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Driving in Germany

Driving in Germany

Germany is known for its highways. On many routes, there is no speed limit. The highway network stretches all over Germany and you can quickly get from one city to the next (if there are no traffic jams). Whether you have your own car, rent a car, or use car-sharing, having a valid driver’s license as an expat in Germany is definitely a big advantage.

Driving in Germany with a foreign license

If you come from an EU or EEA country (European economic area) country, your driver’s license is valid until the expiry of its term of validity.

If you come from a third country, your foreign driver’s license is valid for 6 months. The start of the period is the registration of a residence in Germany. A translation must be included if the license is not in English.

To continue driving in Germany after 6 months, the foreign driver’s license must be exchanged for a German one. The process depends on the country in which the license was issued. In some cases, there is no need for a theoretical or practical exam. For example, when the minimum EU standards for driving tests are given.

If you are from a country where an exam is required, you need to pass the driving theory and practical test. The good thing is, you don’t have to take theory and driving lessons. You can decide on your own if and when you want to absolve the test.

Steps to get a German driver’s license

1. Choose the driver’s license class

In Germany, we have different driver’s license classes depending on what kind of license you want to achieve. Here is a rough overview of the different classes:

  • A / A1 / A2 / AM / Mofa / B197: Motorcycle driver’s license
  • B / B96 / BE / B197: passenger car driver’s license
  • C / C1 / C1E / CE: Truck driver’s license

2. Prerequisite for the driving test in Germany

When registering for a driver’s license you have to fulfill some requirements.

  • ID or passport
  • Biometrical passport photo
  • Eye examination
  • First-aid course

3. Choose the right driving school in Germany

In Germany, there exists a variety of driving schools. It might be difficult to choose one if you don’t have any references. Project Expat can help you to find the right driving school for you. Check out our driving school service partners here.

Once you have chosen a driving school, you will receive a training plan and training materials. You may need to attend a certain number of theory lessons before you can take the exam.

The practical training consists of several driving lessons with a driving instructor. Night and highway driving are also included. Depending on your driving behavior and experience, you may have more or fewer driving hours.

4. Getting your driver’s license

The practical driving test takes place with your driving instructor and an examiner. If you pass the test, the examiner will issue you with a temporary driver’s license. Then you can get your permanent license at the traffic authority.

Tips for driving in Germany

Manual cars

When renting a car, most of the time you still get manual models. So, remember when booking to choose an automatic one if you feel more comfortable with it.

Autobahn

Germany is famous for its Autobahnen or motorways. There is generally no speed limit on highways. However, restrictions often apply when the roads pass cities. Therefore, always keep your eyes open and observe the speed limits. Furthermore, always drive in the right lane. You can pass other cars by using the left lane.

No drinking and driving

For novice drivers in the probationary period and drivers under 21, the limit of 0.0 per mille (0 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood) applies.

The general blood-alcohol limit for driving is 0.5 per mille (= 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, or 0,05%). Drivers who endanger traffic must expect to be punished from a blood-alcohol level of 0.3 per mille.

Watch out for pedestrians

In German cities, the speed limit is reduced to 50km/h. Often only 30 km/h is allowed to take pedestrians into account. If there is a pedestrian zone you are often not allowed to drive at all or only at walking speed. Here pedestrians have the right of way.

Driving a car in Germany has many advantages. On the one hand, you can explore the country very well by car and can reach even smaller villages and remote sights.
If you live in Germany for a longer period of time, a German driver’s license is indispensable. With a car, you can make your everyday life easier in many ways.

At Project Expat, we are happy to assist you in finding suitable English-speaking driving schools.

Do you want to buy a car and need a car insurance? Check out our service.

We from Project Expat are happy to support you with our network of excellent English-speaking partners until you feel more comfortable in the German language.

Explore our service categories here.

Learning German as an Expat

Often the move to another country is very stressful. You have many things to organize and want to find a nice new home. With the stress of moving, there is often no time to focus on learning German. But studying the local language is vital for a successful integration.

In this blog article we will show you why it is important to learn German and how you can easily get started.

Why is learning German useful?

Studying German for a good work experience

If you are an expat living in Germany, having a good command of English is often sufficient in your professional life. But besides professional discussions, private conversations and small talks among work colleagues are often spoken in German. In order to connect and get to know your colleagues better, it is vital to have a basic knowledge of German.

Some employers support their foreign employees with internal language courses or subsidize courses at German language schools.

Discover extensive professional German language courses here.

Some foreigners do not have a permanent job in Germany yet and are just in the application phase. Here it is even more important to learn German. It is a great advantage if you have a basic knowledge of German for job interviews. This way you can stand out from other applicants and show your interest in the country and the language.

Learning German to get along well in everyday life

Even if German is not necessarily required in a professional context, you can benefit from German skills in everyday life. For example, at the checkout in the supermarket, for bureaucracy matters, parent teacher conferences, and other events. Many Germans have little knowledge of English or feel uncomfortable speaking in another language. If you learn German, you can accomplish many things more easily.

Furthermore, if you want to volunteer or work in a club, learning German is important. You can make new friends and attend in sports activities more easily.

Social aspects

The sooner you start learning German, the easier it will be for you to participate in society and lead a self-determined life in Germany. Besides the German language, values and culture are also important to know. Almost all German language schools teach both – language and values.

How to start learning German?

You can learn German in different ways. If you already have a full-time job, you will probably only have free time to learn in the evenings or on weekends. There are evening and weekend courses, intensive courses and now a wide range of online courses. Have a look at our language partner Goethe Institut.

Furthermore, you have the opportunity to complete various German exams. According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), we distinguish between the following levels:

  • A1 and A2: This level is aimed at language beginners with no or very little previous knowledge.
  • B1 and B2: As an advanced language student, you will expand and deepen your knowledge and will be able to communicate independently in your job and everyday life after graduation.
  • C1 and C2: After completing the highest level, you will have German skills comparable to a native speaker.

Learning German is not easy for many foreigners. This can be due to various reasons. Learning a foreign language alongside a full-time job can be very tiring. You often must take care of your family on the side, leaving little time for learning.

But the effort is worth it. You will quickly notice that with time and practice, you will get better and better and will be able to establish social contacts in a way that would have been difficult without German language skills.

Are you eager to start right away with your German classes? See here our partners for language services.

We from Project Expat are happy to support you with our network of excellent English-speaking partners until you feel more comfortable in the German language.

Explore here our service categories.