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Overview of Driving Licence Categories
Overview of Driving Licence Categories

The following driving licence categories exist in the Federal Republic of Germany:

Driving licence category as from 2013Vehicle definitionDriving licence category until 2013
Driving licence category AM
Category AM

Two-wheel mopeds with

  • a maximum design speed of up to 45 km/h and
  • an electric motor or an internal combustion engine with a cubic capacity not exceeding 50 cc or
  • a maximum continuous rated power of up to 4 kW in the case of electric motors,

with or without a sidecar.

This also applies to motorized cycles meeting these requirements.

M

Three-wheel mopeds with

  • a maximum design speed of not more than 45 km/h and
  • a cubic capacity not exceeding 50 cc (for positive-ignition engines) or a maximum net power output not exceeding 4 kW (in the case of other internal combustion engines) or a maximum continuous rated power not exceeding 4 kW (in the case of electric motors).
S

Light quadricycles with

  • a maximum design speed of not more than 45 km/h and
  • a cubic capacity not exceeding 50 cc (in the case of positive-ignition engines) or
  • a maximum net power output not exceeding 4 kW (in the case of other internal combustion engines) or
  • a maximum continuous rated power not exceeding 4 kW (in the case of electric motors) and
  • an unladen mass not exceeding 350 kg (not including the mass of batteries in the case of electric vehicles).
S
Driving licence category A1
Category A1

Motorcycles with

  • a cubic capacity not exceeding 125 cc and
  • a power output not exceeding 11 kW and
  • a power-to-weight ratio not exceeding 0.1 kW/kg,

with or without a sidecar.

A1

Three-wheel motor vehicles with

  • symmetrically arranged wheels and
  • a cubic capacity of more than 50 cc for internal combustion engines or
  • a maximum design speed of more than 45 km/h and
  • a power output not exceeding 15 kW.
B
Driving licence category A2
Category A2

Motorcycles with

  • a power output not exceeding 35 kW and
  • a power-to-weight ratio not exceeding 0.2 kW/kg,

with or without a sidecar.

A (power restricted)
Driving licence category A
Category A

Motorcycles with

  • a cubic capacity of more than 50 cc or
  • a maximum design speed of more than 45 km/h,

with or without a sidecar.

A

Three-wheel motor vehicles with

  • a power output of more than 15 kW or
  • symmetrically arranged wheels and
  • a cubic capacity of more than 50 cc (for internal combustion engines) or
  • a maximum design speed of more than 45 km/h and
  • a power output of more than 15 kW.
B
Driving licence category B
Category B

Motor vehicles (except those of Categories AM, A1, A2 and A)

  • with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 3,500 kg
  • which are constructed and designed for the carriage of no more than 8 passengers in addition to the driver,

with or without a trailer

  • with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 750 kg or
  • with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 750 kg if the maximum authorized mass of the combination does not exceed 3,500 kg.

B

 





(BE)

Category B with code 96

(no separate category)

Tractor vehicle of Category B in combination with a trailer with

  • a maximum authorized mass of the trailer exceeding 750 kg and
  • a maximum authorized mass of the vehicle combination over 3,500 kg but not more than 4,250 kg.
BE
Driving licence category BE
Category BE
Tractor vehicle of Category B in combination with a trailer or semi-trailer with a maximum authorized mass of the trailer over 750 kg but not more than 3,500 kg.BE
Driving licence category C1
Category C1

Motor vehicles (except those of Categories AM, A1, A2 and A)

  • with a maximum authorized mass over 3,500 kg but not more than 7,500 kg
  • which are constructed and designed for the carriage of no more than 8 passengers in addition to the driver,

with or without a trailer with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 750 kg.

C1
Driving licence category C1E
Category C1E

Tractor vehicle of Category B in combination with

  • a trailer or semi-trailer with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3,500 kg and
  • a maximum authorized mass of the combination not exceeding 12,000 kg.
BE

Tractor vehicle of Category C1 in combination with

  • a trailer or semi-trailer with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 750 kg and
  • a maximum authorized mass of the combination not exceeding 12,000 kg.
C1E
Driving licence category C
Category C

Motor vehicles (except those of Categories AM, A1, A2 and A)

  • with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3,500 kg
  • which are constructed and designed for the carriage of no more than 8 passengers in addition to the driver,

with or without a trailer with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 750 kg.

C
Driving licence category CE
Category CE
Tractor vehicle of Category C in combination with a trailer or semi-trailer with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 750 kg.CE
Driving licence category D1
Category D1

Motor vehicles (except those of Categories AM, A1, A2 and A)

  • which are constructed and designed for the carriage of more than 8 but not more than 16 passengers in addition to the driver and
  • are not longer than 8 m,

with or without a trailer with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 750 kg.

D1
Driving licence category D1E
Category D1E
Tractor vehicle of Category D1 in combination with a trailer with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 750 kg.D1E
Driving licence category D
Category D

Motor vehicles (except those of Categories AM, A1, A2 and A) which are constructed and designed for the carriage of more than 8 passengers in addition to the driver,

with or without a trailer with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 750 kg.

D
Driving licence category DE
Category DE
Tractor vehicle of Category D in combination with a trailer with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 750 kg.DE
Driving licence category T
Category T
  • Tractors with a maximum design speed not exceeding 60 km/h and
  • self-propelled machines or self-propelled mixer wagons with a maximum design speed not exceeding 40 km/h,

which in both cases are designed to be used for agricultural or forestry purposes and are actually used for such purposes (both types of vehicles may be combined with a trailer).

T
Driving licence category L
Category L
  • Tractors designed to be used for agricultural or forestry purposes and actually used for such purposes, with a maximum design speed not exceeding 40 km/h and
  • combinations formed from these vehicles and trailers if they are driven at a speed not exceeding 25 km/h as well as
  • self-propelled machines, self-propelled mixer wagons and floor conveyors (e.g. fork-lift trucks and the like) with a maximum design speed not exceeding 25 km/h and
  • combinations formed from these vehicles and trailers.
L

No driving licence, but merely a test certificate, is required for the following motor vehicles:

Two-wheel, single-seater motorized cycles not exceeding 25 km/h (motor-assisted bicycle; special seats for children aged less than seven years may be fitted).

Neither a driving licence nor a test certificate is required for the following vehicles:

  • Motorized invalid carriages, single-seater vehicles designed for use by physically disabled persons with

    • an electric motor,
    • an unladen mass not exceeding 300 kg including batteries but excluding the driver,
    • a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 500 kg,
    • a maximum design speed not exceeding 15 km/h,
    • a maximum overall width of 110 cm.
  • Transitional provisions and special rules apply to older motorized invalid carriages with a speed exceeding 10 km/h (test certificate required).
  • Tractors designed to be used for agricultural or forestry purposes, self-propelled machines and floor conveyors (e.g. fork-lift trucks and the like), in all cases with a maximum design speed not exceeding 6 km/h, plus single-axle tractors and machines controlled by pedestrians using handles.

Carriage of passengers

For the carriage of passengers in taxis, hire cars, ambulances and passenger cars, a supplementary passenger carrying vehicle licence is required in addition to a general driving licence if the service is provided for hire or reward or on a commercial basis or if authorization is required for this service under the Carriage of Passengers Act.

Table: Comparison of driving licence categories before 1999 and as from 2013

Driving licence category before 1999VehiclesDriving licence category as from 2013
1All motorcycles (no power restrictions)A
1aMotorcycles up to 25 kW, not exceeding 0.16 kW/kgA2
1bMotorcycles up to 125 cc, not exceeding 11 kW
Maximum design speed of 80 km/h for 16- and 17-year old riders
A1
2Motor vehicles exceeding 7,500 kg
Road trains with more than three axles
C and CE
3

Motor vehicles not exceeding 7,500 kg

Road trains with up to 3 axles (i.e. a single-axle trailer may be towed; axles less than 1 m apart are regarded as one axle)

B, BE, C1 and C1E
2, 3Depending on the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle + driving licence for the carriage of passengers by bus/coachD, DE, D1, and D1E
4Two-wheel mopeds and motorized cycles up to 50 cc/50 km/hAM


National driving licence categories for vehicles not covered by the Directive

Driving licence category before 1999VehiclesDriving licence category as from 2013
5Invalid carriages, machines up to 25 km/h, tractors up to 32 km/h, with trailers up to 25 km/hL

Notes:

  • Two-stage driving licence for motorcycles
    The former Categories 1a and 1 have been subsumed into the new Category A. However, this is still a two-stage licence. Any person who first obtains a driving licence in a less powerful vehicle category is granted easier access to the next higher driving licence category (example: any person who first gains two years of experience in Category A1 – light motorcycles not exceeding 11 kW – only has to pass a practical test, but not a theory test, to obtain a Category A2 licence – motorcycles up to 35 kW. This creates an incentive to first gain experience operating less powerful two-wheel vehicles.
  • Dividing line between the passenger car and heavy goods vehicle categories
    The dividing line between the passenger car category (3/B) and the heavy goods vehicle category (2/C) has been lowered from 7,500 kg to 3,500 kg maximum authorized mass. Anyone wishing to drive vehicles between 3,500 and 7,500 kg has to obtain at least a Category C1 driving licence. Holders of Category 3 driving licences are covered by rules designed to protect their acquired rights (see "grandfathering").
  • Trailer driving licences
    Drivers wishing to tow a trailer with a maximum authorized mass of over 750 kg but not more than 3,500 kg require a separate trailer driving licence, Category E. There is an exception in Category B, which is significant primarily for caravan and horse box owners: A driving licence of this category will also suffice for trailers with a maximum authorized mass greater than 750 kg if the maximum authorized mass of the combination does not exceed 3,500 kg. What is more, on 19 January 2013, a new Category B driving licence with code 96 was introduced, which is primarily of interest for operating smaller motor vehicle/caravan combinations. It can be issued for vehicle combinations formed from a motor vehicle of Category B and a trailer with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 750 kg if the maximum authorized mass of the vehicle combination is over 3,500 kg but not more than 4,250 kg. Code 96 may only be assigned if the applicant already holds Category B driving licence or has fulfilled the licensing requirements for this category. In order for code 96 to be entered into the Category B driving licence, only a driver training, but no test, is required.
  • Two-stage driving licence in category T
    The minimum age for Category T is 16 years. Drivers under the age of 18 may only drive tractor vehicles up to 40 km/h (with trailer).