Driving in Germany

Driving in Germany

Germany might have a pretty good public transportation system, but for some people driving is the only way to travel. Our driving section covers everything you need to know about this form of transport.  

Driving rules in Germany

First things first, there are a few rules that expats driving in Germany should take note of, as they may differ to your home country:

  • The legal driving age in Germany is 18. You are not permitted to drive if you are below this age, even if the legal driving age in your home country is lower.
  • You are obligated to carry your driver’s licence with you at all times when driving in Germany. If you are caught without it you risk being fined.
  • The legal limit for drinking and driving in Germany is 50mg per 100ml of blood. This is lower than in many countries.
  • By law, all cars in Germany must carry reflective jackets, a warning triangle, headlamp beam deflectors and a first aid kit.
  • Drivers and passengers on motorcycles and mopeds must wear safety helmets.
  • Even during daylight hours, mopeds and motorcycles must be driven with their passing lights on.
  • You may need an emissions sticker to enter certain German cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart.

Driving licences

How long is your foreign driving licence valid for? Can you exchange it for a German one? Do you need to take any tests? Our Driving licence page answers all your questions.

Learning to drive in Germany

Nationals of some countries will need to take either the practical or theoretical driving test in Germany in order to exchange their driving licences. Other expats may be considering learning how to drive for the first time. Our guide walks you through the process, from obtaining your first driving licence and registering with a driving school (Fahrschule), to completing your first aid course and taking your driving test.

The German autobahn

Perhaps the first thought people have when they think about driving in Germany, the German autobahn has achieved almost mythical status worldwide as the motorway with no speed limit. We walk you through the reality on the roads, including rules for driving on the autobahn, maps and figures. 

German road signs

There are over 1.000 road signs in the German traffic code! If you're planning on hitting the roads in Germany, you should make sure you are familiar with the different German road signs and their meanings.

Buying a car in Germany

Want your own set of wheels? Germany has a strong car culture and a thriving market of new and used cars for sale. Our guide walks you through the process of buying a car in Germany.

Car leasing

If you want to have your own car but can't afford (or don't want to) buy one outright, a car lease is a flexible arrangement that lets you drive a (brand new or used) car for a set period of time for a fixed monthly fee. Find out more about car leasing in Germany

Registering your car in Germany

All cars in Germany need to be registered with the local vehicle registration office. This involves submitting some paperwork in order to receive German licence plates for your car. Find out what the requirements are and how the registration process works.

Vehicle tax, car insurance and technical inspections

Apart from the joy of driving on Germany’s famous Autobahnen, there are a few administrative issues car-owners in Germany need to take care of. If you have bought a new (or used) car, or have imported your own, you will need to complete these steps before being able to register your vehicle. This includes:

Importing and exporting cars in Germany

Found your dream car abroad? Or just can’t bear to leave your old one behind? Our guide to importing and exporting cars walks you through the administration, taxes and fees involved with bringing foreign cars in or out of Germany.

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