As U.S. driver’s licenses are not issued by the Federal Government but by individual State governments, the U.S. Consulate General and U.S. Embassy in The Netherlands will not be involved in any way when you exchange your U.S. license for a Dutch license.
Tourists are allowed to drive in the Netherlands on a valid state license, preferably in combination with an International Driver’s License which may be obtained in the United States through the AAA.
U.S. Drivers Licenses
In the United States, driver’s licenses are issued by state governments through their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Please see http://www.dmvusa.com/ for further information on how to renew or replace a U.S. driver’s license.
The Embassy or Consulate General have no authority to issue, amend or extend any U.S. driver’s licenses. This can only be done by a DMV.
Obtaining a Dutch Drivers License
Driver’s licenses issued in an EU member state, Lichtenstein, Norway or Iceland, are valid in the Netherlands. Driver’s licenses issued in all other countries can only be used for 185 days after making residence in the Netherlands, after which you will need to apply for a Dutch driver’s license.
Information regarding the issuance of a Dutch license on the basis of a valid U.S. license may be obtained from the Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen (Dutch Driver’s Licenses Bureau). For more information see the Dutch government’s websites at www.cbr.nl and www.rijbewijs.nl these sites both have information available in English.
Applications for a Dutch driver’s license must be initiated at the Gemeentehuis (city hall) in one’s place of residence.
Neither the Embassy nor the Consulate General is able to assist you in this procedure.
Driving in the Netherlands
In order to drive a car in the Netherlands you must be over 18 years, have a valid license, third party insurance and be operating a registered vehicle.
For more information see the Dutch Ministry of Transport’s website.
Other useful sites:
- The State Department Travel Website on road safety
- From this same site: specific information on The Netherlands
- Department of Road Transportation www.rdw.nl
- Dutch Customs www.douane.nl [English Section]
- Central Office for Motor Vehicle Tax www.belastingdienst.nl (English Section)