Having an Australian Drivers Licence is super handy, because it means you can get between clients easily, as well as drive them around too. Your day is demanding enough without the hassle of transport options! Being able to drive gives you more convenience and opportunities, opening up a whole new world for you and your clients.
If you’ve come from overseas and have an international driver’s licence or one issued outside of Australia, you may be eligible for a different process. Each state handles this differently based on your visa and driving history, so it’s best to check directly with your local licence body.
It can become confusing if you’re unfamiliar with how it all works. To help make your experience as simple as possible, we’ve put together the below insights about how you can get an Australian Drivers Licence all around the country.
New South Wales
If you’re looking to transfer an overseas licence to a NSW one, your process can be different. Permanent residents and visa holders can use an overseas licence for the first 3 months you’re in the state and make a transfer during this time. This may mean taking some driving tests in getting your learner’s licence as well as your provisional licences, especially if you’re a young driver.
For visitors that hold temporary visas, you don’t need to have a NSW licence, as long as you meet certain conditions. These include holding a current licence in an English speaking country, having your visa remaining temporary, carrying your passport while driving to prove your visa status, and a clean history without licence disqualifications or suspensions.
Here is a handy link that help get you started: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/transfer-overseas-driver-licence
Licences in Victoria come from VicRoads. For detailed information, see their website here.
If you have an overseas licence and are a permanent resident or visa holder, you can drive without a Victorian licence for the first 6 months you are in the state. After this time you’ll need to apply for a Victorian one. If you’re from one of the recognised countries by VicRoads you may be exempt from taking any tests.
Temporary visa holders do not need a Victorian licence, so long as they have an overseas licence or international driving permit in English or with an English translation.
The Queensland Government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (also known as TMR) is responsible for licensing in the state. Their website is here.
New permanent residency or visa holders with an overseas licence don’t need a Queensland licence for the first 3 months of their stay in the state. After this time, they need to apply for a Queensland licence, and this process can differ depending on your home country and driving experience. It’s best to check directly with the Department of Transport which process applies to you.
Visit the following link for more information: https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/licensing/driver-licensing/overseas/transfer
Australian Capital Territory
Access Canberra is the organisation that you need to go through for licensing in the ACT. Find full information about licences on their website here.
To transfer an overseas driver licence into an ACT one, you may be required to undertake the licence procedure in getting your L’s and provisional licences. Exemptions apply for approved countries, available to search via Road Ready ACT.
The Transport division of the Tasmanian Government handles driver’s licences. Their website is accessible here.
If you have an overseas licence, you will need to transfer it over to a Tasmanian one within 3 months of your arrival. If you’re from a recognised country and over 25 years old, you likely won’t have to complete any of the above tests. However, if you’re under 25 and/or are from an unrecognised country, you will be required to take some tests to make the transfer.
Getting your licence in SA can be done through Service SA. Find lots of information on their site here.
If you become a permanent resident of SA, you’ll need to apply for a local licence within 90 days of your arrival to the state. This includes if you’ve just moved from another Australian state. The SA Government website has a generator that lets you know what steps you’ll need to take for your specific situation - check it out here.
The WA Government’s Department of Transport is responsible for licensing in the state, which you can get lots of information on here.
If you’re an experienced driver over 25 years old from a recognised country, you will be exempt from taking tests for the transfer of your overseas licence into a WA one. Young or inexperienced drivers from unrecognised locations may be required to undertake the above tests or processes. If you have an expired licence from overseas, it may still be eligible for transfer within 12 months of its expiration.
There’s a step by step information process for overseas licence holders on the WA Government website here.
In the Northern Territory, the NT Government has lots of information about licensing to point you in the right direction. Find some of it here. If you live in a remote area of the NT, your experience may be different as it will be facilitated through DriveSafe NT.
You can drive in the NT with an overseas or interstate licence for up to 3 months, as long as the licence is current and in English. If it's not in English, you will need an international driving permit.
If you’re staying in the NT for over 3 months, but less than 12 months, you may be eligible for an exception where you don’t need to apply or a local licence. These are on a case by case basis. In any situation though, you need to visit an MVR (Motor Vehicle Registry) office, so that’s the best place to get advice on your licence requirements.
We hope this helps give you some insight into how licensing can work in Australia. Despite all the time that these processes can take, it’s certainly worth it to win some freedom for you and your clients.