Dutch driving licence
If you intend to drive a car in the Netherlands, you will need to pay close attention to the rules pertaining to driving licences. If you plan to remain in the country for an extended period, you may need to exchange your current licence for a Dutch one. Please note, this must be done before your current licence expires.
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.
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 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).
If you live in Amsterdam, learn more about exchanging your driving licence in Amsterdam. If you live in a neighbouring town or city, contact your local municipality.
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 IN Amsterdam 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 a 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.
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 (subject to a fee). Please note that for specific countries the international driving licence is not enough and additional documents may be required.