Denmark / Living / Moving

Nightmare of swapping a foreign Driving Licence to a Danish one

By: Awino Fredrick

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Nightmare of swapping a foreign Driving Licence to a Danish one

When planning a relocation to Denmark from abroad, people likely overlook certain skills that later become necessary. For expats arriving in Denmark from lets say Africa or Asia, having something like a driving licence is a wild dream. You may understand that in certain countries, owning a car is a luxury. This reality is unlike Denmark where even teenagers spin some of the trendy cars around. For the lucky ones who take driving training before coming to Denmark, the real experience comes in when changing.

In most cases, people think that their foreign driving licence will automatically be accepted to be changed to a Danish one. Far from it. The actual process of getting the swapping done can be arduous and some faint hearted people even give up. So many stories are told or whispered of foreigners who start the process of changing their driving licence, hit a dead end in passing practical and theory driving tests in Denmark. 

Without trying to scare anyone or make it look impossible, changing a drivers licence to a Danish one isn’t just a simple process, It isn’t what you imagined that on just signs a couple of papers and then huh! you are done. Pooh no. You will have to go through forensic checks on the licence, register at a driving school, pass both theory and practical tests before the Danish one is handed over. 

It is recommended that you read: Driver’s Licence in Denmark

Driving as a foreigner in Denmark

While enjoying the amazingness stay in Denmark, driving a private car becomes an icing to it. Of course, you would want to explore and move across Denmark which isn’t easy with public transport. Having own car plus an ability to drive will be a good insurance for your comfort in Denmark. Having a car to drive in Denmark is never a big deal. The real deal is in having a driving licence.

It is a fact that public transport is perfectly aligned with schedules. But having a private car and your driver’s document gives you some high level of flexibility, control, and reliability. There are also very high chances that as a foreigner in Denmark, you may already own a car at home and have your licence.

So, while in Denmark, you will obviously find leaning on public transport quite a challenge. Therefore, the pressure to own a car and start driving will be extreme. Nonetheless, a driver’s licence in Denmark can either cost next to nothing or can burn a real hole in your pockets. 

 Is There a Universal Standard for Getting a Driver’s Licence in Denmark?

You cannot just start driving in Denmark without expecting to follow the right procedure. You must obviously ensure that your foreign drivers licence is regulated and allowed to work in Denmark. 

While driving in Denmark with a foreign driving licence follows a procedure, there is no universal standard for getting a driver’s licence. This means that both the cost and difficulty associated with obtaining a driver’s licence in Denmark is greatly varied. Hours of classes and training could require an extra fee which may keep adding up. 

But all in all, the procedure for obtaining a driver’s licence in Denmark is fairly standard but very expensive. It all adds up to the cost of theory lessons, a theory test, driving lessons, and a driving test. In Denmark, this would normally cost 10,000 DKK.

Exchanging Your EU/EEA Foreign Driving Licence for a Danish One

Foreign residents in Denmark are required to exchange their foreign licence for a Danish one after they relocate into Denmark. The rules and regulations surrounding the exchange of your foreign licence to a Danish one, depends on the country which issued your original licence. 

The exchange of your foreign licence is however expected to take place within 180 days of moving into Denmark. This is usually effective from the date on which you arrived in the country with the purpose of staying. 

If your driving licence was issued in the EEA and EU countries, then it is very possible that you can use it in Denmark. You are free to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Danish one without attracting any costs or any additional driving tests.

The good news is also possible for anybody with an Australian capital, Brazilian, Japanese, South Korean, Russian, Ukrainian, and Switzerland driver’s licence. You can freely exchange your driving licence for a Danish one if it originates from these states. 

In addition to your existing licence, for this exchange to be a success, you must also submit a medical declaration form from your doctor. Alongside this, is also a signed written declaration that you haven’t been disqualified from driving in the last five years. Moreover, your licence must not have been issued or is restricted under special conditions. 

Exchanging Your non-EU/EEA Foreign Driving Licence for a Danish One

Countries like Singapore, US, Australia, Canada. Serbia, New Zealand, Israel, Herzegovina, Chile, and Isle of Man, the same conditions mentioned above are applicable. However, you additionally must submit a declaration that you have two years’ effective Danish driving experience. 

What this means is that you must have had your driving licence and been actively driving for two years. Although the UK does not fit into the above category but, possibilities avail that you can exchange your licence for a Danish one. But this is only possible if it is in line with the EU rules before Brexit. The UK licences after January 1st of year 2021, get the same manner of treatment as those of the “third country” driving licences.

For the other foreign driving licences, an individual has the right to use it to drive in Denmark. A caveat that the use of such foreign driving licence must only be fore period not exceeding 90 days exists. But this can only be possible after you have registered as living in Denmark. The rules permit the use of foreign driving licences printed in French or English. But the Danish rules also allow Latin letters accompanied by an English, Danish, or French translation.

Should your foreign licence fail to meet the set conditions, the default would be to obtain an international licence before you can drive in Denmark. This is what is commonly referred to as a “kontrollerende koreprove” in Denmark. The control driving test will enable you to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Danish one. 

Getting a New Driver’s Licence in Denmark 

Various rules surround the exchange of a driver’s licence in Denmark given your place of origin. However, those who have never had a driver’s licence must go through a 7-hour traffic related first aid lesson. Moreover a 28-theory lesson, 4 practical manoeuvre track lessons, 16 traffic driving lessons, and 4 advanced slippery track driving lessons. All these are expected to happen before you can take a theory and driving test