Exchange 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 licences. If you plan to remail in the country for an extended period, you may need to exchange your current licence for a Dutch one. Please note, this must be done before your current licence expires.

Validity of your driving licence

As an international resident in the Netherlands, you can use your own driving licence for a certain period of time, after which you will be required to obtain a Dutch permit (rijbewijs).

  • For EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, licences are valid for ten years from the date of issue.

  • For all other countries (including the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) licences are valid for six months from the date you register at your local Municipality (for a six month stay).

You can exchange your licence for a Dutch one if you meet all of the following conditions:

  1. you live in the Netherlands and are registered with your local municipality

  2. you are from the EU, the EEA, Switzerland or are from a country with a special agreement (See Execptionsbelow).

  3. you have a valid residence permit (unless you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland)

  4. your current driving licence is valid

  5. your current driving licence, if issued in a country outside the EU , was issued after being a resident of that country for at least 185 days.

If you do not meet the above conditions or if you are from a country other than those listed on the Exception list (see below) you cannot exchange your licencefor 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) (in Dutch only).

Procedure at the municipality

If you meet the above conditions for exchanging your driving licence, you must submit your application at your local district council office (stadsdeelkantoor). You will also need to submit the following:

  • Colour passport photograph, which meets the criteria specified in the Passport Regulation

  • Your foreign driving licence

  • Your residence permit unless you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland

  • Statement of 30% ruling (when applicable)

  • Certificate of fitness, if necessary. (See Execptions below)

An application for a Dutch driving licence costs around € 40 (2010 rates) and must be paid in advance. The application is submitted to the Government Road Transportation Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, RDW) and the appraisal process takes approximately two weeks. The application can only be done in person.

Please note: You are not permitted to drive while your application is being processed. An international driving licence is only a legalised translation of a national driving licence. This cannot be exchanged for a Dutch licence.

Execptions

When applying for a Dutch driving licence, two exceptions may apply:

1. Certificate of Fitness - You may be asked to provide a certificate of fitness (verklaring van geschiktheid). This is a statement that proves you are physically and psychologically fit to drive a vehicle. The certificate can be obtained from the civil affairs desk or at your local municipality office.

This statement is needed in the following cases:

  • You have an EU/EEA or Switzerland driving licence with categories, C, CE, C1, D etc.

  • You benefit from the 30% tax-ruling

  • Your driving licence is from the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba

  • Your driving licence is from one of the countries with special agreement

Send your form to Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR) . They will notify you when your statement has been registered and let you know whether you have to undergo an additional health check. After the registration you can apply for the driving licence exchange (omwissel). For more information, contact the civil affairs desk or your local municipality office.

2. Special Agreements - If you are a national from one of the countries listed below you can change your driving licence, but you may only exchange it in the categories listed below:

  • Andorra: B (passenger car)

  • Aruba (all categories)

  • Canada; only Québec: B (passenger car)

  • Israel: B (passenger car)

  • Japan: AB (passenger car and motorcycle of more than 400 cc)

  • Jersey (all categories)

  • Man (all categories)

  • Monaco (all categories)

  • Netherlands Antilles (all categories)

  • Singapore: Class 2 (motorcycle of more than 400 cc) and Class 3 (passenger car

  • South Korea: B (passenger car)

  • Taiwan: B (passenger car)

More information

RDW: The Government Road Transport Agency. RDW is available to answer questions over the phone relating to the exchange of driving licenses in English, Dutch and German: 0900-0739.

CBR: Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing

ANWB: The Dutch Wheelers Bond

Rijbewijs: General information about driving. (Info in Dutch and English)

Making an appointment

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