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Getting a Driver’s license in Australia after your migration

Being able to drive a car in a foreign country like Australia is an advantage. The driving laws and regulations differ from state to state in Australia. Most Australian states and territories allow you to drive on a valid overseas licence, while other states may need you to carry an international license along with the current foreign license. But you can only drive the vehicles it permits you to drive.

How do I get an Australian drivers licence?

To continue driving the vehicle, you need to obtain an Australian State driver’s licence within three months of arriving in Australia if you already hold the overseas driver’s license. But a temporary visa holder can drive on your overseas licence for up to 12 months. An Australian driver’s licence is also the most commonly accepted form of photo identification, which can be used to open an Australian bank account.

You may also need to clear the local Australian license test depending on which country your current license is from. The practical test, however, is mandatory unless–

  •  You have a New Zealand Driver’s License.
  •  You hold a current overseas license and have had an Australian License previously. This requirement can vary from state to state.
  •  You hold a valid driver’s license from Canada, USA, Japan and some of the EU nations with licensing system recognised by Australia.
  •  If you held your overseas license, even from a non fully-recognised country, for a number of years and pass the test.

Things you should know about the Australian Driver’s License Process

  • The computer based theory test can be taken at any RTA. There is no restriction on the number of attempts to clear the test, but you need to pay a fee of AUD 30 for each attempt.
  • One can also practise the theory test online.
  • You may lose the visiting driver privileges in case you fail the practical test
  • You need to obtain a learner license till you pass the test. The learner’s restriction like not driving alone or not exceeding speed limit of 80kph applies till you get a valid driver’s license.
  • Once you pass the practical test you are still not subject to probationary restrictions as long as you have held an overseas licence for three years.
  • Once you get the license in New South Wales (NSW), your overseas licence will be endorsed and hence it is no longer valid in the State.
  • You need proof of address in the State to get an NSW licence.
  • You generally have to carry your driving licence (whether Australian or overseas) with you at all times in Australia.

The process for getting a driver’s license in Australia is pretty simple but it really helps if you already hold an international driver’s license before migrating to the country.