Driving in Australia on an Overseas Driver's Licence
Overseas drivers visiting Australia, who do not hold a permanent visa, will be regarded as 'visiting drivers' and can use their valid overseas licence to drive. Most Australian states and territories (the exception being the Northern Territory) allow visiting drivers to drive indefinitely on their overseas licence as long as it is current. It is only when there is a change in visa/citizenship status or the overseas licence expires that an overseas driver is required to take out an Australian issued driver licence. In the Northern Territory a person is required to obtain a Northern Territory issued driver's licence after three months or apply to be granting an exemption from holding a local licence if they wish to continue to drive.
It is important to remember that a person can only drive vehicles which their overseas licence authorises them to drive and they must drive according to any conditions on their overseas licence.
Please be aware that a person who is driving in Australia must carry the overseas licence with them at all times whilst driving along with either an International driving permit OR an English translation if the overseas licence is not written in English.
A person who is entering Australia on a permanent visa or is a permanent resident may drive on their current overseas licence for a maximum of three months after arriving in Australia. If they wish to continue to drive after three months, an Australian issued driver's licence must be obtained in the jurisdiction in which the person is residing.
Driver Licences from Recognised Countries
Australian state and territory driver licensing authorities recognise certain overseas country's driver licences. Individual applicants from the countries listed below - excluding applicants from external territories of those recognised countries - are exempt from undertaking knowledge and drive/ride tests when applying for a car and/or a motorcycle licence.
-Bosnia and Herzegovina*
-Isle of Man
New Zealand also recognises certain overseas country's driver licences. For information about which countries are recognised, or how to become a recognised country for New Zealand, please visit www.nzta.govt.nz
* As of 1 March 2013, Queensland are unable to recognise Bonsia and Herzegovina driver licences due to legislative amendments being required. These legislative amendments are scheduled for mid 2013 which will enable Queensland to recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Experienced Driver Recognition
Countries whose licence testing standards meet the stringent assessment criteria relating to evidence of identity, security features of the card and licence examiner training and assessment standards but do not meet all of the licence testing requirements will be considered for Experienced Driver Recognition status. The new experienced driver recognition category aims to recognise a person’s driving experience and age as a substitute for licensing measures aimed at novice drivers.
The following countries have obtained Experienced Driver Recognition status by Austroads:
-Republic of Korea
A person who holds a driver licence from one of these countries and is 25 years of age or older may be able to exchange their overseas licence for an Australian issued driver licence without testing**.
A person who holds a driver licence from one of these countries and is under 25 years of age will be required to undertake theory and practical driving tests. If a person passes the tests set by the jurisdiction, their overseas licence will be converted, based on years of driving experience and age, to the class of licence they would have been on had they commenced driving in that Australian jurisdiction.
**Legislative change is required in Queensland to enable these licences to be recognised for exchange without testing. Legislative amendments are scheduled for mid 2013. Barring any unforeseen delays, upon amendment of the legislation, Queensland will also recognise the above driver licences for experienced driver recognition.
Individual applicants - more information
Individuals seeking conversion of an overseas licence should make direct contact with the relevant Australian or New Zealand road authority. Click on the appropriate link below for requirements.
Austroads is the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities and within its structure a number of panels or task forces manage the development of national consistency for different aspects of road transport regulation.
In order to assist those countries seeking recognition of their driving licences, a panel has been established to assess the application in order that their citizens may enjoy the privilege of obtaining an Australian licence without the need to undertake any additional practical or theoretical tests.
Please provide both an electronic and hard copy of the following documents:
Sample licence document of each class/category issued by your country
Sample/s of test papers and score sheets (theory and practical) used by your agency to assess driver competence.
The information provided in your application must be true and correct. Applications need to be made at a national level and submitted from the head of your country's agency responsible for driver licence administration. If at a later date the assessment panel discovers that the information is false, the recognition may be withdrawn.
While your application will be assessed by Austroads, the individual State and Territory licensing authorities of Australia retain responsibility for providing recognition. It should be noted that each of these authorities is committed to being consistent in recognising countries approved by Austroads.
Criteria for assessment
A number of key components make up driver licensing regimes in Australia. These components are considered essential to licensing arrangements in Australia and are used as a guide to the assessment of your application. The components are:
Evidence of Identity requirements
Licence examiners/competency assessors
Australian driver licensing standards
The Assessment Panel will look for minimum comparable standards to those adopted by Australia in determining eligibility for licence recognition.
Criterion 1 - Licensing Systems
Minimum learner driver period
Supervision by drivers who hold an unrestricted driver's licence
Licence conditions or restrictions imposed on novice drivers
Criterion 2 - Testing Regime (elements of driving tests)
All Australian jurisdictions include the following basic elements in a practical driving test; - pre-drive check (mirrors, signalling, indicators, horn, seatbelt etc.) - lane changes - approach - position stop - judgement - turning manoeuvres - progress and position on road - car control - safety margin - low speed manoeuvres (reverse parking, angle park, point to point reverse, 3 point turn).
The minimum drive test duration is 20 minutes.
Criterion 3 - Evidence of Identity (EOI) Requirements
Australia has developed a national Administrative Guideline for assessing EOI. A copy of the Guideline is included with the application form.
Criterion 4 - Driver Licence Card
A driver licence document must contain a photo of the licensed driver or there must be some other official government issued identity document which contains a photo which is issued to all citizens. Security features of the driver licence card will also be assessed.
Criterion 5 - Licence Examiners
Formal training and performance monitoring of examiners to ensure that consistent driver testing practices are maintained to acceptable levels.
Applicant's for an Australian issued driver's licence who hold a driver's licence from a non recognised country, are required to undertake a theory test and a practical driving test. If a person passes both the theory and practical tests, their overseas licence will be converted, based on years of driving experience and age, to the class of licence they would have been on had they commenced driving in that Australian jurisdiction.