As early as 2006, the EU passed a directive on driving licenses – and now it has concrete effects for certain car and motorcyclists in Germany. In order to establish uniform and forgery-proof driving licenses across Europe, a total of 15 million paper driving licenses and 28 million credit card driving licenses have to be exchanged in Germany alone.
In addition, to prevent misuse, all driver’s licenses are to be recorded in a database in the future. On July 19, a deadline for the exchange expired. It applies to people born between 1953 and 1958 with a paper driver’s license, popularly known as a “rag”.
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These documents were issued prior to January 1, 1999 and are now invalid. A driver’s license check can have consequences.
Anyone who is checked with an expired driver’s license can be obliged to pay a fine of ten euros. This is money that motorists and motorcyclists would rather invest in fuel for their tanks than in the state coffers these days. However, driving with an expired license is not a criminal offence, at least not for private drivers. The situation is different for truck and bus driver’s licenses.
The ADAC warns that problems can arise abroad due to expired driving licenses.
It is advisable to take care of the replacement of the driving license as soon as possible. According to the ADAC, it takes an average of four to five weeks until you hold the new, valid certificate in your hands.
The exchange takes place at the respective driver’s license office, depending on where you live, the Citizens’ Registration Office may also be responsible. A new examination and a health examination will not take place.
The process differs from place to place. In some places, the application can be submitted online, in other places it can only be done on site. In some cases, the current driver’s license must be handed in at the same time.
Upon request, however, a confirmation of the exchange should be handed over, which can be shown in a police check as a substitute for the ID card.
At least that’s the case domestically. The replacement document may not be recognized abroad.
In Berlin, the exchange takes place as follows: You must appear in person at one of the Citizens’ Registration Offices. As is usually the case when dealing with authorities, patience is required because due to the high workload, appointments have to be made several weeks or even months in advance. Or you spontaneously look for an appointment – preferably in the morning. This can be done on the relevant Citizens’ Registration Office page below under “Search and book an appointment anywhere in Berlin”.
“In exceptional cases” appointment requests can also be sent to the driver’s license authority, by email or (030) 90269-2400. The new driver’s license will be sent home by post in Berlin.
The current driver’s license, identity card or passport and a biometric passport photo must be presented.
There are costs of around 25 euros for the exchange of the driver’s license. In Berlin, for example, it costs 25.30 euros and an additional 5.10 euros for sending the new driving license home.
The whole process takes place in several stages and will last until January 19, 2033.
If the age of the driver also plays a role in the case of old driving licenses issued before January 1, 1999, it is only a question of the specific date for documents that were issued afterwards. Certificates issued between 1999 and 2001 must be exchanged by January 19, 2026. The other data:
The deadlines are generous and nobody has to wait until the last minute.
If you want, you can already exchange your document, regardless of the year of birth and the date of issue.