The new EU directive will make 43 million driving licenses soon be invalid! (Mandatory driving license exchange)


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Around 43 million driver’s licenses will have to be exchanged within a certain period from 2022. The reason for the mandatory driving license exchange is an EU directive,

From 2033 there should be a forgery-proof driving license document for everyone, at the same time all driving licenses should be recorded in a common database in order to prevent misuse. Find out more about the mandatory driving license exchange.

Mandatory driving license exchange

Around 43 million driver’s licenses will have to be exchanged for forgery-proof copies from 2022. Now check your deadline in the exchange calculator.

  • Deadlines for exchanging all driving licenses issued before January 19th, 2013
  • Motorbike and car driving licenses can be exchanged without an examination
  • The exchange takes place according to the year of birth or issue

The numbers are huge: around 15 million paper driver’s licenses (issued by December 31, 1998) and around 28 million driver’s licenses by credit card (issued between January 1, 1999 and January 18, 2013) will have to be exchanged in the coming years. This process must be completed by January 19, 2033.

The background to the mandatory driving license exchange campaign: Driving licenses should in future be forgery-proof and uniform across the EU (EU Directive 2006/126 / EC). In addition, all driver’s licenses should be recorded in a database in order to avoid misuse.

In Germany, a law regulates the order in which drivers have to exchange their driver’s license – who’s turn when, regulates a time schedule. This is to avoid overloading the authorities and long waiting times.


How long is my driver’s license still valid?

German driving licenses issued up to and including December 31, 1998

Year of birth of the driver’s license holderDay by which the driver’s license must be exchanged
before 195319.01.2033
1953 – 195819.01.2022
1959 – 196419.01.2023
1965 – 197019.01.2024
1971 or after19.01.2025

Driving licenses issued after January 1st, 1999

Year of issueDay by which the driver’s license must be exchanged
1999 – 200119.01.2026
2002 – 200419.01.2027
2005 – 200719.01.2028
2012 – 18.1.201319.01.2033

Attention: Driving licenses issued after January 19, 2013 are not affected. They already include an expiry date after 15 years and must then be exchanged.

Mandatory driving license exchange

What exactly do I have to do now?

The ADAC draws attention to the fact that one should not wait for the authority to approach each individual. Make an appointment for an exchange yourself.

What do I need for the mandatory driving license exchange?

For the exhibition you need a new photo, old driver’s license, ID card or passport. If you change residence, you must present a copy to the driver’s license office that issued the driver’s license for the first time.

The costs at the authority are from 25 euros.

By the way: Anyone caught with an invalid driver’s license risks a fine of 10 euros.

Do I have to take another test?

A new exam or other aptitude tests are not planned for cars or motorcycle driving licenses, not even for seniors.

Attention: Not to be confused with the compulsory driving test every five years for bus and truck driving license classes.

Can’t I keep my old driver’s license?

Smartphone digital driving licenses with a current photo bring undeniable advantages when driving license checks, but especially when driving abroad. Nevertheless, we know that many citizens are emotionally attached to their old gray or pink rag. It only helps to a limited extent that this historical document is returned canceled when it is exchanged.

How long is the new driver’s license valid? 

Regardless of when you took your driving test, the following applies: You can continue to drive cars and / or motorcycles for an unlimited period . Only the validity of the driver’s license document is limited to 15 years – then you will get a new credit card driver’s license, again without an examination or health check.

I live abroad – am I also affected by the mandatory driving license exchange in Germany?

If you live abroad, you are not affected by the mandatory driving license exchange deadlines described here. They are subject to the regulations (any exchange periods or health examinations) of the country in which you have your place of residence (center of life). You can find out which specific rules exist abroad from the driving license authorities in your place of residence abroad.

However, if you are resident in an EU member state, you must exchange your old driver’s license by January 19, 2033 at the latest.

Mandatory driving license exchange

What is the process for the mandatory driving license exchange?

The application can be submitted by post or in person. Please note that when submitting an application by post, all application documents  must be enclosed in full. Incomplete applications will be returned unprocessed. This also includes the form for the digital signature. Once the documents have been successfully checked, you will receive a corresponding cost invoice by post.

If you apply in person, please make an appointment in advance online or by phone.

You need the following documents:

  • Application form (completed in full)
  • Digital signature form
  • valid identity card or passport (a copy when applying by post)
  • biometric photo
  • old driver’s license (a copy when applying by post)

If you apply by post, you will also need the form for the digital signature. Please also note the relevant information.

The collection must be done in person or by an authorized person on presentation of the previous driver’s license document. In the case of a personal application, there is the option of sending the document directly to your home address. To do this, please bring the declaration of direct shipping filled in and signed with you to your appointment. The direct shipping fee is € 5.00.

An application for the mandatory driving license exchange is usually only necessary at the prescribed time.There is an obligation to exchange driving license holders who drive trucks within the framework of the class 2 driving license and have reached the age of 50. Driving license class 2 expires at the age of 50 and must be exchanged for the new driving license (see extension of a temporary driving license).The following documents are also required for this:

  • Ophthalmologist’s report, not older than 2 years (ophthalmologist)
  • Certificate of a medical examination, not older than 1 year (family doctor)

In order to be able to guarantee individual advice for your exchange, we ask you to contact us by phone. We are also happy to inform you which classes you will receive in your EU driving license.

Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany



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