Driving licences

Obtaining a Dutch licence, driving exams and requirements

Driving licences

To drive in the Netherlands, you need to have an international driving permit in addition to a valid licence issued in a foreign country, or you can simply exchange your driving license for a Dutch one.

When discussing which driving licence is accepted for a temporary stay in the Netherlands, it is fairly simple.

  • If your license is from a country within the EU/EFTA, it is valid.
  • If your license is from a country outside the EU/EFTA, you may have to produce an international permit (official translation of your driving license) as well as a valid foreign driving licence.

Things will get more complicated if you plan on staying permanently in the Netherlands.

  • If your license is from a country within the EU/EFTA, that was issued before 19 January 2013, then you can normally carry on driving with the foreign driving licence for up to 10 years after issue. If it is already over 9 years old, you can continue to drive with your driving licence in any case for another two years. If it was issued after 19 January 2013, you can use it for up to 15 years. However, this is on condition that your driving licence is still valid.
  • If your license is from a country outside the EU/EFTA, or the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, then you can use it for another 185 days after becoming a resident in the Netherlands. During that period you must obtain a Dutch driving licence.

You can arrange an International Driving Permit only at the ANWB .

You need the following at your application:

  • Valid identity papers
  • Your foreign driving licence
  • A photo

It is much easier to exchange your driving license than start afresh and apply for a new Dutch licence. A driving licence issued in one of the countries of the EU or EFTA  can be exchanged for a Dutch driving licence. There are a few exemptions which can be found here . If your country is not on this list, you will have no other option than to apply for a local driving license.

Dutch driving license

To obtain a Dutch driving licence, you need to pass the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR) driving test.

But before going in on the details of the local driving license you should meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • You are a citizen of one of the EU or EEA member countries or of Switzerland.
  • You have a valid residence permit for the Netherlands.

In order to take the test you must be registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database (GBA) of the Municipality of The Hague.

The driving test is made up of both a theory and a practical exam. The theoretical test can be sat in English and if necessary, with the assistance of an interpreter.

Theory test

You should take classes at a driving school, though you could do it on your own.

The following documents will be needed:

  • A completed and signed theory card (buy these cards from a driving school or at the reception desk of one of the CBR theory test centres)
  • Valid identification (ID card, passport)
  • Proof of residence
  • A recent passport-sized photograph

The theoretical test consists of the following:

  • First you will need to answer 25 questions on traffic awareness. A minimum of 12 questions should be answered correctly in order to pass.
  • After this you will need to answer another 40 questions, 30 questions on traffic regulations and 10 on traffic insight. You need to get 35 out of the 40 questions correct.

This exam will be done in a room filled with applicants and you will hear immediately if you passed or failed. A theory certificate (theoriecertificaat) is issued immediately after the test has been passed. This is valid for one year and within this year you will need to pass your practical exam.

Practical test

After passing your theory, and having enough experience with driving lessons, you may do your practical exam.

Documents required for the test reservation are:

  • Application form (aanvraagkaart voor het praktijkexamen)
  • A theory certificate (theoriecertificaat)
  • Eigen verklaring” is needed (health form signed by a doctor, available from a driving school or your local town’s hall)
  • In the Netherlands, it is obligatory to validate your driving school. This means that you have given your permission to the driving school to arrange your exam. Besides that, you must confirm that you have had driving lessons at this driving school.

Bring the documents mentioned above with your ID to the practical exam. Also bring a form called “zelfreflectie”, which you should have filled in beforehand. It is a form where you grade your skills yourself before the exam. After the exam, this form will be discussed.

The exam itself will take 45 minutes to an hour. The duration of the exam depends on whether you have taken a tussentijdse toets (an interim test). During this test you will have to prove that you can park and turn your car. If you pass, you will not have to do this during the real exam, which will save you a lot of time and stress.

You can ask for your driving license at the local town hall. It will take five days in order to produce one. You are not allowed to drive until you have your driving license!

When asking for your driving license you will need:

  • Money to pay the fee
  • Valid identification (ID card, passport)
  • Proof of residence
  • A recent passport-sized photograph

A normal driving license is valid for ten years. If you are between 60 and 65, it will be valid until you are 70 and after you are 65 it should be renewed every five years.

Existing driving licence categories

Driving License


Age (in years)


Motorcycles and motorised tricycles with a power of over 15 kW.



Moped, Scooter and Microcar



Motorcycles with a maximum cylinder capacity of 125 cm3.

This means a maximum power of 11 kW and a power/weight ratio of less than 0.1 kW per kg.



Motorcycles with a maximum power of 35 kW and a power/weight ratio of less than 0.2 kW per kg. 



Passenger car



Passenger car with trailer


Further reading

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