Is your foreign driving license valid in the Netherlands?

As in any country, you need a valid driving license (rijbewijs) to legally drive a vehicle in the Netherlands.

You can temporarily drive using a foreign licence; either for 185 days or for 15 years if your licence is from within the EU/EFTA. To continue driving after this time, you should either exchange your licence (if possible) or sit the Dutch driving exam.

Procedure for exchanging a foreign license for a Dutch licence

The process to exchange a foreign licence for a Dutch licence is simple, and will be done by the municipality where you are registered.

Please note that international driving licenses are just legalised translations of a national license. They are not accepted for conversion purpose into a Dutch driving license.  

Step 1

Depending on your situation, the following documents are required:

 

EEA-countries   

Treaty countries   

30%-tax facility   

The original valid driving license 

X

X

X

Passport

X

X

Recent passport photograph

X

X

X

Certificate of Fitness (Only in some cases for EEA-applicants)

(X)

X

X

Residence Permit

  

X

X

Proof of 30%-tax-facility 

  

  

X

Translation if driving license is composed in script unusual to the Netherlands* 

X

X

X

*If a driving license was composed in script unusual to the Netherlands (for example Japanese or Greek), a translation of the concerning driving license is needed, issued by a certified translator, the embassy or consulate.   

Certificate of Fitness

All applicants, except from EEA-countries, have to prove they are physically and mentally healthy to drive. In other words, you need a so-called Certificate of Fitness (Verklaring van Geschiktheid, VvG). This can be obtained at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen, CBR). This Certificate of Fitness can be obtained by completing an online form, available here.

However, even for the EEA-driving licenses such a proof might be required; that is, if the validity period of your driving licence is shorter than the common validity period in the issuing country, and if your driving licence has annotations that are not recognized within the EU (except for lenses, glasses or an automatic vehicle).   

In addition to the Certificate of Fitness, a medical examination is required in the case, for instance, of advanced age (+75) or medical restrictions. It is advisable then to, first, consult either CBR or your municipality in order to arrange concerning documents.  Note that under these circumstances, the CBR might need more than a month issuing the Certificate of Fitness, which requires to start timely. 

Step 2

Make an appointment with your municipality. At the office you will hand in the necessary documents, fill in and sign the form. The municipality will forward your application (and all documents provided) to RDW.   

The original driving license must be handed in. It will be returned to the embassy or country of origin. As of that moment you are not allowed to drive until you receive the Dutch driving license.   

Step 3

If and when RDW approves the application, you will be notified within 10 days when you can pick up your new driving license. The entire procedure may take 1 to 2 weeks, in which you are not allowed to drive.

A Dutch driving license is valid 10 years and can be used as a valid form of ID within the Netherlands. 

Dutch Driving Exam

If you cannot exchange your foreign license, you have to follow the standard procedure of attaining a driving licence. This includes a theory test and a practical driving test, both of which can be done in English.

Lessons with an official driving school should be taken. Instructors help you to decide when to go for a theory exam and subsequently for a practical driving exam, both with the CBR. The official application for the practical test is always done by the school.   

After passing the practical exam, you apply for the official driving licence (the document) at your municipality. Only after having collected your license you are allowed to drive.

Expired Driving Licence

In the case your foreign driving licence has (recently) expired, please turn to your municipality for further information about possibilities of exchange.  

Find more information about cars in the Netherlands