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New York City meets Munich

Behind the wheel

September 15th, 2011 · No Comments · Germany

Full stop aheadThere are 26 U.S. states that have a full reciprocity arrangement with Germany for a driver’s license. If you hold one of those U.S. licenses, you just need to do some paperwork and pay a fee to obtain a German driver’s license.

There are 11 U.S. states that have a partial reciprocity arrangement. Holding one of these licenses means you have to pay a fee to take a written test, and then do some other paperwork and fees.

New York State is neither of the above. Germany thinks my driver’s license is worthless. That means I must do the following, all of which involve fees and time:

  • Take a six hour first aid course
  • Complete an eye test
  • Take a written test
  • Have a driving school certify I am ready for a road test
  • Take a road test

The only grace I get for having been a driver for over twenty years is I am not required to do all the classes and road hours usually needed. This saves a lot of money and time, since otherwise I would have to clock a lot of road hours (highway, city and night driving) with an instructor.

For the record, this will be the fourth time I’ve had to get a driver’s license from almost scratch:

  1. My first license was in Rhode Island.
  2. Bermuda didn’t honor US driver’s licenses
  3. Returning to New York from Bermuda, I no longer had a valid US license, so I had to start from nothing.

I think very few people on this planet have proven to so many different governments that they can drive as much as I have.

At least my first two cars were manual transmission, because that’s all they pretty much have here. If you take the road test in an automatic transmission car, you get a nerfed license that says you can’t drive a stick.

If I had known all this, perhaps I should have married a nice Austrian girl. Austrians know how to do two things very well: cook and accept American driver’s licenses.

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