The 30% ruling entitles you to exchange your foreign driving license for a Dutch driving license. You do not have to pass new Driving tests in the Netherlands. The same applies for the spouse/parntner who will be living on the same address.
Dutch Law states that a non-EU driving license is valid for 185 days after registration in the City Hall or less than 185 days if it expires sooner. The non-EU driving license can be exchanged for a Dutch one. It is only possible to exchange a VALID foreign driving license and unfortunately there is no way of working around this.
To avoid that you are not allowed to drive anymore with your foreign driving license, it is adviced to exchange your foreign driving license into a Dutch one within the 185 days period. However, it is still possible to exchange it after this 185 days period. The disadvantage is that you are not allowed to drive anymore after 185 days till the moment you have obtained your Dutch driving license.
The following documents are required to exchange your foreign driving license into a Dutch one:
- The granted 30% ruling letter from the Dutch tax authorities.
- A medical statement (in Dutch: ‘Eigen verklaring’ or ‘gezondheidsverklaring) from the CBR (the Dutch Driving License Center).*
- Your foreign driver’s license which must still be valid in the country of origin.
Exchanging your driving license means that you will lose your original one. The Dutch authorities will send your original driving license to the country of issue where you can try to get it back. Each country has different rules on if and how to get your original license back.
* A medical statement can be obtained from the municipality where you will register after arrival in the Netherlands, or where you have been registered already. A medical statement can also be obtained via the CBR website. The costs will be around € 40. You can only apply online if you have DigiD. It is advised to apply for DigiD immediately after registration in the Netherlands. Apply for DigiD is free of charge.
The process for exhanging your foreign non-EU driving license:
- Registration at your local town hall upon arrival in the Netherlands.
- Apply for the DigiD via the website https://www.digid.nl/en.
- Buy ‘Eigen verklaring’ at the local town hall or via the CBR website. Via the CBR website goes faster than via your local town hall. You should receive the letter from CBR within not more than 4 weeks stating that you can apply for the exchange.
- Make sure your 30% ruling application will be submitted at the Dutch tax authorities as soon as possible upon your arrival in the Netherlands.
- Wait for the granted 30% ruling letter.
- Upon receipt of the granted 30% ruling, make an appointment at the local town hall to exchange your foreign driving license.
- Submit all the required documents at the local town hall. See the process at the local town hall below and the required documents to submit the application.
- The local town hall will inform you once your Dutch driving license is ready for collection.
The process at local town hall:
At most local town halls you will have to schedule an appointment for exchanging your foreign driving license. Please check the website of your local town hall first. You will need to bring the following documents to the appointment at the local town hall to exchange your driving license:
- Letter from CBR stating that you can apply for the exchange
- Your 30% tax ruling
- Passport photo in colour made by a Dutch photographer (not a vending machine picture). The photograph must be: – Passport style and size (size of image 45mm x 35mm) – A recent and true likeness, showing full face, with no hat, helmet or sunglasses – Taken against a plain, evenly lit and light background
- Your original and valid driving license
- Your original passport
- Your original Dutch residence permit
- Approximately € 40 for your Dutch driving licence
- After making an appointment at the local town hall, you will receive a confirmation email of the appointment. In this email you can find the required documents as mentioned above, but please check if they request for additional documents/details, just to be sure.
The application for exchange of your driving license will be submitted by the townhall to the Government Road Transportation Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, RDW) and the appraisal process can take between 3 to 6 weeks. During this period you do not have an original and valid driving license in hand, and therefore you are not allowed to drive during this processing time. If you still would like to drive, you can risk a fine and you will not be insured.