How often do driving licenses expire

Old driver's license valid until at least 2022 - also in all EU countries

Over the past few years, old gray or pink German driver's licenses have repeatedly been objected to during vehicle checks in other EU countries. Sometimes a fine even had to be paid. The European Commission has agreed to mutually recognize all national driving licenses validly acquired in an EU country.

In order to be able to refer to the agreement during a police check beyond the borders, the EU makes the wording of the declaration available on the Internet in the languages ​​of the member states:

We recommend that drivers who are traveling in EU countries and who do not yet have an EU plastic driving license the size of a check card, should use the Take the relevant excerpt from the EU decision with you - Articles 1 and 2 are important.

If the police remain stubborn abroad, you will often find it difficult to avoid paying a bail. In this case, you should make sure that both the amount paid as well as the reason for payment can be specified. You can then try to contest the decision with the help of a lawyer. But check whether the amount of the fine is worth the effort.

If you don't risk any trouble and want to exchange your old driver's license for an EU document before your next vacation, you should inquire about the processing times in good time. Depending on where you live, the waiting time can take several weeks.

End of the old driving licenses decided

The time of the old gray or pink driving licenses is running out: the legislature has now introduced a step-by-step plan according to which the old driving licenses lose their validity. Different deadlines apply depending on your age and the date of issue of your driver's license. The first old driver's licenses will expire in January 2022. The last ones are then no longer valid in January 2033.

For driving licenses that Issued up to and including December 31, 1998 have been, the following applies:

Your year of birthDay by which the driver's license must be exchanged
before 195319.01.2033
1953 - 195819.01.2022
1959 - 196419.01.2023
1965 - 197019.01.2024
1971 or later19.01.2025

For driving licenses that issued from January 1, 1999 have been, the following applies:

Year of issueDay by which the driver's license must be exchanged
1999 - 200119.01.2026
2002 - 200419.01.2027
2005 - 200719.01.2028
200819.01.2029
200919.01.2030
201019.01.2031
201119.01.2032
2012 - 18.01.201319.01.2033

If you were born before 1953, January 19th, 2033 is always the deadline - regardless of when your driver's license was issued.

This content was created by the joint editorial team for the network of consumer advice centers in Germany.