Online driver’s testing eases transition to Germany

by Senior Airman Chad E. Bradshaw
435th Vehicle Readiness Squadron

How would you like to arrive in Germany and not have to worry about testing for your driver’s license?

A portion of the stress Airmen and their dependents may experience during a move to Germany can come from having to test for a U.S. Army in Europe driver’s license, which all members and eligible dependants must have before operating a privately owned vehicle in Germany.

To make the process of obtaining a USAREUR driver’s license much easier and far less stressful, vehicle operations managers at Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe have implemented a new process that gives Airmen a new option to test prior to arriving to alleviate some of the stress associated with an overseas move.

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Armes, a member of the 603rd Air Operations Center who tested after arriving at Ramstein, said he believes testing prior to arriving would have taken the pressure off him while trying to in-process the base and care for his expecting wife and 3-year old child.

Under the new process, active-duty Airmen with assignments to Germany should contact their departing installation’s education office to obtain study materials necessary to prepare for the driving exam. When the Airman is ready to test, the education office will schedule and proctor the exam. Upon passing, information is entered into the USAFE Drivers License Testing online system, which establishes the Airman’s eligibility to apply for the USAREUR license upon arrival in Germany.

Since the test is Common Access Card enabled, eligible dependents are unable to pre-test.

Capt. Frank Copous, from Headquarters 17th Air Force, said the testing process he went through at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, was very relaxed, and the information provided online was more than adequate to successfully complete the test.

Currently, there are 58 bases participating in this initiative with 11 bases remaining to come online by the end of July. The current pass rate for the pre-testers is 98 percent, as opposed to 65 to 70 percent for first-time testers already on station. Members who choose to test before arrival will only need to fill out an application form, pay the application fee and attend a local conditions briefing before operating any vehicle.

By completing pre-arrival testing, Airmen are able to drive their POVs days, sometimes weeks, before they would normally complete the licensing process after arrival.

Additionally, Captain Copous highlighted the ability to study in the comfort of his own home as one of the benefits of this new program.

Another short-term benefit is it allows Airmen to quickly complete other in-processing tasks, thus easing their integration into their units and the USAFE mission.

The ability to personally drive a POV while house hunting, attending mandatory appointments, or establishing dependent care reduces stress on Airmen and their families once they arrive in Germany.

For more information about USAREUR licensing or the testing process, check out the Newcomers tab on the Ramstein Public Web site at  or the USAREUR Driver’s handbook posted on the USAFE page on the Air Force Portal at