Immigrating to Germany from the USA Has Been a Headache for Us!

Moving to any new country is a HUGE ordeal. Here are the problems we’ve faced since immigrating to Germany. From challenges with my resident permit to getting a German driver’s license to health insurance. It’s been one hurdle after another, but then I got some good news. Watch the video to find out what happened.

Immigrating to Germany from the USA has Been a Headache for Us

Immigrating to Germany Has been a Headache for Us!

Will Germany let me stay here and live? We’ve been dealing with issues with my residence permit since we arrived, and we are just now ready to tell you about it! It’s been a big headache, to be honest, so today, we fill you in on what’s been going on. We also share what’s going on with my driver’s license and whether or not I’ve been able to get health insurance here! ACK! Three big things to make life living in another country safe and possible.

Immigrating to Germany for Americans – Driver’s License

The issue is that some American states have a reciprocity agreement with Germany, and others don’t. I’m one of the lucky ones whose state has no agreements. After six months of immigrating to Germany, all Americans must either trade in their American license for a German one (easy to do with a reciprocity agreement) or take a driving theory test, or possibly more, to get a German driving license.

Here are the states with reciprocity agreements:

According to the US embassy website, license holders from these states can submit an application for a German driver’s license directly to their local Stadtverwaltung (Führerscheinstelle). An applicant will usually be asked to present the following documents:

  • an official identification document such as a passport
  • a residency registration certificate from the Einwohnermeldeamt
  • the original U.S. license, together with a German translation
  • a statement by the applicant that the license is still valid
  • a recent photograph (35mm x 45 mm)
  • Documentation of a recent eye test is also often required.
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington State
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Puerto Rico

Here are the states with partial reciprocity agreements:

  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Florida
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • District of Columbia

License holders from these states should also approach their local Stadtverwaltung (Führerscheinstelle) to submit an application for a German license and to be registered for the written test. The test can be taken in English, costs approximately EUR 40, and includes a separate test of German license-related vocabulary.

Every effort has been made to make this information sheet factual and useful. It will be republished periodically as facts and conditions change. However, the final authority on driving in Germany rests with the German Ministry of Transport

Don’t See Your State on the List?

Then you’re as lucky as I am! Ugh. I have to take 1-6 driving lessons, then take the driving theory test AND take a practical driving test. I had to have my license translated, take a CPR course, a sight test, and have pictures taken (Passbilder) for the license.

The App I Used to Study

I downloaded an app, Führershein Gold, to study for the test. It has taken me 3-4 months to study because I’m a mom of four and have a full-time job. The other reason it can take so long is that there are more than 1,100 questions we must study! The test is given in 27 different languages, which is awesome. For Americans, though, it’s a little tricky because the test is in British English. There are words and phrases I’ve never heard of, like “sunken kerbstones.”

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