Exchanging foreign driving licence
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In some cases you can exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence. Every country has its own possibilities to do so.
Underneath you can read what to do in your situation.
A driving licence from members of the European Union (EU) or members of the European Economic Area (EEA) can be exchanged for a Dutch driving licence. Please check the list of countries.
- You have to live in the Netherlands and must be registered in the city of Leiden.
- Your foreign driving licence has to be valid. In some cases you can exchange an expired driving licence.
- The driving licence has to be valid at the moment of your request to exchange the licence
- In the year the driving licence is issued you must have lived at least 185 days in Aruba or the Dutch Antilles.
Health attestation required
In order to exchange your driving licence from Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius or Saba you will have to buy a health attestation at the Central Bureau for driving proficiency (CBR) and fill it in. Based on this attestation the CBR will decide whether you are capable of driving a car.
Do you have a driving licence from one of the countries listed beneath? In that case you can only exchange this licence for a Dutch driving licence with the categories mentioned.
- Andorra – category B (passenger vehicle)
- Canada, province Alberta and Québec – category B (class 5, véhicule de promenade)
- Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) – category B (passenger vehicle)
- Israel – category B (passenger vehicle)
- Japan – category A and B (IB, non professional-carrying drivers private car and motorcycle
- Jersey (States of) – all categories
- Man (island of) – all categories
- Monaco – all categories
- Singapore – Category A (class 2 motorcycle with more than 400 cc), Category B (class 3, passenger vehicle)
- South Korea – category B (1st class and 2nd class ordinary)
- You have to live and be registered in the Netherlands
- Your foreign driving licence has to be valid
- In the year the driving licence was issued, you must have lived in the country for at least 185 days
- A health attestation is required in order to be able to exchange your driving licence
Driving licences from other countries than those mentioned:
When your country is not mentioned, means that you cannot exchange your driver’s licence. In that case you must take a standard theory and practical driving test at the CBR. Check for more information CBR tel.: (0900) 0210.
When you are a NATO soldier or when you fall under the 30% tax measure (expats), you can exchange your driving licence for a Dutch driving licence. Even in case your driving license was submitted in a country that was not mentioned on the RDW site. This rule also applies to your partner and family members. You will not have to prove what your relation is, but they do have to be registered at the same address as you are.
You have to be registered in Leiden to be able to exchange your foreign driver’s licence.
You will have to submit the following documents:
- the driving licence you want to exchange
- a valid passport or identity card
- a resembling passport photo that complies with the special requirements
- a valid residence permit. This is not necessary when you are a citizen of a EU-country, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland or Swiss
- in case you are an expat and fall under the 30% tax measure: a copy of a letter from the Tax authorities (Belastingdienst) has to be submitted
- a translation of your driving licence, in case your driving licence has been written in characters that are not used in the Netherlands (f.e. Japanese or Greek). The translation has to be made by a sworn translator, the embassy or the consulate. When your driving licence has been translated in a foreign country, you will have to legalise the translation. When you possess a Russian, credit card sized driving licence you do not need a translation.
- a health attestation. For a driving licence from a EU- or EER-country this is not always necessary. It is obligatory for licences from other countries. You can buy an attestation online via het CBR.
Do not drive until you have received your new driving licence
When you apply for a new driving licence you will have to submit your foreign driving licence. You are not allowed to drive a vehicle until you have received your new driving licence.
What happens with your foreign driving licence?
When you exchange your driving licence you will have to submit your foreign driving licence. You will not get it back. The council will send your foreign driving licence to the country where it was submitted.
If everything has been found in good order, you will receive a collection message within 10 days from the RDW. It could take longer during holiday periods or due to unforeseen circumstances. You will have to collect your driving licence in person at the counter in the Stadskantoor. This has to take place within 3 months. After that the driving licence is officially invalid and will be destroyed.
Do not drive until you have received your new driving licence
- When you apply for a new driving licence you will have to submit your foreign driving licence. You are not allowed to drive a vehicle until you have received your new driving licence.
In some cases an expired driving licence cannot be exchanged for a Dutch driving licence, depending on which country submitted the driving licence.
- A driving licence from an EU- or EER-country can be exchanged when it has expired, but you will need a declaration from the authority which submitted the driving licence. The declaration has to state that there is no objection to submitting you a Dutch driving licence. This declaration should be written in Dutch, English, French or German. If the declaration has been written in another language, you will need to have a translation from a sworn interpreter/translator. When you use a foreign translator, then the translation will have to be legalized.
A driving licence from another country cannot be exchanged as it has expired. In that case you have two possibilities:
- You renew the driving licence in the country where it was submitted. After that you can exchange it for a Dutch driving licence.
- You take a driving test in the Netherlands (theory and practical)
When you are in possession of a driving licence from the EU, Swiss, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you can choose between exchanging or renewing the licence.
Exchanging the licence means:
- You will receive a Dutch driving licence based on your foreign driving licence. The Dutch driving licence will be valid as long as your foreign driving licence. A maximum is applied here. A period of 10 years is applied to the categories AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE. A period of 5 years is applied to the categories C1, C, C1E, CE, D1, D, D1E and DE. This is also the case when the foreign driving licence is issued for a longer period than 10 years. When exchanging your licence, no health attestation and no medical check-up is required.
Example: you are in possession of a Spanish driving licence, category B which is still 3 years valid. You choose for exchange via exchange. You will receive a Dutch driving licence, category B which is valid for another 3 years.
Renewing the licence means:
- You will receive a Dutch driving licence with a new period of validity. A period of 10 years is applied to the categories AM,A1, A2, A, B and BE. A period of 5 years applies to the categories C1, C, C1E, CE, D1, D, D1E and DE.
In order to renew your licence you need to have a health attestation and you will have to be medically examined.
Example: you are in possession of an Italian driving licence, category B which is still valid for another year. You choose for exchange via renewing. You will receive a Dutch driving licence, category B which is valid for 10 years.
You will always need a medical attestation:
- when your driving licence has a shorter period of validation than the usual term of validity in the issuing country.
- when your driving licence contains notes or codes about your physical well-being, which are not established within the EU (a code from 100 or higher). An exception applies on the notes: lenses, spectacles or automatic. In these cases no medical attestation is required.