Exchanging a foreign driving licence
It is possible to exchange a foreign driving licence for a Dutch version if:
- you are registered as a resident of the Netherlands
- you have a valid residence permit or you are a citizen of one of the Member states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EU/EFTA)
- your current driving licence is valid. A driving licence that was issued outside the EU has to be valid when you apply. Furthermore, in the year of issue you need to have lived in the country of issue for at least 185 days. Note: If a European driving licence has expired, you need a Certificate of no objection (Verklaring van geen bezwaar) from the agency that issued the foreign driving licence.
- you qualify for the 30% tax ruling (for highly skilled migrants). If so, you and other members of your family can exchange a foreign driving licence. Regardless of which country you are from. Provided your foreign driving licence is still valid. You will need to submit a 30% ruling statement from the Dutch Tax Authorities (Belastingdienst) to the municipality as proof.
You can find more information on the website of the Dutch Tax Authorities
- you had a Dutch driving licence in the past (valid after June 30, 1985)
- your driving licence was issued in one of the countries of the EU/EFTA (no additional conditions). Or in one of the countries with a special agreement (only driving licences that are valid for certain vehicle categories). If your driving licence was issued in one of these countries outside EU/EFTA, you also need a Certificate of Fitness (Verklaring van geschiktheid).
For the complete list of countries and more details about the conditions for exchanging your driving licence, visit the website of the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW, Dienst Wegverkeer).
What if I do not meet the conditions?
If you do not meet the conditions for exchanging your driving licence, you must do new theory and practical exams at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR, Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen).
Can I exchange an international driving licence?
It is not possible to exchange an international driving licence for a Dutch one.
Do you want to exchange a driving licence from your home country for a Dutch driving licence? Then you will need to visit a counter of the municipality for your application. First, you must make an appointment.
Make an appointment
To make an appointment for your application, please contact the public service desks at the Municipal Office (Stadskantoor).
- Address: Lübeckplein 2, Postbus 10007, 8000 GA Zwolle
- Phone: 14038 (from abroad: 0031 38 498 99 91)
Cancel your appointment?
There is a link in the confirmation email of your appointment. You can change or cancel your appointment via this link. You can also call the municipality: 14038 (from abroad: 0031 38 498 99 91).
How to apply
This is how you exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence.
- Read the 'Instructions Applying for the exchange of a driving licence for a new Dutch licence' on the website of the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW, Dienst Wegverkeer). Here you can find what you should bring when you apply for the exchange of your foreign driving licence. The instructions will also inform you about additional conditions.
- Bring all documents with you to the service desk of the Municipal Office (Stadskantoor). You will need to hand in your foreign driving licence. If your driving licence is printed in characters that are not used in the Netherlands (for example Japanese or Greek), it has to be translated by a sworn interpreter. Please note: there are strict rules for the photo on your driving licence.
- Request an application form for the exchange of a foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence. You fill in and submit this form at the same time.
- Your municipality will send the application with all the documents to the RDW.
- Is your application approved? Then the RDW will send you a letter stating when you can collect your Dutch driving licence in person at the municipality. It will take approximately 10 working days before you receive this letter.
- The RDW always sends the foreign driving licence to the country where you obtained it. So you will not get it back after the exchange. Therefore, you are not allowed to drive until you have your new, Dutch driving licence.
For further information about applying for the exchange of a foreign driving licence, see: www.rdw.nl.
A transition period
If you moved to the Netherlands, you can continue to use the driving licence from your country of origin for a certain period of time. The length of this period varies, depending on where your driving licence was issued. After this transition period has expired, you need to have a valid Dutch driving licence.
For more information about lenghts of validity and the countries to which they apply, visit the website of the RDW.
If your foreign driving licence cannot be exchanged for a Dutch driving licence, you will need to take a new driving test.
For the costs of your application, see Driving licence fees (look for: Omwisselen buitenlands rijbewijs). You can pay by debit card or cash at the public service desk of the Municipal Office (Stadskantoor).
Driving in the Netherlands as a tourist
Are you in the Netherlands as a tourist? If that is the case, you can drive here with a driving licence from your home country. If your driving licence was not issued in a member state of the EU/EFTA, its categories must correspond to the Vienna Convention (categories A, B, C, D, E).
Does your driving licence not meet this requirement? Then you are advised to get an international driving licence in addition to your foreign driving licence.