Home FAQ Can I Drive in the Netherlands with an Indian License?

Can I Drive in the Netherlands with an Indian License?

by Maja Świątnicka

Usually, while traveling abroad, we use public transport to commute. However, sometimes you want to use a car, especially when you want to stay in the Netherlands a bit longer. Many Indian people wonder if they can drive in the Netherlands with their Indian license. So, can they?

You can drive in the Netherlands with an Indian license for 6 months from the time you become a resident. After 6 months you have to exchange your driving license or in some cases pass a driving exam and theory exam again.

In the article, you’ll find detailed information about foreign driving licenses in the Netherlands. You will find a lot about how to exchange your Indian license with a Dutch one (if possible according to regulations) and also some crucial information about general  rules on the roads in the Netherlands.

General Info on Indian Expats and Their Driving Licenses

Most European citizens are allowed to normally use their driving licenses in the Netherlands until the expiration date. If they have a EU/EEA driving license (and the license was issued before January 19th, 2013), their license will be valid for 10 years after it was issued. If it was issued after Jan 19th, 2013, they can keep and use it for up to 15 years. However, if you’re an Indian or any other non-European expat, you only can drive with your driving license for 6 months in the Netherlands. After six months, you need to have your driving license exchanged (get a Dutch driving license) or take the Dutch driving exams, it all depends on several conditions.

When You Can Exchange Your Indian Driving License with a Dutch One

Exchanging your Indian driver’s license may be a quick and easy process if you have the 30% ruling. The 30% ruling is a tax advantage for some migrants working in the Netherlands. In brief, the employee only pays tax over 70% of their gross salary. If you have it, you can exchange your foreign license to a Dutch one. The whole process will not take longer than a month and a new license is collected in the embassy. Steps you need to take in order to exchange your Indian driving license to a Dutch one:

  1. You buy an application for around 25 euro (at the town hall) and fill it.
  2. After that you should send the application to the address mentioned in the form.
  3. You wait around 2 – 3 weeks to get an approval letter.
  4. Then, you submit the application with the approval letter and the original license in the town hall. You should also attach a photo and 30% ruling approval letter. Additional 25 euro needs to be paid.
  5.  You will get a letter saying that your Dutch driving license is ready in about 2 – 3 weeks. You collect it in the town hall.

Indians who aren’t eligible for exchange, should do a theory and driving test again (at the CBR). Here are steps you need to take to get a new Dutch driving license:

  1. Check with your municipality if you are eligible for a driving license.
  2. Choose a driving school you’ll attend (theory and practical lessons). Proceed with lessons.
  3. Request a theory exam with the CBR and then do the exam (there are 20 examination centers in the Netherlands). The test takes one hour, there are 65 questions (40 questions check your knowledge of the Dutch traffic rules, 25 of questions test your recognition of dangerous situations in traffic and the rest test your general understanding of traffic). You have to pass the test in order to request the practical part. The test can be taken in English.
  4. Complete a necessary health statement – this is to determine if you are healthy enough to undertake a practical exam.
  5. Request a practical exam with the CBR. Your driving school should help you with that. Then, do the practical exam. The practical exam takes around 55 minutes. It can be conducted in any language. The test must be taken within 18 months after you pass the theory examination. In order to take the practical examination, you have to provide the following documents: valid ID/passport, theory examination certificate, official notification of appointment letter and a self-reflection form (a document you’ll discussed with your examiner after the exam).
  6. You should then provide the certificate to your municipality. After that you can collect your new license (it usually takes 5 days at the maximum to get a document).

Which Countries Accept Indian Driving License?

Actually, most of European countries, including the Netherlands, don’t accept Indian driving license. However, several countries in the world do. These are:

  • United States – almost all states. The only requirement is that your Indian license is valid and is in English. If so, you can drive in the US for one year. After a year, a US driver’s license is required. If you want to drive in the US, make sure you get a copy of the I-94 form when you enter the country .
  • Germany – your Indian driving license is valid for the first 6 months. Even if it’s not mandatory, it’s good to have an International Driving Permit with you, as well as a German translated copy of your license. By the way, what I really love about Germany is that many roads don’t have speed limits?
  • South Africa – your Indian driver’s license has to be in English. Plus, it should have the photograph and your signature. If you have it all, that’s it, you can drive. I also recommend that you should have the International Driving Permit if you want to rent a car in South Africa. Don’t forget it’s one of these countries where you drive on the left side of the road.
  • Australia – your license is valid on all the roads in New South Wales, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. In Northern Australia you only can drive for 3 months. You of course can only drive vehicles that your Indian license allows you to drive. Don’t forget that in Australia you drive on the left side of the road.
  • France – your Indian driving license is fully accepted, assuming that you have its French translation with you. The license is then valid for a year.
  • Switzerland – your Indian driver’s license is valid for one year to drive the whole country. Make sure you have an English copy of your license to be able to drive.
  • Norway – your Indian driver’s licence is valid for 3 months. Your Indian driving licence must be in English, though.
  • New Zealand – as in most countries, Indian driver’s licence is valid for one year after you enter the country. However, your licence has to be officially translated (and translation needs to be approved) by the New Zealand Transport Agency or an approved translator. If you want to rent a car, you have to be 21 or older. Of course, you only can drive the type of vehicle mentioned in your original document. In New Zealand you drive on the left side of the road.
  • Great Britain – your Indian driving passport is valid for one year. You can use it on all British roads in England, Scotland and Whales. However, you can only drive small motor vehicles  and motorcycles in some cases.
  • Mauritius – you can drive across the island with your Indian driver’s licence for four weeks after you entered it. You can only drive the type of vehicle mentioned in your document. If you want to rent a car, make sure you have the International Driving Permit.

Other European countries that allow you to drive with an Indian licence (the rules are pretty the same) are: Italy, Austria, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Malta. Beyond Europe – Hongkong, Singapore, Canada and Malaysia.

Some General Rules on the Road in the Netherlands

If you’re a foreigner, you should keep in mind some general rules to follow:

  • Overtaking and passing – overtaking is prohibited at a pedestrian crossing. You can overtake trams on the night, assuming that persons boarding or leaving are not inconvenienced.  
  • Priority – you have to give way to all vehicles on the priority road (if the intersection is marked with a priority road ahead sign or a STOP sign or a line of white triangles painted across the road). Vehicles on a roundabout have priority over those joining. If you join a roundabout, you should give way to the left to vehicles that are already on the roundabout. If you leave a roundabout, drivers may have to give way to pedestrians and cyclists (it depends on a distance between the roundabout and crossing).
  • Trams have priority at the intersection of roads. Also, emergency vehicles have priority over all other traffic when they flash blue lights.

If you are a foreigner in Amsterdam, you may be interested in where to park cheap. To find out, go to the article.

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1 comment

Antony Joseph April 10, 2020 - 5:20 am

I have a couple of queries:
1) Will I be able to get my Indian Driving License exchanged to Dutch if I am a student with a valid Residence Permit?
2) Will the exchanged license be valid across the EU?
3) Will I be able to drive in India after the exchange is complete?


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