To drive in Germany, you must have a valid driving license. A foreign license is also suitable, but in most cases, it loses effectiveness after 6 months of living in the country. Hence, you will need either to obtain a new driver’s license or exchange your foreign permit for the German version.
The cost of a driving license in Germany ranges from 1,500 EUR to 3,000 EUR in total, with an average of 2,182 EUR. There is no flat rate fee for a driver’s license in Germany.
Having a driving license isn’t a cheap pleasure in Germany. If you have never had driving experience, you will need to attend a driving school. This is the most expensive part of getting a driver’s license in Germany. Foreigners with international driving permits can get a German version by passing two exams and eventually taking some driving lessons.
How much does a driving license cost in Germany?
To drive a car in Germany, you will need a class B driver’s license. Germany isn’t the easiest and cheapest place in the world to get a driving license. In fact, a driving exam is quite challenging to pass; according to statistics, 44% of students fail one of the examinations.
In regard to the prices, they differ from region to region. If you don’t have an international license and need to go through the whole process from the start, it will cost between 1,500 EUR and 3,000 EUR and will take between 3 to 5 months.
On average, students have paid 2,182 EUR for the whole package, according to the survey made in 2020. In fact, in medium-sized cities, people paid 2,237 EUR on average, and in big cities, 2,121 EUR for a B-class driving license.
Nonetheless, driving schools advise students to budget at least 2,800 EUR up to 3,500 EUR for any additional costs which might occur. For example, due to the pandemic, there are additional hygiene measures that drive expenses up.
Ultimately, the final price depends on various factors, such as the number of driving hours and the fees charged by the driving school. Depending on how profound you are in driving, you might need more or fewer hours of driving.
One hour of the driving lesson costs between 45 EUR and 70 EUR. Therefore, driving hours are the most expensive element in getting a driving license in Germany.
Moreover, the costs might add up when students fail their first exams and need to redo them. In order to do it, they need to pay for the additional exam and eventually for more driving lessons.
Also read: “The cheapest car insurance in Germany“
If you already have a foreign license, it will lose its validity after 6 months, but you can exchange it for a German version. Only driving licenses from EU and EWR countries can be used in Germany without any limitations.
In order to exchange a foreign license in Germany driver will need to pass two exams:
- Theoretical exam: 22,49 EUR
- Practical exam: 116 EUR
Yet, when applying for a driving license as a newbie, you will go to the driving school as all students do. Luckily, the whole process can be done in English.
After getting your driving license, you can finally buy a car in Germany or start using your existing one. For that, I recommend reading articles about:
- “How to buy a car in Germany as a foreigner?”
- “How expensive is it to own a car in Germany?”
- “The cheapest car insurance in Germany“
- “Best websites to buy a car in Germany”
Nonetheless, if you need car insurance, we strongly recommend CosmosDirekt – an insurance provider with low prices but also excellent quality. It’s the most popular car insurance provider in Germany. Read all reviews about CosmosDirekt on Trustpilot.
Rules for foreign driving license in Germany
In Germany, everyone with a driving license from the EU/EWR countries can enjoy driving a car without any limitations.
Foreigners residing in Germany, as well as tourists, may use their driving licenses for up to 6 months. An extension for up to twelve months is possible if you prove your plans to leave Germany after this period. Later, a driver must pass a theoretical and practical test to get a German permit.
To pass the theoretical and practical driving tests, you must enroll in one of many driving schools. Some schools offer instruction for people with foreign driving licenses and who already know how to drive.
Hence, they will just prepare you for the test in Germany. It will cost much less than a full-length driving course – around 500 EUR compared to the full course, which comes to 1,500-2,000 EUR.
After you have passed the exams, prepare these documents to convert your foreign driving license:
- Passport or ID card and proof of residency (Anmeldebescheinigung)
- Biometric photo
- First-aid course certificate
- Vision test certification – can be obtained from any glasses store
- A driving license fee of 35 EUR
- Proof of registration from your driving school
- Current driver’s license
- Translation of the current driver’s license if needed
The cost structure of a German driving license
Firstly, the exact cost of the driver’s license class B can’t be estimated. Every school charges a different price. Nonetheless, driving hours are the most significant cost factor. There are at least 12 mandatory driving hours.
Below you can see an overview of all costs which are included in getting a driving license in Germany.
|Basic fee for the driving school||200 EUR|
|Teaching material (not mandatory)||60 EUR to 80 EUR|
|Driving hours (regular and special driving hours)||12 driving hours: 30 EUR – 75 EUR for one hour;|
It total the final price can be as high as 1,500 EUR
|Theoretical exam||22,49 EUR|
|Practical exam||116,93 EUR|
|Vision test, first aid course, passport photos||between 26 EUR to 56 EUR|
|Driving license application||35 EUR|
Also read: “How expensive is it to own a car in Germany?”
Students must practice driving four times on the highway, five times on the country road, and three times at night for 45 minutes each. These driving lessons are mandatory. Twelve hours is the minimum, but there are no limitations to it. Some students learn faster, some slower.
On average, a new driver needs about 24 practice lessons to become confident for the driving exam.
In general, a practical exam takes between 30 and 45 minutes. It includes different elements such as explaining some car’s functions, driving on different types of roads, including the autobahn, and performing a few maneuvers with a vehicle.
The driving test will be considered a failure if a student dismisses an important sign or does an illegal maneuver.
Cost to repeat the driving test
The practical test must be carried out by the student within 12 months after the theoretical exam. The initial cost of the driving test is 117 EUR, and the same price applies to the subsequent attempts.
The test can be taken three times with two weeks between each, but there are no limitations on how many attempts can be made in total. The only rule is to keep a three months interval after falling the 3rd, 6rd, and 9th times. If you fail the 3rd time, you can only repeat it in 3 months.
Keep in mind that students often take additional driving hours after they have failed their first practical exam. Hence, one will need to consider the costs of those hours.
Moreover, the theory test is only valid for one year. If re-taking a practical driving test after 12 months, the theory test must be re-taken too.
For a class B driving license, students must complete a total of at least 12 hours of theory plus 2 additional hours on more specific topics. One theoretical hour is 90 minutes.
The theoretical test consists of 30 questions, mostly multiple-choice, selected from over 1,000 possible ones. These are 522 questions about basic knowledge and 993 questions on more specific info. Be aware that Germany has a high failure rate of 44%. So study hard for your theory exam.
Cost to repeat the theoretical test
If one fails the theory examination, the application fee for a new attempt is 22,49 EUR.
Automatic driving test in Germany
For a long time, Germany only has offered practical exams with manual transmissions, but from April 2021, students can do the test on automatic cars!
Despite this relief, you must keep in mind that you will be only allowed to drive an automatic with such a license. However, drivers can pass additional tests if they want to drive manual cars and automatic cars. There is no need to attend school again.