. You just need to make sure that you specify the language when you go to the Führerscheinstelle to apply.

Also, since most of the test preparation material is sold through driving schools, make sure to ask them if they have a version in your language, or choose another school that have it.

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    Do you know a source for this? – SztupY Jun 5 '14 at 16:00
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Although the actual test costs the same, the books/sites used to prepare for the tests usually charge extra if you need a version in another language.

At least in Hessen, TÜV (the state structure where you take the theory exam) does not charge anything extra if you take the exam in a foreign language. However some driving schools do charge extra for that, which is illegal. If it is the case, you can make a complaint to your local Regierungspräsidium.

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    Yes, TÜV doesn't charge extra, driving school doesn't charge extra, but the books are more expensive, and software costs a bit extra, which is not illegal. – Marko Jun 6 '14 at 11:53
  • Costs of software does not always depend on the languages offered. E.g., my driving school just recommended the same online system for everybody, and there were 7 different languages offered. However, if you need a special language, which is rarely offered, you might need to pay a bit extra for that software, but not necessarily because of the language support itself. – Andrey Sapegin Feb 19 at 13:37
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As of 2021, the exam is available in 13 languages: Arabic, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Croatian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Sources:

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