Exchange of driving license

How to exchange your foreign driving license

If you intend to drive a car in the Netherlands, you will need to pay close attention to the rules pertaining to driving licenses. If you plan to stay in the country for an extended period, you may need to exchange your current license for a Dutch one. Please note, this must be done before your current license expires.

Do you need to exchange your license? If you have a European driving license, it is not necessary to exchange it. If you have a driving license from outside the EU/ EFTA* countries, you can drive with this license for 6 months after your municipal registration. After this period you have to exchange your license for a Dutch one.

Conditions for exchange

• You live in the Netherlands and are registered with your local municipality
• You are from the EU/EEA, Switzerland OR from a country with a special agreement OR you receive the 30% tax ruling
• You have a valid residence permit (unless you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland)
• Your current driving license is valid
• Your current driving license, if issued in a country outside the EU, was issues after being a resident of that country for at least 185 days

If you do not meet these conditions, you cannot directly exchange your license for a Dutch one. This means you will need to take a standard theory and practical test at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR)

30% ruling

If you are eligible for the 30% ruling, you can exchange your driving license without having to take a driving test. Besides the 30% ruling, you need a medical declaration approval, declaring that you are fit to drive. You can buy this medical declaration at your municipal office, the costs are between 25-30 euro (depends per municipality). Please see the information PDF on obtaining the medical declaration.

Procedure at the municipality

Upon receiving both your medical declaration and 30% ruling approval, you can make an appointment at the municipality where you are registered.
For this appointment you will need to bring:
• Your passport
• Your residence permit
• Your valid foreign driving license (with translation from sworn translator if necessary)
• 30% ruling approval
• Medical approval
• 1 colour passport size photo, taken by Dutch standards

During this appointment your driving license will be taken, you won’t get this back. If you really need it back (for driving in your home country), you can send a request to the embassy.
It takes approximately 2-3 weeks before you can pick up your Dutch license. During this time you are not officially allowed to drive. However, experience teaches us that if you have a copy of your foreign license with a municipality stamp on it, you won’t get a fine. This is of course not an official advice.

More information

Some more information about the driving license, can be found on:
https://www.rdw.nl/information-in-english/driving-licence/how-can-i-exchange-a-foreign-driving-licence
https://www.expatica.com/nl/moving-to/Exchanging-a-foreign-drivers-licence-in-the- Netherlands_107660.html

* The EFTA countries are: Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland.