Exchanging your driver's licence (Rijbewijs omwisselen)

If you have a driver’s licence that you acquired outside the Netherlands, you may, in certain cases, exchange it for a Dutch driver’s licence.

You do not need to exchange your driver’s licence immediately. You can temporarily continue to drive in the Netherlands with a foreign driver’s licence..

Conditions (Voorwaarden)

You can only exchange a foreign driver’s licence if:

Driver’s licence issued outside the EU (Rijbewijs afgegeven buiten EU)

  • If your driver’s licence was issued outside the EU, you must have lived in the issuing country for at least 185 days of the year in which the licence was issued. You can verify the length of your stay by presenting a copy of your passport, an employer’s statement or wage slips and tax papers.
  • Furthermore, if your driver’s licence was issued outside the EU, you cannot exchange it on the grounds of a younger age. This means that you need to have reached a certain age for a certain category of licence as applicable in the Netherlands.

Applying for an exchange (Omwisseling aanvragen)

To exchange a driver’s licence issued abroad for a Dutch driver’s licence, you must proceed as follows:

  1. You must read the instructions for applying for an exchange for a Dutch driver’s licence to find out what to bring when you apply to an exchange of your foreign driver’s licence and which conditions you must meet. 
  2. You must take all the documents to the municipal authorities of the town where you live.
  3. You must ask for the application form “Application to exchange for a Dutch driver’s licence” (Aanvraag omwisseling Nederlands rijbewijs) which you fill in at that location.
  4. The municipal authorities will send the application and documents on to RDW, the National Vehicle and Driving Licence Registration Authority.
  5. If everything is approved, the RDW will send you a letter, within 10 working days, to notify you that you can collect your Dutch driver’s licence from the municipal authorities.
  6. The RDW will return the foreign driver’s licence to the country in which it was issued. We cannot return that driver’s licence to you.

 Important (Belangrijk)

You can only submit the application to exchange your foreign driver’s licence to your local municipal authorities. If you send the application directly to the RDW, it will not be processed.

If you have previously had a Dutch driver’s licence (which as still valid after 30 June 1985), you only need to submit a statement from the foreign authority - if you want to exchange an EU/EFTA licence - if there are categories on your foreign licence that were not included on your Dutch driver’s licence. 

If you have lost your driver’s licence, or if it has been stolen, you must make an official report of the loss or theft or submit a statement of loss to the municipal authorities. In addition, you must submit an original, authenticated statement (dated not more than 6 months previously) from the authority that issued the driver’s licence. It must be evident from the statement that the driver’s licence was still valid and when it was issued.

If you cannot exchange your driver’s licence, you must take the normal theory and practical exams at the CBR (Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing) to obtain a Dutch driver’s licence.
 

Decision on the Evidence Rule (Beschikking Bewijsregel)

If you are in the Netherlands in connection with your job (highly skilled migrant) and you are eligible for the 30% scheme, you may exchange your foreign driver’s licence (it is irrelevant which country issued it) for a Dutch driver’s licence. You may only exchange your foreign licence if it is still valid. You will need statement from the Tax Administration (Belastingdienst) with a decision on the Evidence Rule (Beschikking Bewijsregel). For more information, please contact the Tax Administration in Heerlen.
 

International driver’s licences (Internationale rijbewijzen)

International driver’s licences are only authenticated translations of national driver’s licences, which means you cannot exchange one for a Dutch driver’s licence.
 

Not eligible for exchange (Niet geschikt voor omwisseling)

If you cannot exchange your driver’s licence, you must take the normal theory and practical exams at the CBR (Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing) to obtain a Dutch driver’s licence.