Exchanging a foreign driving licence

Do you have a foreign driving licence and do you live in the Netherlands? In the Netherlands you will be allowed a limited period for driving with a foreign driving licence. After that, you must exchange the driving licence through your municipality. If it’s possible will depend on the country that issued the driving licence. You can always exchange a valid EU/EFTA driving licence.

Terms

  • You must be registered in the Basic Registration of Persons (BRP).
  • You must have a valid identity or residence document.
  • Don’t have EU/EFTA nationality? Then you need to have a temporary or permanent residence permit. Or you are residing in the Netherlands on the basis of Association Decision 1/80 of the EEC/Turkey Association Council. Exchanging is not possible if you are waiting for a (new) residence permit.
  • You have a valid driving licence issued in the EU/EFTA or from a country that we have an agreement with. An EU/EFTA driving licence is allowed to be expired.

  • A driving licence from the EU or EFTA can be exchanged. Is your driving licence not from an EU/EFTA country? Then check the list of countries. Does the 30% tax ruling apply to you? Then you can exchange your driving licence (from any country).

    Driving licences from countries outside the EU/EFTA that can be exchanged

    You will get the licence category listed below. Do you have a driving licence from a country that is not on the list, for example a driving licence from America? Then exchange is not possible.

    Country Category
    Andorra Category B (passenger car)
    Canadian province of Alberta Category B (class 5, passenger car)
    Canadian province of Québec Category B (class 5, passenger car)
    Gibraltar All categories
    Great Britain All categories
    Guernsey All categories
    Israel Category B (passenger car)
    Japan Categories A and B (1B, passenger cars and motorcycles with cylinder capacities of more than 400 cm3)
    Jersey All categories
    Isle of Man All categories
    Monaco All categories
    North Ireland All categories
    Singapore Category A (class 2, motorcycles with cylinder capacities of more than 400 cc), category B (class 3, passenger car) 
    Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) Category B (passenger car)
    Former Netherlands Antilles
    (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten)
    All categories
    South Korea Category B (1st and 2nd class ordinary licence)

    Previously held a Dutch driving licence?

    Do you have a driving licence from a country that has no agreement with the Netherlands? But have you had a Dutch driving licence in the past that was valid after June 30, 1985? If so, it is possible to exchange your driving licence. You will then get the same categories you had on your Dutch driving licence.

    1. Please, bring the following
      • A colour passport photo. View the photo matrix for requirements.
      • Your foreign driving licence. Do you have a driving licence with characters not used in the Netherlands, such as Japanese or Greek? Then you must have the licence translated by a certified translator, the embassy or consulate.
      • Any expired Dutch driving licence if you have one.
      • Proof of approval (‘Beschikking Bewijsregel’) from the Dutch tax authorities if you are in the Netherlands for work. See If you are in the Netherlands for work.
      • A health certificate from the Dutch driving test organisation CBR if you have a driving licence from outside the EU/EFTA. You may need this certificate for EU/EFTA driving licence, too. Please check the CBR website.
    2. Complete the application form and pay the fee. These vary by municipality.
    3. Your municipality will forward the application with all documents to us. Only the municipality can submit the application.
    4. Is everything correct? If so, you will receive a letter within 15 working days. This states that you can collect your Dutch driving licence from the municipality after 5 working days. If we need more information, we will send you a letter. This explains what information we need from you. The exchange will then take longer.
    5. Your driving licence will not be returned to you. We always send foreign driving licences back to the country where the licence was issued. This is required by law.

    Additional documents required in the case of expired driving licences from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland

    Do you have an expired driving licence from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland? Then bring an original statement from the issuing authority stating that it has no objection to the issuance of a Dutch driving licence.

  • Is it not possible to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch licence? Then you must take a theory and practical exam at the CBR in order to obtain a Dutch driving licence.
     
  • Are you in the Netherlands for work (highly skilled migrant)? If so, the 30% tax ruling may apply to you. You can exchange your foreign driving licence (from any country) for a Dutch driving licence. This is only possible if the foreign driving licence is still valid. You get all the categories that your foreign driving licence has.

    In that case, to apply for a Dutch driving licence, you will need a valid Proof of approval (‘Beschikking Bewijsregel’) from the Dutch tax authorities. You can apply for this together with your employer.

     
  • You can decide to continue driving during the application. You may drive a vehicle if you have a valid driving licence to do so. If you are stopped by the police as a driver, you must be able to show your driving licence. The police may fine you if you cannot do so. The chances of the police stopping you are small if you follow traffic rules. It may occur (for example, during a traffic stop)? Then the police can check with us to see if an exchange request was made and if you turned in a valid driving licence. So, the chance of a fine is small, but still exists. It is up to you whether or not to take this risk.

    The Public Prosecutor’s Penalty Database (Boetebase) shows the fine for failing to show a driving licence.

    Passport or identity card

    If you do go driving, make sure you can show a document that proves who you are (identify yourself). These documents include your passport or identity card.

    Insurance

    Do you have a valid driving licence and insurance? Then you are insured as usual. Even if you cannot show the driving licence at that time. For more information, contact your insurer.

    Other countries

    We do not recommend driving in other countries during the application. They cannot always retrieve the data. And foreign rules and consequences may be different.

     
  • Do you no longer want to use a category on your driving licence ? You can give up this category. To do this, you fill out a so-called waiver form.

    Recover category

    You have not permanently lost your category. When you go to renew your licence, you can get the licence category back. You must then complete a health statement.

    Waiver foreign driving licence (pdf, 175kb)

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