International Relations Office

Your private car

Many visiting scientists and researchers come to Germany by car or purchase one upon arrival. Temporary stays of up to 6 months do not entail much bureaucracy; your driving licence, car registration plates, car documents, car tax and car insurance remain valid in Germany for that period (as your car remains registered in your country of residence), though your documents may need to be translated. However, if you stay here for more than 6 months or change your place of residence there are a few things you need to be aware of.

EU/EEA citizens

In January 2013 a new European driving licence was introduced as a standardised alternative to the various driving licence models in EU Member States with their different categories and validity periods. All driving licences issued in an EU member state remain valid in Germany even upon change of residence.

Citizens of other countries

If you change your place of residence, or stay in Germany for more than 6 months, you need to exchange your national driving licence for a German one. After six months your national driving licence will lose its validity in Germany. If you stay here for only 7-12 months, the validity may be extended by the local vehicle registration authority, but this requires proof of residence duration (e.g. an employment contract, scholarship). Please note that some foreign nationals need to take a full or partial driving test (theory and/or practical) due to different procedures and requirements for passing a driving test in their home country. We recommend that you contact the local authorities ahead of your arrival.

If you have obtained an international driving licence, it is only valid in combination with your national driving licence, so make sure you always carry both documents when driving. Please also note that international driving licences are valid for only three years.

Car Registration

If you change your place of residence, you need to register your car at the local vehicle registration office and get a German registration plate. If you are staying in Germany for less than 12 months you will not be required to get a German licence plate. In Oldenburg, you need to go to the Bürgerbüro Nord, which you can also contact for further information, for example on motor vehicle tax. You need to provide valid proof of car insurance coverage, including third party liability car insurance, as well as a valid certificate confirming that your car passed the test for vehicle safety, roadworthiness, and exhaust emissions (you may need a Certificate of Conformity).



Oldenburg Bürgerbüro Nord

Stiller Weg 10
26121 Oldenburg
Phone: 0441-235-4444
Fax: 0441-235-3185
E-Mail: buergerbuero-nord(at)


Information on car purchase, validity of driving licences in EU countries and more at:

Public Transport

Cycling in Oldenburg

Carpooling and car sharing