How much does it cost to get a driver’s license in Germany? How does the exam in a German driving school work? Prices, the list of documents, sequence of actions, and tips for beginners and experienced drivers – in our today’s article.

Beginner drivers need to pass two exams by taking a theoretical and practical course, and experienced drivers just need to prove their license in Germany.

It is worth noting that foreigners who want to get or have already received a driver’s license should remember that the document is valid for six months from the date of entry into the country on a long-term visa. In order to extend the validity of the document, you need to take the exam again, but already in a simplified form. Let’s understand what is necessary in order to get the cherished license in Germany.

Theoretical Exam

In order to obtain a driver’s license you need to pass a theoretical and practical exam.

Normally Germans pass the driving test at the age of 17-18. It is especially popular when a driver’s license is issued at the age of 17 provided that there is an adult present.

If you do not and have not had a driver’s license, you are required to attend all theory hours. There are usually 14-16 of them, including a technical course. Depending on the school, classes may be held once to three times a week (or you may be able to find an intensive course) – such offers are most common during the school vacations.

If you already have a driver’s license, for example, you do not have to attend the theory. The advantage of such classes is that you can learn new German words, which certainly be useful to anyone who has decided to move to Germany. Plus, attending these classes is free.

Practice test

Practice hours are compulsory for those who are obtaining their driver’s license for the first time. All you have to do is “drive” 12 compulsory lessons of one and a half hours each. Some of them are in the city, some on the autobahn and some in the dark. There are also hours of “general training”, the number of which will be different for each student. If you have a driver’s license and good driving experience, no one will impose practical hours. But it is recommended to drive a couple of them, because in Germany there are peculiarities.

Costs of obtaining a driver’s license in Germany

The first fee, the type of payment, and the cost of an academic driving hour may vary from school to school. Therefore, we advise you to find out about these points in advance at the chosen driving school. Cost of training in a driving school also depends on initial data. Those having the right and driving experience may keep to 500-800 euros. Those having a little experience – about 1000. Beginners – 1500-2000 euros.

Below are average prices (in euros) for all necessary for obtaining a license:

  1. Fee for processing Führerscheinantrag and making license – 40-70
  2. School fees – 200
  3. Course materials – 60-80
  4. Mandatory driving hours – 360-720
  5. Additional hours of practice, if needed 30-60 per hour
  6. Theory exam – 22.49
  7. Practical exam – 116.93
  8. Photos – 5-10
  9. Vision test – 10
  10. First aid course – 30-50
  11. Expenses for exchange of foreign license in Germany (in euros):
  12. German translation – 15
  13. ADAC classification – 20
  14. First Aid Course – 30-50
  15. Vision test – 10
  16. Application to Führerscheinstelle and fabrication fee – 40-70
  17. Contract at the driving school 100-200
  18. Driving lessons 8-10 hours – 300-500
  19. Tickets or syllabus for tuition 60-80
  20. TÜV/DEKRA fee for the theory test – 22.49
  21. TÜV/DEKRA fee for the practical test – 116.93

Driving school, teacher and the student

List of steps for obtaining a driver’s license in Germany:

  1. Sign up at the driving school. Those who confirm their driver’s license can buy a preparation book or a list of tickets and start studying without attending the theory.
  2. Attend a first aid course (“Erste Hilfe” or “Lebensrettende Sofortmaßnahmen”). The school will tell you where this is offered in your town/area. The course usually lasts a day or two, and it is not uncommon to have your photograph and the Sehtest taken at the same time. Then you may take these documents to the driving school at once.
  3. Check your eyesight – pass the so-called “Sehtest”.
  4. Take a photo, if you did not do it as a part of the first aid course.
  5. If you already have a license from another country, have it translated by a sworn interpreter. Then you go to the Motor Vehicle Office (Stadtverkehrsbehörde) or the Zulassungsstelle and ask for a confirmation of your driver’s license. After a period of examination you will be issued with a German driver’s license.
  6. Attend theoretical lessons and take your first driving test. In some driving schools you can start practical lessons almost immediately after the theoretical lessons have started. Other driving schools require you to pass the theory first. As soon as you are ready for theory, you can take the theory test, for example at the TÜV (Technischer Überwachungsverein) or the DEKRA (Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein).
  7. The exam itself takes about 20-30 minutes on a computer or special tablet. After you finish, you will immediately see your result on the screen.

For experienced drivers with a foreign license practical training is not mandatory, but usually many drivers take a couple of hours to understand the situation on German roads and how to pass the practical exam.

Beginners have to drive the full program. Usually it is at least 20 hours including different types of driving, general and compulsory program. The instructor will let you know when you are ready for the practical test.

The practical examination lasts about 45 minutes and is strictly in German. Each attempt costs just under 200 euros. It includes certain components: 3 tasks (parking, emergency braking, U-turn), autobahn, city, zone 30, technical questions at the end or beginning of the exam. Usually all of these tasks are practiced with your driving instructor. The exam is taken by a special independent examiner.

When you successfully pass the test, you first receive a confirmation, which you can exchange for a coveted photo card. This can be done at the Führerscheinstelle.

List of required documents:

  • Passport
  • Photo (biometric, 4.5 x 3.5)
  • Confirmation of eyesight test with result
  • Proof of first-aid training
  • Information about your first border crossing from ABH or with a stamp in your passport
  • Translation of your driving license
  • Fee (up to 45 euros)

After obtaining your permit, you can take the theory course voluntarily and free of charge.

Taking the practical test

The examiner sits in the back seat, gives you his last words of advice and wishes you good luck. You have to listen carefully to what he tells you and follow his commands. If there are no commands, drive straight ahead.

Often examiners are silent when the forward pass is forbidden. It is important not to miss this point and ask where to go next.

He will pass with you the mandatory program, conduct parking, extreme braking and possibly a U-turn. He will give you a couple of instructions on the autobahn, will watch you perform the change and turn protocol, your eye movements, your sense of distance, speed, and the tachometer reading. At the end or at the beginning you will be asked 1-2 technical questions (turn on the lights, check the handbrake, oil level, etc.). If you do not pass the exam, you can repeat it in two weeks, there is no limit on the number of times you can retake it.

7 tips for a successful practical exam

  • Stay calm, stay calm. You are required to drive the same way you did in your driving lessons. After all, the difference is really not much – only the examiner will give you instructions. No instructions – go straight ahead or ask where to turn, if entering the street in front is prohibited. Do not drive too slowly and carefully.
  • Look in the mirrors! This is an important point, where and when to look. The instructor can see if you are performing a turn or lane change protocol. Look in your rearview mirror periodically during the exam.
  • Drive more slowly on narrow sections, stop when in doubt.
  • Driving in reverse is one of the most dangerous maneuvers, in which precision and accuracy are paramount.
  • Always indicate any change of alignment with a turn signal, when in doubt it is better to “blink”.
  • Stalling is not the biggest problem. Check if the gear is in first gear and slowly release the clutch.
  • And the most important point is the full Schulterblick, i.e. the dead zone control. Never do it in parallel with the turn itself, only before and quickly, otherwise you won’t see where you’re turning.

We wish you success in getting your cherished driver’s license in Germany!

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