If you have come to Germany as a refugee, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (“BAMF”) will take care of your asylum application. During this process, they will ask you to hand in all ID documents including your driving licence, therefore you are not allowed to drive. The BAMF will then send your documents to the immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) who will decide which type of residence you should receive. Once these papers have been issued, the immigration office will hand back your documents. Until then, you won’t have your driving licence and will as mentioned before not be allowed to drive. In addition to that, your licence is only valid for the first six months after registering in Germany. The asylum procedure can take much longer. That means you probably won’t be allowed to drive once your licence has been returned. In this case, you will need to transfer your national driving licence to its German equivalent (“Umschreibung”).
If you have come to Germany with a work or study visa, have registered a primary residence here and hold a driving licence from a country that isn’t part of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), your licence will only be valid for six months. After that you will no longer be allowed to drive. That means you will eventually need a German driving licence. The specific requirements depend on your country of origin.
If you are only visiting, you are allowed to drive in Germany with your national driving licence. However, it won’t be valid if you have not yet reached the minimum age required for driving a vehicle in Germany. Depending on your country of origin, you might need an international driving licence. Whenever you drive a car or any other motor vehicle, you have to carry your licence with you. You can find out if yours is valid on the website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.