As an international resident in the Netherlands, you can use your own drivers license for a certain period of time, at the end of which you will be required to obtain a Dutch license (rijbewijs).
The general rule is that
- most EU/EEA countries licenses are valid for up to 10 years,
- licenses from many countries outside of EU/EEA are valid for six months (185 days) from the date you register at your local municipality.
Please note, you must exchange a foreign driving license/ obtain Dutch license before your current license expires. Depending on your nationality and wether or not you’re eligible for the 30% tax benefit, you can either exchange your foreign license or need to take driving lessons, take a theory and practical test.
Please find detailed information and conditions here: https://www.rdw.nl
You can apply for the exchange of your foreign driving license into a Dutch license at the municipality where you are registered. You will have to show a certificate of fitness which states your physical health before the license can be exchanged. This certificate can best be arranged online on the website of the CBR (the authority who issues the driver’s licenses), using your Digi-D. The website itself is mainly in Dutch, but the application form (gezondheidsverklaring) is in English.
The CBR will send a confirmation and after receiving this, you can make an appointment with the municipality. Bring with you:
- recent passport photo
- residence permit (if applicable)
current (valid) driver’s license
certificate of fitness from CBR
an exchange form will be filled in during the appointment
You can also make an appointment with the municipality and receive from them a document which states your physical health and together with the application form this will be forwarded to the proper authorities. This process however will take more time then the first mentioned online procedure.
In both cases there are costs involved of approximately € 40,–.
The appraisal process takes at least two weeks and applicants are not permitted to drive while their application is being processed.
30% Tax benefit
If you are eligible for the 30% tax benefit, you can exchange your drivers license as stated above. In this case your nationality plays no role. When applying for the exchange you have to proof you are eligible for the 30% tax benefit. This means that you first have to apply for the tax benefit (together with your employer) and after receiving the confirmation of the tax authorities you can apply for the exchange of your drivers license following the steps mentioned above.
In case you have to take driving lessons to be able to obtain the Dutch drivers license, you need to approach a driving school in the area. Most driving schools have instructors who can teach in English, but make sure to request this specifically when signing up for lessons.
For more information about the conditions, go to the website of your local municipality or RDW (National Vehicle Administration Agency).