How I Converted my Foreign Driving License in Austria
Today, I am sharing how I converted my American driving license to an Austrian driving license. I know, thrilling right? However, I saw this question posed on an expat message board and remembered just how confusing the process was.
The best resource is to use the Conversion of a Foreign Driving Licence article on help.gv.at. However, you may notice that the information for the conversion of a non-EU driving license is pretty mysterious. Things such as, “Possibly a translation” are not exactly clear. What do they mean by “possibly”? Can I just translate it myself? Where does someone get this possibly required translation?
Lucky for you, I lived through it all and have survived to tell my tale! Without further ado…
Converting a non-EU License to an Austrian License
Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitution for the law, so be sure to check the information on help.gv.at.
- Passport and Foreign Driving License: Ensure that both documents are valid. If you are under the legal driving age in Austria, be sure to discuss the issue with your responsible authority.
- Driving License Translation: An official translation can be obtained from ÖAMTC or ARBÖ. You do not have to be a member of their automobile club to obtain a translation. There is a processing fee, I believe this cost me about 14 Euros.
- Medical Report: The medical report is issued by a doctor, the German word is “Führerscheinuntersuchung.” The examination took about 5 minutes and consisted of a vision test and questions about my physical capabilities to operate a motor vehicle. I believe the medical report cost me about 30 Euros.
- Passport Photo and Meldezettel: Bring your Meldezettel and a passport photo with you to the responsible authority. Remember that there are no passport photo smiles, check the required criteria.
- Turn in Completed Paperwork to the Responsible Authority: For most cities, the responsible authority will be the local Landespolizeidirektion. For Vienna, the responsible authority is the Verkehrsamt. If your city does not have a federal police headquarters, the responsible authority will be the local Bezirkshauptmannschaft.
- Turn in Your Non-EU Driving License: This is not made clear online, but you are not permitted to keep your previous non-EU driving license once you convert it to an Austrian one. You cannot have both at the same time. My understanding is that you can request to have your previous license back, but you must exchange it for your Austrian one. This does add an element of complication if you plan on traveling home and driving a car, so be sure to read up on the laws well ahead of your intended travel date. In the USA, you can drive with an EU Driving License but laws vary state to state – read up!
- Pay the Fee and Wait: The processing fee is 60,50 Euros. Once I turned in all of my paperwork, I was provided with an official document that permitted me to drive my car while I was waiting for my new license.
Help.gv.at also states that the driving license authority, “may ask for additional documents in particular cases.” I was not asked for additional documents, but if you are, please let me know what they were so I can update this article for other folks, please.
Not going to lie, converting my American license to an Austrian one was a headache. If you are gearing up for this exciting experience, be sure to celebrate with a treat at the end (in my case it was beer) because you deserve it!