International drivers and riders

You are not considered to be a visitor to NSW if you are a permanent resident or hold a permanent visa under the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958. You are allowed to drive or ride in NSW on a current overseas licence for up to three months, once you have taken up residency in NSW.

After three months, you MUST obtain a NSW licence to continue driving or riding.

Plan ahead – your card may be posted to you

We’re changing the way we print and issue photocards. At certain locations, when you apply for a licence, your card will be posted to you at no extra cost.

When you apply for or renew your licence you will be given a paper receipt. The receipt will act as proof of licence status until your new photo licence arrives.

See Centralised photocard printing for more information.

Transferring to a NSW licence

Roads and Maritime Services requires information on the first issue date of your overseas licence, in order to determine the type of licence you are eligible for, if it is not displayed on the overseas licence.

Overseas licence holders who have held their valid unrestricted driver or rider licence for three years or more, and are over 25 years of age may declare their first issue date on the Licence Application form.

Otherwise, you may obtain a letter from the licence issuing authority, or a letter from the relevant consulate or diplomatic office, confirming your overseas licence details and status.  The letter must be on official letterhead and must include the first issue date of your licence.  If the letter or overseas licence is not in English, an official translation is required.

Before a NSW licence is issued, you need to present your overseas licence so the details can be verified and recorded.

If you cannot produce your overseas licence, you will need to provide: 

  • A letter from the overseas licence issuing authority confirming your licence details and status, or 
  • A letter from a relevant consulate or diplomatic office (based on information received from the overseas licence issuing authority) confirming your licence details and status.

To obtain a NSW driver or rider licence you must be 17 years of age or older. You must complete the following at a registry or ServiceNSW centre:

  • Proof of identity. You need to provide two proof of identity documents - one from List 1 and one from List 2
  • Proof of your NSW address. If your List 1 or List 2 identity documents do not show your address, you will need to provide a further document proving your address
  • Proof of Australian Permanent Residency. Special licensing requirements for temporary overseas visitors apply unless you can show proof of Australian permanent residency
  • Present your overseas licence. Important: If you overseas licence is not written in English, you need to provide an official translation from the NSW Community Relations Commission for a Multi-Cultural NSW
    • Translations from the free translating service provided by the Department of Social Services (DSS), Consulate-General of the Republic of Korea (for South Korean licence holders only) and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (for Taiwanese licence holders only) are also acceptable
    • All other means of translations are NOT acceptable
  • Pass an eyesight test. Tests may be conducted at the registry or Service NSW centre. A certificate from a general practitioner, ophthalmologist or optometrist is also acceptable
  • Pass a knowledge test for each class of licence required, unless you are exempt
  • Pass a driving test for each calss of licence required, unless you are exempt
  • Pay the licence fee
  • Have your photo taken by customer service staff for your NSW licence.

A NSW driver licence will then be issued. See Centralised photocard printing for more information.

Once a NSW driver licence is issued, please note the following information:

It is a legal requirement under Australian licensing laws that only one licence can be used for driving in Australia. Once you have been issued a NSW driver or rider licence, your overseas licence is no longer recognised and has no authority whilst you are holding a NSW licence. When driving in NSW, you must comply with any conditions, restrictions or limitations that apply to your NSW licence.  If you are requested by NSW Police to produce your licence in relation to a driving matter, you must produce your NSW licence.

If you continue to hold overseas visitor status, you may surrender your NSW driver licence (including a learner licence) at a registry at any time. This is as long as the NSW driver licence is not suspended or cancelled. If you surrender your NSW driver licence, you may resume driving under the authority of your overseas licence as long as you are not disqualified from driving, you have not failed a driving test, your visiting driver privileges have not been withdrawn and your overseas licence remains current and valid.

If your NSW driver licence expires, it must be renewed if you wish to continue driving in NSW. You may not resume driving under the authority of your overseas licence unless your NSW driver licence, even if expired, has been surrendered.

Within three months of residing in NSW, you will need to obtain a NSW licence to continue driving. Refer to the following section for the type of licence you are eligible for.

Driver licence

 

If you have held your overseas driver licence for:You will be issued a:
Less than 12 monthsNSW provisional P1 driver licence
More than 12 months but less than three yearsNSW provisional P2 driver licence
More than three yearsNSW unrestricted driver licence

 

You must be at least 16 years of age to transfer a current overseas car learner licence to a NSW class C learner licence.

Note: This is subject to all other relevant Roads and Maritime Services licensing requirements being met.

You must complete the required driving test for each class of licence unless you are exempt. If you fail the driving test, your visiting driving privileges will be withdrawn. To continue to drive in NSW, you must obtain a learner licence before attempting another driving test. A learner driver log book is not required.

Rider licence

If you hold a current overseas provisional or unrestricted rider licence you must successfully complete the Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (if you live in a declared area) or a Rider Driving Test (if you live outside a declared area). Should you fail the relevant test, you can apply for a NSW rider learner licence and are exempt from attending the pre-learner rider training course.

If you hold a current overseas learner rider licence you must successfully complete rider testing. If you failed the test, your visiting riding privileges are withdrawn. To continue to ride in NSW, you must obtain and complete the requirements of a learner rider licence before attempting another riding test. This includes successfully completing the pre-learner rider training course.

Exemptions from licence tests

You may not be required to pass a knowledge test or practical test if:

  • You have previously held the relevant Australian licence that expired within the last five years. Confirmation may be required from the issuing authority
  • You hold a current New Zealand licence (not a New Zealand learner licence or paper licence)
  • You are applying for a NSW licence and you hold a current relevant overseas licence (not a learner licence), or one that expired within the last five years, from a country recognised as having comparable licensing standards to Australia. See Licences from recognised countries for more information.

Note: If you wish to apply for a NSW rider licence and do not hold an overseas licence from a ‘recognised country’, you must pass a Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (MOST).

Visitors

From 18 April 2008, special licensing arrangements apply to visiting overseas drivers and riders who want to obtain a NSW licence for the first time. For more information see Temporary overseas visitors obtaining a NSW licence.