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Driver's licences get expiration date

DDP/The Local · 26 Aug 2010, 07:59

Published: 26 Aug 2010 07:59 GMT+02:00

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Legal steps to accommodate the new rule are currently being addressed by the federal government, daily Saarbrücker Zeitung reported.

Drivers will be required to apply for a new licence following the expiration date, but will not have to take another driving test, the paper said.

Meanwhile all of the open-ended driver’s licences issued before 2013 will have to be exchanged for the new version by 2033, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs said.

The change in policy is necessary to comply with a European Union guideline from 2006, which must be instituted by 2011.

The rule is meant to insure that the periodic exchange of licences will keep them up to date with the latest security technology, while new driver photos will help law enforcement better identify holders, the paper said.

Story continues below…

But Germany will not adhere to a further EU guideline that recommended a driver health exam each time a license is renewed, the paper said.

The Bundesrat, or upper house of German parliament, must still approve final plans.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:57 August 26, 2010 by chicagolive
I think the health exam is more of a big deal then the security function especially since most of the time Germany does not except the drivers license as an ID, but only for the purpose of saying you are allowed to drive.
11:23 August 26, 2010 by Frenemy
Anyone here know what the process is for converting an American driver's license into a German one? I've been using my NC driver's license here for over a year now cuz I can't be bothered to do all the BS required to conventionally obtain a German DL (I know you're only allowed to use a foreign DL for like 6 months or something, but the cops don't seem to mind...I've gotten like 3 or 4 tickets for speeding, seat-belt violations, etc.). The problem is that my US license is gonna expire in like a year and I don't know what to do... (help!?)
12:46 August 26, 2010 by ThomasSS

If you still have a US license after a year, then you aren't driving legally. The cops might not care during routine stops, but if you, say, cause an accident, your insurance company might decide that they don't have to cover you because you weren't driving legally. In other words, you might end up in a heap of trouble.

As for what to do... You should go to your local Führscheinstelle and ask. The details can vary by your location within Germany and even the mood of the clerk. You probably want to take a translator if your German isn't great. Also of course, you should probably avoid talking about how you just couldn't be bothered to follow German law.

13:15 August 26, 2010 by Frenemy
@ThomasSS: Thanks for the info, and yes I'll try to play down my contempt for (some) German laws ;-)

(I'm German and my German language is perfect, I've just never needed a German drivers license until now because up until last year I spent most of my life in other countries...)
14:18 August 26, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Frenemy --

Germany has reciprocity with some US states. Unfortunately, my driver's license was issued in California, which is not given reciprocity in Germany. When I went to attempt to get a German driver's license the bureaucratic hassle was so over the top that I just said "f--- it" and walked out.

You might check online and determine whether Germany has reciprocity with North Carolina. If I can find the link I'll post it.
16:16 August 26, 2010 by duckys
You need to take your U.S license to the nearest ADAC station and they can convert it to the German standards for you for about 98 euros. You also will need a passport photo for a German photo ID standards and not U.S. Once, you have this than go to the DMV again and give them the paper work and they will keep your U.S license and give you a German one.
22:22 August 26, 2010 by 9900lawre
The UK has been with the expiry theme since 1999, The addition of which is a photo card part which in common place doubles as an ID. It expires after 10 years with no requirement to take a test again and only costs £25 (e30).
00:04 August 27, 2010 by rfwilson
Here in Vancouver, we have to apply for a new license every 5 years. Basically this is a "cash cow" for the government. You just walk in, get a bad photo taken, pay $85 and walk out with a new license every 5 years. As far as getting a license here in the first place, it is so easy, they almost give away new drivers licenses in boxes of Corn Flakes!
19:27 August 27, 2010 by RosaryMaker
I'm in Oklahoma. When I first got my driver's license in 1980, we had to renew it every two years. Some years ago, they changed it to every four years. I thought, "Wow! That's a long time."

When I read, "As of 2013, they will be valid for only 15 years," I thought, "Oh, shut up!"
17:44 August 28, 2010 by vonSchwerin
"Drivers will be required to apply for a new licence following the expiration date, but will not have to take another driving test"

If drivers have to pay a fee and file a form but NOT take a driving test, this sounds like a ploy by the government to make more money and to further regulate the citizenry. The real issue should be a driving test -- and not every 15 years! Imagine passing a driving test at 65. Would you drive as well at 80? As we get older, our peripheral vision and reflexes deteriorate. Driving tests should be mandatory with license renewal, and more often than once every 15 years.
01:24 August 29, 2010 by corn1971
With my Illinois DL, all I had to do was go to ADAC and get an official translation which takes about a week to get back, cost about €35, took that an my IL license to local facility with a photo for the German license. Can make an acceptable photo at any of the foto booths usually found in a govt office lobby. There was another fee for the license, can't remember how much maybe around the same as ADAC fee.

I have an American friend here who got his German license and they did take away his NC license as well, but this must be part of the NC reciprocity agreement because they didn't take away my IL license.

I managed to get through the process at a time when my German was negligible as most people were able to converse in English with me.
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