Driving licence category C1

The entry into commercial freight transport

If you want to drive a heavy truck professionally or privately, you must have a C1 driving licence. It is primarily regarded as an entry into commercial goods transport and entitles the holder to drive "trucks" weighing between 3,500 kg and 7,500 kg. Before this, however, a number of requirements must be met. On the one hand, you must be at least 18 years old and in possession of a category B driving licence. On the other hand, as with all other C categories, a medical and ophthalmological examination is required for the C1 driving licence. Since 10th September 2009, you also have to prove a basic qualification for commercial use. All other important information is summarized for you on this page.

Enough of the small car? Get the C1 license!
[Translate to English:] Steig mit dem C1 Führerschein ein in die Welt der gewerblichen Güterbeförderung.

General information on the C1 driving licence

  • Minimum age: You must be at least 18 years of age to drive a C1 truck.   
  • Documents: A valid identity card or passport, biometric passport photo, first aid course, ophthalmological certificate, medical certificate of physical and mental aptitude are required.
  • Limited: All "truck categories" are only granted for 5 years. To renew, a new medical and ophthalmological certificate must be presented.
  • Examinations: In spite of a B driving licence, a theory examination and a practical examination must be taken again for category C1.
  • You can drive that with a C1 license: Motor vehicles, with the exception of categories AM, A1, A2, A, D1 and D with a maximum permissible mass of 3,500 kg to 7,500 kg.
  • Trailer control: permissible total weight not exceeding 750 kg.
  • You will automatically receive these licence categories: none.
  • Aptitude test: A medical certificate must be presented in advance in order to issue or renew the C1 driver's licence. This includes physical and mental aptitude tests. You can find out what such a certificate looks like here.
  • Special features: If you want to use the truck for commercial goods transport, you must have a basic qualification in accordance with the Professional Drivers Qualification Act (BKrFQG). Without this, you are allowed to drive C1 trucks, but not commercially. You can find more information under "Frequently Asked Questions" on this page.
  • Another special feature: Anyone wishing to use C1 category vehicles commercially must take part in further training every 5 years after the initial qualification.

All about C1 training


The theory lessons consist of 6 lessons for 90 minutes of basic material and 6 lessons of 90 minutes class-specific additive (2 lessons, in case you are already in category D1 or D).

The theory exam consists of 30 questions. You must not exceed 10 error points, otherwise, you have failed. It should also be noted that if 2 questions with a value of 5 error points are answered incorrectly, the magic limit of 10 is reached, but in this case, the answer has failed. The examination can be taken at the earliest 3 months before the 18th birthday. 


The total number of driving lessons always depends on the individual learning progress of the student. However, there is also a certain number of compulsory lessons for the C1 driving licence category:

  • 3x country road trips of 45 minutes each
  • 1x 45-minute drive on the highway
  • 1x night trip of 45 minutes

In the test, the applicant shall demonstrate that he has the technical knowledge and practical ability to drive in an environmentally friendly manner required for the safe driving of a C1 motor vehicle. It consists of:

Part I: Departure control
Part II: Test drive, basic driving tasks

The total number of driving lessons always depends on the individual learning progress of the student.

Costs for the C1 driving licence

It is not possible to make a general statement on the total cost of a C1 driving licence. However, they clearly exceed the cost of a B driving licence. The following data are estimated values. These can vary depending on the region, driving school and individual progress of the student.

The costs for 10 practice rides and 5 special rides for the C1 driving licence amount to approx. 2,200 €.

A basic qualification is required for commercial use. The costs for this amount to a further 2,000 - 3,000 €.

The truck driving licence is normally more expensive than the B driving license.
[Translate to English:] Die Frage nach den Kosten kann nicht pauschal beantwortet werden.

Average costs:

  • Driving licence application (50 €)
  • Registration fee driving school (100 €)
  • First aid course (30 €)
  • Medical certificate (70 €)
  • Eye test by ophthalmologist (6 €)
  • Biometric passport photo (5 €)
  • Basic fee for theoretical training (500 €)
  • Practice fee driving school (250 €)
  • Practice fee TÜV (150 €)
  • Theory fee driving school (50 €)
  • Theory fee TÜV (20 €)
  • Special trips (75 € per hour)
  • Practice hour (65 € per driving hour)
  • Vehicle instruction (30 €)

Frequently Asked Questions

Since the demands placed on commercial truck drivers have steadily increased (e.g. knowledge of licences, operation of special vehicles, responsibility for high-quality loads, dealing with difficult customers, stress and strain), proof of a so-called basic qualification is indispensable. Simple driver's license training is not enough. The same applies to bus drivers. 

The European Union has therefore decided that this basic qualification must be proven when obtaining a C1 and C class driver's licence after 09 September 2009 (10 September 2008 for bus drivers). If you do not own them, you may drive vehicles of these classes privately, but no longer for the commercial transport of goods. It can be acquired in three ways:

  • Vocational training: Training for the state-recognised training occupation of "professional driver
  • Course: So-called accelerated basic qualification (140 hours of 60 minutes each) with a 90-minute theory test
  • Basic qualification: There is no training requirement here, but you must take two extensive examinations (theory 240 minutes, practice 210 minutes).

As proof of a valid basic qualification and further training, the code number 95 and the expiry date are entered in field 12 of the driver's licence (e.g. 95, 03.08.2018). If you are looking for a basic qualification, you can find all the information you need at www.eu-bkf.de.

Because health and vision can possibly deteriorate, the driver's licence of class C1 (issued from 19 January 2013) is limited to 5 years. This also applies to classes C1E, C and CE. Driver's licences issued before this date are valid until the age of 50. Only then is the time limit set at 5 years. You will find the expiry date on the back of your driver's licence (column 11). For the extension, you have to present again certificates about the medical and the ophthalmologic examination. 


  • Take care of the extension 2 to 3 months before the deadline.
  • Anyone who still drives vehicles of the C categories after the deadline has expired commits a criminal offence (driving without a driver's licence!). 

Class C1 driver's licences issued since 19 January 2013 no longer automatically include the right to carry passengers. Until now, class C1 motor vehicles with a permissible total weight of 3,500 kg to 7,500 kg could be driven, even if they were designed and built to carry 8 persons (excluding the driver). Due to the EU directive that came into force on 28 December 2016, class D1 (minibus) is now additionally required for this. This regulation also applies to category C driver's licences.

White truck drives over rural road in good weather

Find your truck driving school

To find your way into commercial freight transport now, use our search to find driving schools in your area that will support you on your way!