Is your driving licence valid in Amsterdam?
As an international resident in the Netherlands, you can use your own driving licence for a certain period of time, after which you will be required to obtain a Dutch permit (rijbewijs).
- For EU and EFTA countries, licences are valid for 15 years from the date of issue (note: EU licences issued before 2013 are only valid for 10 years).
- For all other countries (including the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) licences are valid for six months from the date you register at your local municipality.
An application for a standard Dutch driving licence costs no more than €38.80 (2017 rates) and must be paid in advance. The application is submitted to the Government Road Transportation Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, RDW) and the appraisal process takes approximately two weeks. You are not permitted to drive while your application is being processed.
Exchanging your driving licence for a Dutch one
You can exchange your licence for a Dutch one if you meet ALL of the following conditions:
- You live in the Netherlands and are registered with your local municipality
- You are from the EU, the EEA, Switzerland OR are from a country with a special agreement (see Exceptions) OR you have the 30% ruling
- You have a valid residence permit (unless you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland)
- Your current driving licence is valid
- Your current driving licence, if issued in a country outside the EU, was issued after being a resident of that country for at least 185 days
If you do not meet the conditions you cannot exchange your licence for a Dutch one. This means you will need to take a standard theory and practical test at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR).
Procedure at the municipality
If you meet the above conditions for exchanging your driving licence, you must submit your application at your local district council office (stadsdeelkantoor) with the following:
- Colour passport photograph
- Your foreign driving licence
- Your residence permit (unless you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland)
- Statement of 30% ruling (when applicable)
- Certificate of fitness (see below)
An application for a Dutch driving licence costs €38.80 (2017 rates) and must be paid in advance. The municipality submits the application to the Government Road Transportation Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, RDW) and the appraisal process takes approximately two weeks. You are not permitted to drive while your application is being processed. Note that the RDW sends your foreign licence back to the country where it was issued – that means you won't be able to keep your foreign licence if you apply for a Dutch one.
Certificate of Fitness
You may be asked to provide a certificate of fitness (verklaring van geschiktheid), proving you are physically and psychologically fit to drive a vehicle. The certificate can be obtained from the Expatcenter or at your local municipality office. This statement is needed in the following cases:
- You have an EU/EEA or Switzerland driving licence with categories C, CE, C1, D etc
- You benefit from the 30% tax ruling
- Your driving licence is from the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba
- Your driving licence is from one of the countries with special agreement
Send your form to the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR). They will notify you when your statement has been registered and let you know whether you have to undergo an additional health check. After the registration you can apply for the driving licence exchange.
European driving licence
As of January 2013, the introduction of a European driving licence brings freedom of movement to EU drivers, reinforces safety on European roads and reduces possibilities of fraud. Learn more about this new EU initiative.
International driving licence
When you are in possession of a Dutch driving licence you are also able to receive an international driving licence. This can be done with two different agencies in the Netherlands.
- RDW – this agency can provide you with a proof of authenticity certificate stating in English that your driving licence is authentic and valid. This process is carried out by filling in a form online and paying an administration fee of €4.50.
- ANWB – through this agency you can buy an international driving licence booklet at one of their offices. They make an official booklet with information and a stamp. It is valid for one year and costs €18.95. Please note that for specific countries the international driving licence is not enough and additional documents may be required.
RDW: The Government Road Transport Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer). RDW is available to answer questions over the phone relating to the exchange of driving licences in English, Dutch and German: 0900-0739. The RDW also hosts a comprehensive FAQ in English regarding the validity of your driving licence and the procedures for exchanging it for a Dutch licence.
CBR: Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (Centraal Bureau van Rijvaardigheid)
ANWB: The Dutch Wheelers Bond
Rijbewijs: General information about driving. (Info in Dutch and English)
See a full list of Expatcenter partners, including driving schools in Amsterdam.