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South Africans in Germany

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Driving and Driver’s licences

If you are only visiting, you need an International driver permit which you can apply for at the AA in South Africa

If you stay longer, you can drive legally for 6 months with your South African licence and an Internationallicense, after that you must convert your SA licence to a German one. 
This might change so always check on the links we provide for the most relevant information or on your local traffic department’s website.

  • You do not need to take the test, you can just convert your SA licence to a German one.
  • Some states are now requiring a first aid course, so please make sure before you apply to convert your licence. It is always good to attend one anyway. Most Driving schools (Fahrschule) offer first aid courses 
  • You will need to translate your licence into German, this can be done at your local ADAC office. Note – this will depend on the Bundesland or office so always make sure if you need to have your docs translated.
  • In recent months there have been reports that some cities are now requiring proof of “Confirmation of South African Driving licence”. An example of this is in Böbblingen.  Rather be as prepared as you can be, and ask if they need it before you apply for a German licence. This Confirmation can be requested from the RTMC, see more info from DIRCO. You can also use companies to assist you, see our marketplace for more information. If you are still in South Africa, request one and bring it along with you.
  • The conversion is done either at the Bürgerdienste or the Führerscheinstelle of your town. You can search for Führerscheinstelle  + Your Town, or search on  Tip!! When you go to register at the Bürgerampt/Ausländerbehorde ask them where you must apply for your German driver’s licence.

Applying for Conversion of a Foreign Driver’s License

You need the following to apply to convert your South African license to a German driver’s license:

  • Passport and Permanent Residence card
  • Photo, the same type as for a passport photo
  • Your South African driver’s licence
  • German translation of your South African licence
  • Confirmation of your Anmeldung, if you do not apply in your home town
  • Application form
  • First aid course if required see above
  •  Copy of excerpt/confirmation from the issuing driving license authority abroad with translation  (Kopie Auszug/Bestätigung von der ausstellenden Führerscheinbehörde im Ausland mit Übersetzung ) – see above
  • Pay the Fees 

International Drivers licence - issued in Germany

During your licence application in Germany, you will need to submit your SA license to the German authorities, which means you will need an International Drivers license to drive in South Africa. 
According to regulation 110 of the National Road Traffic Act, a foreign license is only valid in South Africa if it has been issued in one of South Africa’s official languages.
The German license is therefore not valid and you should have an International license.

You can apply for an International license at the Führerscheinstelle of either the Stadtverwaltung, Bürgerampt, Rathaus, or Landratsamt, depending on where you live. It is recognised in 200 countries.
Here is a list of countries where you will need an International Licence once you have your German(EU) licence. 

You can find the application forms online or at the office you apply
You will need a biometric photo and your German driver’s licence
In 2022 the cost is €16

Sie können den Internationalen Führerschein bei den Straßenverkehrsämtern (Führerscheinstelle) an Ihrem Wohnort beantragen.
Führerscheinstelle ist,

  • wenn Sie in einem Stadtkreis wohnen: die Stadtverwaltung
  • wenn Sie in einem Landkreis wohnen: das Landratsamt

Rules and reciprocal licence agreements for each country

Renewing your SA drivers licence card

You need to renew your licence in person in South Africa.
Please take note that “your South African driving licence card is your valid proof that you have a South African Driving Licence.
When your driving licence card has expired, it does not mean that your driving licence has expired. Only your valid proof of such a licence has expired”

Applicants outside the borders of the RSA whose Driving Licence Cards have expired or were lost/stolen and who are not in a position to return to the RSA to have the licence renewed:

According to DIRCO – “The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), a corporation of the Department of Transport, is in a position to issue a confirmation letter should such an applicant have a valid licence.
This is established by verifying the applicant’s South African identification number on the National Traffic Information System.
The letter will serve as proof that the applicant has a valid licence and this will enable them to convert to a foreign driving licence in the country of current residence.
Please note:
The confirmation letter cannot be interpreted as a driving licence when produced to a law enforcement official.

You can send an email to 
Your request must include your contact numbers (including email address), a copy of your ID or a copy of your driving licence.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) will upon request, investigate, and print a copy of the licence required and a Letter of Confirmation of the licence. This letter reflects the date that the licence was first issued. Kindly note that the person collecting the letter must provide acceptable identification and may also arrange for a courier to collect it.
Location and Contacts/ Confirmation letters are facilitated at:
RTMC-NaTIS Facility, 13 Howick Close, Waterfall Park, Bekker Road, Midrand
+27 11 266-2000 (Telephone)
+28 86 415 9120 (Fax)
 – You can ask someone to collect the original from their office in Centurion, or use one of the companies listed on our marketplace to collect, apostille and courier it to you, it can take around  2 months. 

More info from DIRCO


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English German
citizens’ office das Bürgeramt 
City hall das Rathaus 
Conversion of a Foreign Driver’s License Umschreibung einer ausländischen Fahrerlaubnis
Driver’s License der Führerschein
driver’s license office die Führerscheinstelle
Driving School die Fahrschule 
first-aid course der Erste-Hilfe-Kurs 
Permanent Residence card der Personalausweis 
Translation  die Übersetzung


Resources on the web

  • ADAC – officially the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (General German Automobile Club), is Europe’s largest motoring association. The object of the ADAC is “the representation, promotion and advocacy of motoring, motorsport and tourism interests

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