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BF17 – the facts at a glance

Teenagers can apply for BF17 at the age of 16½

Here is what you need to know:

  • Novice drivers taking part in the “accompanied driving at the age of 17” (BF17) are allowed to obtain their driving license at the age of 17.
  • Up until their 18th birthday, BF17 novice drivers are allowed to drive a car only if they are accompanied by a previously designated accompanying person (see below).
  • Teenagers can apply for BF17 at the age of 16½ at their local driving school and driving license authority – that is exactly six months before their 17th birthday.
  • The earliest date for the theoretical, computer-based exam is three months before the applicant turns 17. The earliest date for the practical driving test is one month before the applicant’s 17th birthday.
  • After passing the driving test applicants do not receive a regular driving license card but a test certificate. In combination with the teenager's personal ID, the test certificate serves as the official driving permission.
  • By passing the practical driving test, BF17 drivers start their two-year probationary period.
  • BF17 driving permissions are only valid within German (“BF17”) and Austrian (“L17”) borders.
  • BF17 is available for vehicle categories B (passenger cars) and BE (passenger cars with trailer). Categories L (tractors) and AM (mopeds, small motorbikes) are included by default.
  • Upon turning 18, the novice driver usually automatically receives his or her driver’s license card from the local driving license authority.
  • The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers under 21 years as well as for all novice drivers during their two-year  probationary period is 0.00‰.

In order to be a legal accompanying person, one has to meet certain requirements. He or she

  • must be at least 30 years old,
  • must have held a valid category B driving license for at least five years without gaps,
  • must not have had any major traffic violations in recent years, which means a maximum of one penalty point in the German Central Register of Traffic Offenders (FER),
  • must observe the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.5‰ when accompanying the novice driver.
  • The number of accompanying drivers is not limited. It is also not restricted to parents, relatives, etc.
  • Every person meeting the requirements (at least 30 years old, holding a class B driving license for at least five years without gaps, maximum one penalty point) can be registered as a legal accompanying passenger.


This text is based on TÜV SÜD (German technical service corporation catering to the industrial, mobility and certification sectors).

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