I am an Indian National who has moved to Germany recently. I was entitled to drive a vehicle for the first 6 months of my stay with my Indian drivers license. But the same license with which I drove on the German roads gets void in Germany immediately after the 6th month.

And most trouble some part is a mere translation of my license or exchange of my license is not possible. I need to pass the theory exam and also get Practical driving classes and then pass the exam to get a German license.

I feel this is utterlly illogical as I was legally allowed to drive for 6months and immediately with no mistake of mine I am not allowed to drive and need to go through the expensive and tiresome German driving classes and exams to get one.

  • 2
    This isn’t much different to the reverse situation. AFAIK, visitors need an international license to drive in India, while people planning to stay for more than a year are required to apply for an Indian driving license.
    – Traveller
    May 12, 2021 at 18:17
  • There isn't "no mistake of mine". The problem is just that unlike almost everyone driving in Germany, you haven't proved that you know the traffic rules up to the standard required in Germany, and that you don't know how to drive according to the standard required in Germany.
    – gnasher729
    May 14, 2021 at 7:30
  • As a non-citizen resident of Germany, I have to agree that it makes no sense. @gnasher729, consider: When you first arrive, and probably don't know the traffic laws of Germany, you can drive on your old license, no problem. After you've been around for six months and presumably have acclimated to the German traffic laws, surprise, now your license is no good anymore. To me it seems exactly backwards.
    – Kyralessa
    May 28, 2021 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


Most countries have restrictions on how long foreigners can drive on their foreign-issued driving license before having to exchange it for a local one. This is mainly to benefit tourists, but is also useful for recent arrivals to give them a chance to exchange their license.

The reason for this is that you can commit a few driving offenses before being banned for a short period. It's harder to keep track of your offenses (and to ban you) when you are using a foreign-issued license.


Germany is entitled to require a domestic licence for its residents (except certain holders of EU licences).

Germany does not have to allow a German resident to drive with an Indian license at all. The six-month grace period is simply a facility, a "nice thing to do", for obtaining your German license.

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