Getting your licence - Graduated Licensing Scheme
The Graduated Licensing Scheme helps new drivers gain experience and become safer drivers by spreading the learning process over 4 years.
As you gain more driving experience and your skills improve, you ‘graduate’ to the next licence step – from learner, to P1, P2 and then finally a full, unrestricted licence.
In 2016, P1 and P2 licence holders made up just 8% of all NSW drivers, yet accounted for 15% of fatalities in road accidents. P1 drivers are also 10 times more likely to be in a crash than learner drivers.
The rules and restrictions placed on L, P1 and P2 drivers are designed to help keep you safe as you develop your driving skills.
The Graduated Licensing Scheme is a key component of the NSW Government’s commitment to road safety and the Towards Zero campaign to reduce the road toll.
It takes at least 4 years to progress through all the licence stages.
Changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme from 20 November 2017
Changes are coming to the testing you need to progress through the 4 licensing stages. In addition, P2 drivers who get suspended for unsafe driving will end up adding an extra 6 months to the time they need to spend on their P2 licence. Read more about these changes about Changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme from 20 November 2017
Overview – from learner to full licence
You need to complete 7 steps to progress from a learner to a full licence:
- Pass the Driver Knowledge Test to get your learner licence
- Hold your learner licence for at least 12 months, and complete 120 hours of supervised driving practice, including 20 hours of night driving (unless you’re 25 or older)
- Pass the Driving Test to get your provisional P1 (red) licence
- Hold your P1 licence for at least 12 months
- Pass the Hazard Perception Test (HPT) to get your provisional P2 (green) licence
- Hold your P2 licence for at least 2 years (24 months)
- Pass the Driver Qualification Test (DQT) to get your full, unrestricted licence.
Converting an interstate or overseas licence to a NSW equivalent
If you hold a licence from another Australian state or territory, or from another country, you may be able to convert it to a NSW equivalent.
See Moving to NSW for information.
Getting a motorcycle rider licence
See Rider licences for information.
Getting a heavy vehicle licence
To drive a heavy vehicle you need a licence of the appropriate class. The main way to get a heavy vehicle licence is to complete Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment with a registered training provider.
See Heavy vehicle licences for more information.
Getting a tow truck driver licence
See Tow trucks for more information.
Getting a taxi driver licence
Taxi drivers in NSW must hold a NSW driver licence and a Taxi Driver Authority. For information, visit the Transport for NSW website.
Taking your photo
Roads and Maritime is authorised under NSW law to take and use your photo when we issue you a licence. See Taking your photo for more information.
Changes coming to the Graduated Licensing Scheme from 20 November 2017
Important information for learner, P1 and P2 drivers.
From Monday, 20 November 2017, there are some changes for learner, P1 and P2 drivers:
- Learner drivers will have to pass the Hazard Perception Test before they can attempt the driving test
- P1 drivers will no longer have to pass the Hazard Perception Test to apply for a P2 licence. As long as you pass the Hazard Perception Test before you were issued your P1 licence, and you’ve held your P1 licence for at least 12 months, you can apply for your P2 licence without taking a test
- The Driver Qualification Test is being removed, so after 20 November 2017 if you've had your P2 licence for at least 24 months, you can apply for your full licence without doing a test. This is only for P2 licences issued from 20 November. See P2 for more information.
If your P2 licence is suspended for getting too many demerit points, or for a higher risk offence like speeding by 30km/h or more, you will need to spend an extra 6 months on your P2 licence. Also remember that any time spent suspended does not count towards the 24 months you need before you can apply for your full licence. You'll need to complete an extra 6 months for every suspension received while on your P2 licence.
I already have my learner, P1 or P2 licence – how will the changes affect me?
If you already have a learner licence, and you haven’t progressed to a P1 licence by 20 November 2017, you will need to pass the Hazard Perception test before you can book your driving test.
This applies to all learner licence holders, even if you’re 25 or older.
Under 25s: You need to hold your learner licence for at least 10 months before you can sit the Hazard Perception Test.
25 or over: You can take the Hazard Perception Test at any time before you book your driving test.
Remember the Hazard Perception Test (HPT) for learners does not last forever. If you wait more than 15 months without passing the driving test, you’ll have to do the HPT again.
If you got your P1 licence before 20 November 2017, you will need to pass the Hazard Perception Test before you can apply for your P2 licence. This applies whether you apply for your P2 before or after 20 November 2017.
If you renew your P1 licence you’ll still need to pass the Hazard Perception Test before you can apply for your P2 licence but only if you haven’t done one earlier.
Remember you need to hold your P1 licence for at least 12 months before you can apply for a P2 licence.
If you got your P2 licence before 20 November 2017, you will need to pass the Driver Qualification Test before you can apply for a full licence. This applies whether you apply for your full licence before or after 20 November 2017.
If you renew your P2 licence on or after 20 November 2017 and are suspended for unsafe driving you will need to do an extra 6 months on your P2 licence before applying for a full unrestricted licence. P2 licences issued after 20 November do not need to do the DQT.
Do these changes apply to riders?
No. These changes only apply to car learner, P1 and P2 licences.
See Rider licences for information on how to get a motorcycle rider licence.
I’m over 25 – do these changes apply to me?
Yes, these changes apply to you even if you’re 25 or older.
The only exception for learners aged 25 and older is that you don’t need to complete 120 hours driving on your learner licence.
Reminder: ALL mobile phone use is banned for novice drivers and riders
Learner, P1 and P2 drivers and riders must not use any function of a mobile phone while driving or riding, or when stationary but not parked. This includes using hands-free or speaker mode, or to use GPS functions.
You must be safely parked out of the line of traffic to use a mobile phone.
If you are caught using your phone in any way while driving or riding, you will be fined, and get 4 demerit points.
More information about using mobile phones while driving or riding.
What is the reason for these changes?
Transport for NSW recently led an Austroads project to develop a best practice model for graduated licensing. This work identified features that should be included in a best practice graduated licensing scheme. This model has since been endorsed by all Australian States and Territories.
The changes we are making in November 2017 will align the NSW system with this new model, and better prepare novice drivers for real world road hazards. These changes will also help drive the road toll towards zero.
By taking the Hazard Perception Test, learner drivers will be more prepared for common crash scenarios before they start driving unsupervised.
The new suspension rules for P2 drivers will make sure that novice drivers have a good driving record before they can apply for a full licence. The extra 6 months a suspended driver will need to spend on their P2 licence restrictions will encourage safer driving behaviour. Restrictions applying to P2 licence holders are speed, a zero blood alcohol level and bans on high performance vehicles.