ACCESS NL > Relocating to the Netherlands > First three months > Formalities > Will my driving licence be valid?
I have just arrived in the Netherlands. What are the formalities I need to complete?
What is a BSN? Am I required to get one?
Do I need to legalise or translate my documents to register?
What is DigiD?
Will my driving licence be valid?
Do you have a driving licence that was issued in one of the countries of the European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and do you live in the Netherlands? If so, you can continue to drive on this licence in the Netherlands for 15 years (from the date of issue of the foreign driving licence). This applies to the categories AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE. The driving licence must be valid for this to apply.
For the categories C1, C, D1, D, C1E, D1E and DE, the maximum period is five yearts as of the issue date of the driving licence. Has this period elapsed or is the period you can drive here shorter than two years at the moment at which you take up residence in the Netherlands? If so, you can drive in the Netherlands with the foreign driving licence for another two years as of the date you register.
On the website of Expat Centre Leiden https://www.expatcentreleiden.nl/living-here/getting-around/motor-vehicles-and-driving-license/driving-license you find furher useful information about the validity of your foreign driving licence.
If your driving licence was issued outside one of the countries of the EU/EFTA or in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands, you may use an international driving licence for up to 185 days after becoming a resident in the Netherlands. Before the end of that period, you must have obtained a Dutch driving licence.
The RDW (Dutch Road Transport Directorate) provides a listing of the EU/EFTA members as well as the most up to date information related to this topic: www.rdw.nl/information-in-english/driving-licence/driving-with-a-foreign-driving-licence. In some cases, you will be able to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch one. You may submit an application with the municipality. The procedure is explained on the RDW’s website that we have mentioned above.
Please note that when exchanging a driving licence, you will be asked to hand in your old licence. A counter clerk will collect your foreign driving licence and give you a certified copy and a receipt. You will not receive your old driving licence back after the exchange. Instead, the RDW will return your driving licence to the issuing authority in your country of origin.
Persons with diplomatic status or working at certain international organisations (privileged card holders) may drive in the Netherlands without the need to exchange their foreign licence for a Dutch one. You will, however, need a valid foreign driving licence and an identity pass for privileged persons from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.