By 2033 at the latest, only driver’s licenses in credit card format will be available in Germany. On January 19, 2023, the second major wave of conversion will take place. Motorists born between 1959 and 1964 must exchange their driving licence. FOCUS Online says why you should make an application now.

Abroad, the gray and pink folding driver’s licenses sometimes cause problems. Within the European Union, the driver’s license in credit card format has become established. This document has been gradually replacing the gray and pink driving licenses in Germany since 2022.

Although the EU decided to ask the member states to accept the different driving license documents within the Union, the applicable classes on the old driving licenses and outdated photos of the driving license holders are not immediately recognizable. As a result, German citizens run the risk of having to explain themselves to a police check abroad.

And in Germany too, certain driving licenses could lead to fines.

Anyone born between January 1, 1959 and December 31, 1964 and holding a gray and pink driver’s license at the same time must have replaced their old driver’s license with the check card by January 19, 2023.

The exchange is even mandatory. If drivers continue to drive with the old “rag” from this date and are caught doing so, a warning fee of 10 euros will apply. Truck and bus drivers with old driving licenses that are no longer valid then also commit a criminal offence.

The driver’s license offices are responsible for the exchange – i.e. the town hall, the district office or the district administration department.

FOCUS Online advises: Ideally, those affected should already submit the application now. The processing time is currently three to five weeks. Shortly before the deadline, there could be a rush at the authorities, which in turn can push the duration back significantly.

The exchange takes place without a health examination and costs about 25.50 euros. Those affected only have to reckon with a surcharge if the exchange is to be made in an urgent procedure (express) or if the new driving license is to be sent by post.

Not all authorities offer this service. Fees are also due if the key number is also entered or if a second entry has to be made. In Munich, this amounts to an additional 28.60 euros.

A biometric passport photo must accompany the application. The professional photographer charges between 12 and 30 euros for this. At the photo booth at the train station, you can get the necessary passport photo from five euros. However, it is advisable to have the biometric passport photo taken by a photographer, as there are certain regulations on how the biometric passport photo should look.

Anyone born before January 1, 1953 and before December 31, 1980 should observe the following deadlines:

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People born after 1981 usually got their driver’s license in 1999. In this case, it is not the date of birth that counts, but the date of issue. Driver’s licenses that were issued after January 1, 1999, then the following deadline applies.

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The old driving license must be exchanged by this date.

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