Driving with a foreign driving licence

Are you going to live in the Netherlands and do you have a foreign driving licence? You can still use this driving licence for a while. Exactly how long depends on the country where you obtained your driving licence.
  • Do you have a driving licence that was issued in one of the countries of the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and do you live in the Netherlands?

    In that case, you can drive with it in the Netherlands for 15 years (from the date of issue of the foreign driving licence).
    This applies to the following categories:

    • AM
    • A1
    • A2
    • A
    • B
    • BE

    The driving licence must still be valid.

    You are allowed to drive in the Netherlands for a maximum of 5 years from the date of issue of the driving licence with the following categories:

    • C1
    • C
    • D1
    • D
    • C1E
    • CE
    • D1E
    • DE

    The driving licence must still be valid.

    Has your driving licence been issued more than 15 years ago, but the driving licence has not yet expired? Then you can drive with it for 2 years after the date on which you came to live in the Netherlands. 

    Example

    You have been living in the Netherlands since 15 June 2017 and you have an EU driving licence that was issued on 1January 2012.
    You are allowed to drive vehicles for the categories AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE until 1 January 2027 (if the categories on the driving licence are still valid).

    For the categories C1, C, D1, D, C1E, CE, D1E and DE you were allowed to drive until 1 January 2017. Because you are living in the Netherlands after that date, you can use your driving licence for another 2 years, until 15 June 2019 (if the categories on the driving licence are still valid).

    After the end of the period

    After this period you must have a Dutch driving licence. That means that you must exchange the foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence.

  • Do you have a driving licence that was issued in one of the countries of the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) while you were already living in the Netherlands? In that case, you are not allowed to drive in the Netherlands with the foreign driving licence. You must exchange this driving licence by applying to the municipality where you are registered. The municipality will forward your application to us.

    For more information, see Exchanging foreign driving licence.

  • Do you have a valid driving licence issued in a country not being an EU-EFTA country? Then you can use it up to 185 days after you moved to live in the Netherlands. After that, you are only allowed to drive in the Netherlands with a Dutch driving licence.

    In some cases, you can exchange the foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence. For more information, see Exchanging foreign driving licence.

    In all other cases, you must retake the theory and practical test at CBR.

  • You are not going to live in the Netherlands, but are you here as a tourist? You are allowed to drive in the Netherlands with your foreign driving licence.

    Do you have a driving licence issued by a country not being an EU/EFTA country? Then the categories on your driving licence must be divided into the A, B, C, D, E categories.

    Do the categories on your driving licence have different names? Then it is wise to have an international driving licence besides your foreign driving licence. You apply for this international driving licence in the country where your driving licence was issued.