This can be obtained either by exchanging the foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence or by taking a new driving exam.

Driving licence issued in EU/EFTA

Do you have a driving licence that was issued in one of the countries of the European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and are you registered in the Netherlands? If so, you can continue to drive on this licence in the Netherlands for 15 years (from the date of issue of the foreign driving licence). This applies to the categories AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE. The driving licence must be valid for this to apply. For the categories C1, C, D1, D, C1E, CE, D1E and DE, the maximum period is 5 years as of the issue date of the driving licence.

Has this period elapsed, or is the period that you can still drive here shorter than 2 years at the moment you register in the Netherlands? If so, you can drive in the Netherlands with the foreign driving licence for another 2 years as of the date you register.

Example

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

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

Driving licence issued in EU/EFTA after registering in the Netherlands

If you have a driving licence that was issued in one of the countries of the European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) while you were already registered in a municipality in the Netherlands (in the Basic Register of Persons), you are not permitted to drive in the Netherlands with the foreign driving licence. You need to exchange this driving licence. You can submit an application to the municipality where you are registered. The municipality will forward the application to the RDW.

Driving licence issued outside the EU/EFTA

If you have a valid driving licence that was issued in a country that is not an EU/EFTA member state, you can continue to use it for 185 days after registering in the Netherlands (in the Basic Register of Persons). After this period, you may only drive in the Netherlands with a Dutch driving licence. In some cases you can exchange the foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence. In all other cases you must do new theory and practical exams with the CBR (Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing).

Tourist in the Netherlands

Are you not planning to reside in the Netherlands, and you are here as a tourist? If so, you can drive with your foreign driving licence in the Netherlands. Do you have a driving licence issued by a country that is not an EU/EFTA member state? If so, the categories on your driving licence must correspond to the Vienna Convention (this concerns categories A, B, C, D, E). If your driving licence does not meet this requirement, it is recommended to have an international driving licence in addition to your foreign driving licence.

Which states are member of the EU and the EFTA?