Building on Lousberg Hill Copyright: RWTH Aachen  

Traveling to Neighboring Countries

Aachen has the privilege of being located in the tri-border region of Belgium and the Netherlands: RWTH Aachen’s main building easily lies about 8km from the border of Belgium and 5km from the Netherlands. A lively exchange exists between the three countries, since many Dutch, Belgians, and Germans take advantage of their neighbors for shopping and outings.

This lively exchange across the borders is made possible particularly through the Schengen Agreement, which eases inner European travel. Since the Schengen Agreement has taken effect, individuals with a valid residency permit for Germany can travel to 15 other European countries without a visa and stay there for a maximum of three months. The residency permit for the Federal Republic must of course be valid longer than the planned trip.

Some EU states (Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland) are not represented in the Schengen Agreement.

If stays in other countries (e.g. Switzerland) are planned before your arrival to Germany, you should acquire the necessary visas in your native country.

Cars and Driver’s License

If you are a citizen of a country in the European Union or EWR (Europäischer Wirschaftsraum), you can use your driver’s license during you stay in Germany. International driver’s licenses issued in your home country are also valid.

If you are from a country outside of the EU, your “valid driver’s license” must be translated and you must apply for a German driver’s license to be issued. This means that you must complete a theory and practical exam with a driving school in Germany.

Information can be obtained from the:

Dept of Transportation (Straßenverkehrsamt)
Carlo-Schmid-Str. 4
52146 Würselen
Tel.: +49-2405-697-0
Website Straßenverkehrsamt (de)

You will need the following documents in order for a driver’s license to be issued to you:

  • Passport
  • Residency permit
  • Valid driver’s license (when necessary, the German translation)
  • Vision test (can be issued by any optician)
  • Proof of participation in the course “Sofortmaßnahmen am Unfallort” (held by the Red Cross)
  • Vehicle registration, if applicable
  • Passport photo