Dutch drivers license
Dutch drivers license
New expats can continue to use their foreign driving license for a certain period after they arrive in the Netherlands. The length of license validity can vary greatly – from six months up to 15 years – depending on the country of issue.
Expats & Driving licenses
If you are planning to stay long-term in the Netherlands, it is often worth exchanging your foreign driving license for a Dutch rijbewijs.
For citizens of most European countries, you can normally continue to use your license from your home country until it expires.
For most non-European expats who plan to stay for longer than six months, you will need to exchange your license within that first six month period. See below for more specific details.
Using a foreign driving license in the Netherlands
There are different lengths of validity in the Netherlands for driving licenses issued to citizens of the EU/EEA or for citizens from outside Europe.
If you have a EU/EEA driving license
If you are an EU/EEA citizen and your license was issued before January 19, 2013, then you can drive on that license for 10 years after it was issued.
If your license is already over nine years old, you may continue to drive with it for another two years, from the date of your registration with your municipality, as long as it is valid.
For EU/EEA licenses issued after January 19, 2013, holders can drive with them for up to 15 years, as long as the license is valid.
Once the validity of the original license ends, the holder will need to apply for a Dutch driving license.
If you have a non-EU/EAA driving license
For citizens of all countries outside the EU/EEA (including the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba), licenses are valid for six months from the date you register at your local municipality. After that, you must get a Dutch driving license.
If you apply for a Dutch driving license after the six month period then you will need to take the Dutch driving exams.
Conditions for exchanging a foreign driving license in the Netherlands
In order to exchange a foreign driving license for a Dutch driving license, applicants will need to meet various conditions:
You are a registered resident of the Netherlands with a valid residence permit (if applicable).
You are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland; or you are from a country with a special drivers license agreement (see below); or you benefit from the 30% ruling (see below).
Your non-EU/EEA driving license is valid at the time of the application.
If your EU/EEA license is expired, it may be exchanged as long as you have a declaration from the agency in the country where the driving license was issued in which they state they have no objection with your being issued a Dutch driving license.
You obtained your current driving license while being a resident of that country for at least half a year (185 days). Evidence for this can be copies from your passport (including blank pages), airplane tickets, or salary or tax documents.
Countries with special license exchange agreements
Countries that have special agreements with the Netherlands to exchange licenses are listed below.
Note that licenses can only be exchanged if they are valid for the stated categories:
Taiwan, Israel: category B, passenger vehicle
Japan: category IB, passenger vehicle and motorcycle in excess of 400 cm3
Singapore: Class 2, motorcycle in excess of 400 cm3; and Class 3, passenger vehicle
South Korea: second class ordinary license
Canada, province of Quebec: Class 5
Andorra, Aruba, Jersey, Isle of Man, Monaco, Netherlands Antilles: all categories
If you have previously had a Dutch driving license (valid after June 30, 1985) then you only need to prove the conditions for the categories you did not have on your previous driving license.
If you do not meet any of these conditions above, you cannot exchange your license for a Dutch one. You will, therefore, need to take a theory and practical test (see below). If you are unsure whether you meet the conditions, check with your municipality.
Dutch driving organisations
There are two organisations in the Netherlands that are responsible for issuing driving licenses and conducting driving tests:
RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer) – Road Transportation Authority
The RDW government agency issues driving licenses, supervises registration such as license plates and monitors the technical condition of motor vehicles.
CBR (Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheid) – Central Office of Driving Certification
The CBR is responsible for conducting driving exams in the Netherlands for all motor vehicles including cars, scooters, motorbikes and trucks.
How to exchange a foreign driving license
To exchange your foreign driving license for a Dutch driving license, you will need to apply at the municipality where you are registered. They will forward your exchange application to the RDW.
The appraisal process takes approximately two weeks and applicants are not permitted to drive while their application is being processed. For the application, you will need valid identity documents such as a passport, your foreign driving license, your BSN and a photo.
Certificate of fitness (VvG)
You may also be asked for a certificate of fitness or VvG (verklaring van geschiktheid) to prove you are physically and psychologically fit to drive a vehicle. You can get the VvG form your municipality, at Mijn CBR (log in with your DigiD) or from certain expat centers.
A VvG is needed if:
You have an EU/EEA or Swiss driving license with categories C, CE, C1, D and so on.
You benefit from the 30% tax ruling.
You have a driving license from the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba.
Your driving license is from one of the countries with a special agreement.
Your EU/EEA license is valid for a shorter period than is usual in the country of issue or has restrictive annotations which are not designated within EU codes.
You are 75 years or older.
After you have submitted your form to the CBR, they will notify you when your VvG has been registered and let you know if you need to have an additional health check. After this, you can apply to exchange your driving license. Dutch drivers license For Sale
If the application is successful, you will receive your new Dutch driving license a couple weeks later (maximum three weeks). Please note that this procedure is far more complex for heavy duty and commercial licenses.
30% ruling and the Dutch driving license
You can also exchange your driving license for a Dutch one if you are eligible for the 30% ruling, regardless your country of origin. In this case, you should follow the above procedure, but also submit your 30% ruling statement issued by the Belastingdienst (Dutch tax office) to your municipality.
Driving tests in the Netherlands
Internationals who are unable to exchange their foreign driving license for a Dutch one will have to take a driving test at the CBR, with both theoretical and practical sections.
Also, if you are learning to drive a car for the first time then you can both take driving lessons and do the exams in the Netherlands.
The process for learning to drive and applying for a license is as follows:
First, check with your municipality if you are eligible for a driving license.
Select a driving school for practical and (optional) theory lessons.
Request a theory exam with the CBR (available in English).
Do the theory exam (auto theorie).
Complete a health statement (eigen verklaring).
Request a practical exam with the CBR (via your driving school).
Do the practical exam (auto praktijk).
Provide your certificate to your municipality to collect your driver’s license.
Driving theory exam
Driving theory tests are administrated in Dutch and English (which is slightly more expensive) at 20 driving theory examination centres all over the Netherlands. The test takes 45 minutes and questions are asked concerning hazard recognition (25 questions), traffic rules (30 questions) and understanding of traffic (10 questions). You need to be at least 16 years of age to take this test and you will need to pass it in order to take a practical test.
You can take a course in the theory at a driving school, although this is not mandatory. Or you can study the theory yourself with a theory book, available from (online) bookstores, your driving school and publishers of traffic resources. It is also possible to take a course online and there are several websites that offer courses. Dutch drivers license For Sale
To arrange an appointment for your theory exam, log in at Mijn CBR with your DigiD and:
Choose “Theorie-examen reserveren”
Choose the vehicle, time, place and language for your test
Pay via iDEAL
You will receive your confirmation by email. Make sure you have proper identification (such as a passport) and are registered with your municipality before you make a booking. If you need to change the date, you can do so via Mijn CBR.
Before you can take your practical examination, you will need to purchase and fill in an eigen verklaring (personal declaration), which can be found at Mijn CBR. This is to determine if you are healthy enough to undertake a practical examination.
Driving practical exam
The practical examination takes 55 minutes at one of the practical exam centres across the Netherlands. Only driving schools are able to book you in for a practical exam, so you will need to find a suitable driving school and arrange it with them. Dutch drivers license For Sale
The exam can be conducted in any language, and your driving school should be able to help you if you need an interpreter. You must take this test within 18 months after passing your theory test and you need to be at least 17 years old.
Documents necessary for the practical exam include:
Valid proof or identification (ID or passport)
Theory examination certificate
VvG (if necessary)
Official notification of appointment letter
Zelfreflectie (self-reflection) form, which you will discuss with your examiner after the exam
If you are especially anxious about taking exams, it is possible to request a faalangstexamen. This is a longer exam with an examiner who is specially trained in helping people with anxiety.
If successful, you will immediately receive both a certificate of competence (Verklaring van rijvaardigheid) and a certificate of fitness (Verklaring van geschiktheid). Once you present them to your municipality, you will receive your new driving license within five days.
Renewing a Dutch driving license
Just like most EU driving licenses, a Dutch driving license is valid for 10 years from the date of issue and should be renewed before it expires. Before your Dutch license expires the RDW will send a reminder to your home address. All you need to do then is go to your municipality (you don’t need to take the letter with you). Buy Dutch drivers license
Your driving license has expired if one or more of the categories listed on the back of your license is no longer valid. Again, you can simply renew the license at your municipality.
Renewing a foreign driving license in the Netherlands
For expats living in the Netherlands, it’s not possible to renew a foreign or EU/EAA driver’s license, you will instead need to apply to the RDW for a Dutch driving license.
Lost or stolen driving license
If your Dutch or EU/EEA driving license is lost or stolen then you must lodge a police declaration with the municipality where you are registered to receive a new one. For a lost EU/EEA license you will need to provide extra documentation. Buy Dutch drivers license
If your non-EU/EEA driving license is lost or stolen in the Netherlands then you will need to successfully complete the Dutch driving exams to receive a new Dutch driving license.