Driving license exchange 2024 in the EU: reasons, deadlines, procedure

All driving licenses issued before January 19, 2013 must be gradually exchanged for the new EU driving license by 2033. In this article, we shed light on the reasons for this exchange, the relevant deadlines and answers to the most common questions on this topic.

What are the reasons behind this far-reaching exchange campaign for the driving license exchange 2024?

The Third EU Driving License Directive, also known as Directive 2006/126/EC, requires member states to exchange all driving licenses issued before January 19, 2013 by January 19, 2033. On the one hand, the aim is to make driving licenses more forgery-proof and thus protect against fraud. On the other hand, the aim is to ensure the uniformity of driving licenses within the EU, which facilitates the movement and identification of drivers in different countries.

How does the conversion process work?

This process will not be implemented all at once, but over several years and staggered according to various criteria. This is to avoid overloading the Federal Printing Office and the driving license authorities and to ensure that the exchange process runs smoothly for everyone involved. The criteria for the 2024 driving license exchange, for example, are based either on the year of birth of the license holder or on the year the license was issued. The first phase of the exchange process concerns paper driving licenses issued up to December 31, 1998. These driving licenses are less forgery-proof and are not yet recorded in the Central Driving License Register (ZFER). The aim of this approach is to ensure largely comprehensive data collection in the ZFER by January 19, 2025.

Which deadline applies to whom?

Paper driving licenses with an issue date up to December 31, 1998

As the date of issue on the old paper driving licenses is often no longer recognizable, the exchange depends on the year of birth of the driving license holder:

before 1953: exchange until January 19, 2033

1953 to 1958: exchange until January 19, 2022

1959 to 1964: exchange until January 19, 2023

1965 to 1970: Exchange until January 19, 2024

1971 or later: exchange by January 19, 2025

Card driving licenses issued after January 1, 1999

In a second stage, which regulates the exchange of driving licenses issued between January 1, 1999 and January 18, 2013, the year of issue applies:

1999 to 2001: exchange until January 19, 2026

2002 to 2004: exchange until January 19, 2027

2005 to 2007: Exchange until January 19, 2028

2008: Exchange until January 19, 2029

2009: Exchange until January 19, 2030

2010: Exchange until January 19, 2031

2011: Exchange until January 19, 2032

2012 until January 18, 2013: Exchange until January 19, 2033

Important exception for driving license holders born before 1953

Driving license holders born before 1953 are initially exempt from early exchange. The deadline for them to exchange their driving license ends on January 19, 2033. The aim of this regulation is to prevent these license holders from having to exchange their license prematurely without being sure whether they still want to use their driving license after January 19, 2033 and therefore need a valid driving license.

Where can the driver’s license be exchanged and what documents are required?

In principle, your driving license can be exchanged at the driving license authority responsible for you. In some cases, this is also possible at citizens’ offices. You will need to bring

  • Proof of identity (valid identity card or passport or other identification document)
  • 1 photo (current biometric photo)
  • The original of the current driver’s license
  • If the old paper driver’s license was not issued by the authority of the current place of residence, a so-called index card copy of the original issuing authority is required. This can be requested by post, telephone or online and will be sent to the current driving license authority.

Are fees charged for the driving license exchange 2024?

Yes, in accordance with Section 1 of the Fee Regulations for Measures in Road Traffic (GebOSt), a fee of 24.30 euros is charged in accordance with Section 202.5 of the GebOSt and a fee of 1.00 euro in accordance with Section 126.2 of the GebOSt. In addition, there may be additional costs of 5.10 euros for the direct dispatch of the new card driving license by the Bundesdruckerei.

Is the exchange also possible digitally?

Only the driving license authority responsible for you can provide information on this.

Is a new driving test necessary?

The exchange of the driving license is a purely administrative measure that has no effect on the validity of the driving license. No additional medical examinations or other tests, such as a new driving test, are associated with it.

How long is the new EU driving license valid for?

Newly issued driving licenses are valid for 15 years regardless of the driving license. After that, a renewal is required, in particular to update the name and photograph. In contrast to the previous regulation, the validity expires after 15 years, similar to identity cards or passports. This already affects driving licenses issued from 19 January 2013. The time limit is intended to make forgery more difficult by regularly updating passport photos and personal data.

Are German nationals abroad obliged to exchange their driving license?

Yes, if German nationals abroad wish to use a vehicle in Germany, they must exchange their driving license. Please note that an expired driving license is not valid in Germany.

What are the consequences if the exchange is not carried out?

Failure to do so will result in the person concerned committing an administrative offense and being issued with a warning and a fine of ten euros. In exceptional cases, the federal states reserve the right to refrain from imposing a fine.


Janine Wolff
Get insights from Janine Wolff, a creative business economist and digital enthusiast. Combining economic expertise with a passion for logistics, Janine delivers top-notch content on a regular basis for Saloodo!.

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