There is a maximum period of 5 years for the categories C1, C, D1, D, C1E, CE, D1E and DE. Has the period mentioned expired, or is it shorter than 2 years, at the time of applying in the Netherlands? If so, you may continue to drive with the foreign licence for another 2 years, from the date of your registration in the Netherlands.
Do you have a driving licence issued in another country? You may use it for a maximum of 185 days from the date you took up residence in the Netherlands. At the end of that period, you are required to take a Dutch driving test.
You will find more information at rdw.nl (Dutch Department of Road Transport).
How do I exchange my driving licence?
In order to exchange a foreign driving licence for a Dutch one, you must come to Residents' Plaza (Inwonersplein) in person. You can do that without an appointment, any weekday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. but it may be that you have to wait a long time. So, it's better to make an appointment either online or by phoning 14 040.
What does it cost to exchange my driving licence?
Type of driving licence
|Standard driving licence||39.45 Euros|
|Urgent application||Not possible|
|Application following loss or theft||No extra costs|
|Urgent application following loss or theft||Not possible|
What should I bring with me?
- a colour passport photo bearing a good resemblance and complying with passport photo rules. For the passport photo rules, see rijksoverheid.nl;
- a valid passport or identity card;
- your current, valid foreign driving licence and a translation, if necessary*.
If your driving licence was issued in a country outside the EU, you will also require:
- A Self-declaration for driving licence; this can be requested from the CBR. With the Self-declaration, you can apply to CBR for a Certificate of Fitness. The CBR website is Dutch only. For information in English about the procedure, see hollandexpatcenter.com.
Are you a foreign employee (or his or her partner), and did you obtain your driving licence in a country other than the countries for which a Certificate of Fitness is required? In that case, in addition to a Self-declaration and a Certificate of Fitness, you will need a declaration from the tax authority to show that you benefit from the 30% ruling. Go to belastingdienst.nl. If you are unable to obtain such a declaration, you will be required to re-take your driving test.
*If you wish to exchange a driving licence that is written in another script (such as Chinese, Russian or Greek), you will require a Dutch or English translation of that licence. The translation should be done by a sworn translator, the embassy or the consulate.
What are the preconditions for exchanging a foreign driving licence?
You may exchange your foreign driving licence if:
- you are registered in the Key Registration of Persons (BRP);
- you have a valid residence permit;
- your current driving licence was issued in the EU, a country in the EFTA, or in one of the countries listed at rdw.nl.
- your current driving licence is still valid. If your current driving licence is European, and expired, enclose a statement from the issuing authority, declaring that there is no objection to the issue of a Dutch driving licence.
Can any foreign driving licence be exchanged?
Yes. In principle, all driving licences can be exchanged.
Did you obtain your driving licence in one of the EU/EFTA-countries, or in a country which has a agreement with the Netherlands (see rdw.nl)? In that case, you will need a Self-declaration and a Certificate of Fitness.
Did you obtain your driving license in any other country, then you will also need a declaration from the tax authority to show that you benefit from the 30% ruling. Go to belastingdienst.nl. If you are unable to obtain such a declaration, you will be required to re-take your driving test.
Is it impossible to exchange your driving licence? You can take a Dutch driving test, theory and practical, through the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR). If you pass the test, you will be issued with a Dutch driving licence.
How long will it take to issue my Dutch driving licence?
That varies, depending on the situation. If you are exchanging a driving licence from an EU or EFTA country, your Dutch driving licence will generally be issued within 2 to 4 weeks. If you receive a letter from the RDW telling you that they need more information, the process will take longer. The procedure is as follows:
- We send your foreign driving licence to the Department of Road Transport (RDW). They in turn send your driving licence to the issuing authority.
- The RDW checks your details and on approval, issues a Dutch driving licence which they send to the Municipal Council, and informs you of this by post. We will inform you as soon as your new driving licence has arrived, so you can come and collect it.
- You must always come to the Municipal Council in person, to collect your new driving licence. There is no need to make an appointment. You can just pop in any time during opening hours.
Important: during the time in which your application is pending, you have no driving licence. This means you are not permitted to drive in that period. This also applies even if you renew your licence on time (before the expiry date).
My foreign driving licence is missing or has been stolen. What should I do?
If your foreign driving licence is missing, or has been stolen, you must first report this to the police.
If your driving licence was issued in an EU or EFTA country, you will then need a statement from the issuing authority, declaring that you did, in fact, possess a driving licence.
Was your driving licence issued in a country outside the EU or EFTA? You will have to apply for a new driving licence in that country first.
Of course, you must also meet the conditions above.