Now that you’re here in Germany, you probably can’t wait to take on the challenge of the Autobahn, to tour the beautiful countryside or to grind to a halt in a Stau. But to do any of these, you first need to have a valid driver’s license. If you’re an EU national, you don’t have to worry about this, as your home country license is fully recognized in Germany. You can check for example on sites like here http://fuehrerscheinentzug-fahrverbot-umgehen.com/. For the rest of the world, the matter is much more complicated.
Don’t imagine that you can simply use one of those international driver’s licenses while living here they’re invalid in the country where you’re a legal resident. Your home license remains valid for exactly six months from the official date of your first residence permit. But this is only after it has been officially translated into German.
Important exception #1: if your total stay is longer than six months, but less than one year, your home license can remain legal. You must apply for an extension at the local driver’s license office.
Important exception #2: if your license is from a country with a bilateral agreement, the three-year deadline for transcribing your license no longer applies. You can get your driver’s license or other motor vehicle documents translated at one of Germany’s automobile clubs, at certain consulates, or by government-certified translators.