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I'm Bulgarian citizen living in Germany and I have a Bulgarian driving license expiring in 2 years. Can I renew it or I have to exchange it for a German one?

I know that I can get a German driving license, but my question is if it's gonna be an issue to renew my driving license in Bulgaria as I'm living in another EU country.

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Unfortunately it's not possible. From Bulgarian Ministry of Interior:

За подмяна на свидетелство за управление на МПС лицето представя в звената "Пътна полиция" при СДВР/ОДМВР по постоянния адрес на заявителя следните документи:

  • декларация, че обичайното му пребиваване не е в друга държава - членка на Европейския съюз, и че не е притежател на валидно свидетелство, издадено от държава - членка на Европейския съюз;

To translate this from Bulgarian: to renew the driving license I have to declare that I'm not resident of another EU country. So my only option is to exchange my license in Germany.

  • Actually, your second option is to declare you're not resident of another EU country. In case of Bulgaria it could work... – user9879 Aug 24 '16 at 7:50
  • @9ilsdx9rvj0lo first of all it's not legal. second if the driving license is issued in Bulgaria while I am living in Germany, it's not valid in Germany – Dirty-flow Aug 24 '16 at 7:58
  • it doesn't have to be illegal, because various countrys define residence in other way. For example, for Germany you might be resident because you live there ~300 days a year, but for Bulgaria you could be also resident, because it's the center of your family and cultural issues – user9879 Aug 24 '16 at 8:46
  • AFAIK the 185-days-rule is applied in all EU countries – Dirty-flow Aug 24 '16 at 9:00
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Talking about the 185 days rule one has to distinguish between renewing a license and obtaining a license for the first time.

If you live in Germany for > 185 days (the date of your "Anmeldung") and you make your driving license for the first time (i.e. pass the examn) in Bulgaria, your license will not be valid in Germany. I also won't be valid if you make it in any other EU country, by the way. The rules have become quite strict to stop what was called "Driver's License Tourism" where formerly German people who lost their license for whatever reason just made a new one from sratch in the Czech republic for example. (There used to be agencies who arranged everything for you.)

I know of cases where people who's background is in another EU country just didn't want to make their driving license in Germany because the cost is about 5 times what it costs in Bulgaria, then went to the German Führerscheinstelle and wanted to exchange their license into a German one. They came back with a huge sticker on their bulgarian license saying "Not valid in Germany." But again, this is about when you were granted the license initially, not about renewal.

Check your license. On the front it says when the license document got issued, on the back it will list when you were granted each class.

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