Provisional P1 licence

If you’re 17 or older, have completed your Learner Driver Log Book, and have held your learner licence for at least 12 months, you can attempt the driving test. If you pass, you’ll be issued a provisional P1 licence.

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.

More information about centralised photocard printing.

Getting your P1 licence

To apply for your P1 licence, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Have held a learner licence for at least 12 months, unless you’re 25 or older
  • Have logged at least 120 hours driving time in your Learner Driver Log Book, including at least 20 hours of night driving, unless you’re 25 or older
  • Prove your identity
  • Pass an eyesight test 
  • Pay the licence and test fees, unless you’re eligible for a concession
  • Pass the driving test.

Once you pay the required fees and pass the driving test, your photo will be taken. Depending on which location you attend, your licence card will either be handed over the counter or posted to you. If it’s posted, you’ll receive a temporary paper licence, which you can use to learn to drive, until your new card arrives.

Your P1 licence is valid for 18 months. If you’ve not progressed to a P2 licence at the end of the 18 months, you can renew your licence. You do not need to take the driving test again.

Restricted P1 licence pilot – remote areas

If you’re under 25 and live in a specified remote area, you can apply for a restricted P1 licence after you’ve logged only 50 hours practical driving experience (including at least 10 hours of night driving) in your Learner Driver Log Book.

The restricted P1 licence is designed to allow you to drive to work, education and medical related appointments. After six months, the restricted conditions will automatically expire, and the standard P1 rules will apply for the rest of your P1 licence period.

The restricted P1 licence is being piloted for two years, and aims to help young people living in remote areas access health, education and work opportunities by providing easier access to their provisional licence, under strict conditions.

Conditions on a restricted P1 licence

In addition to the usual rules that apply to a P1 licence, the restricted P1 licence may only be used for the following reasons:

Trip purpose Where/when you can drive
Education
  • To or from education facilities/institutions or courses
  • As part of an education course
  • To enrol in an education course
  • To, from, and in the course of, vocational training.
Employment
  • To, from, and in the course of, paid employment
  • Seeking paid employment (eg a job interview)
  • To, from, and in the course of, formal community service (eg Rural Fire Service or SES).
Medical appointments and/or treatment
  • To or from medical or health support, for yourself or another person.

Note: You’re allowed to take a reasonable break during any of these trips for food, fuel and rest.

Who’s eligible?

You can apply for the restricted P1 licence if:

  • You live in Brewarrina, Walgett, Bourke, Broken Hill, Balranald or Hay
  • You’ve completed at least 50 hours on-road supervised driving, including at least 10 hours of night driving 
  • You’ve held your learner licence for 12 months
  • You’ve passed a driving test.

How to apply

If you’re eligible, you can book a driving test by calling 13 22 13, or visiting the local registry or service centre in the areas listed.

Rules for P1 drivers

In addition to complying with the NSW Road Rules, you must:

  • Only drive cars. You cannot apply to upgrade your licence to a higher class
  • Display P plates (red P on a white background) clearly on the front and back of the vehicle, on the outside. The letter P on the plate must not be hidden. If you’re towing a trailer, a P plate must be on the back of the trailer
  • Observe a maximum speed limit of 90 km/h, and observe the posted speed limit, where it’s below 90 km/h
  • Only tow trailers up to 250 kilograms of unloaded weight. You must display a P plate (red P on a white background) on the back of the trailer while towing
  • Not exceed zero blood alcohol concentration. This means you cannot have any alcohol in your system when you drive a vehicle. It’s also illegal to drive under the influence of drugs
  • Not supervise a learner driver
  • Ensure all occupants, including yourself, are in a seat that has a seatbelt or an approved restraint fitted, and that each passenger is using the seatbelt or restraint
  • Not use any mobile phones, including hand free devices or loudspeaker, while driving or while your vehicle is stopped, but not parked
  • Only drive automatic transmission vehicles, or clutchless manual vehicles, if you took your driving test in this type of vehicle. Your licence card will show the A034 condition on the front.

Failure to comply is an offence and carries heavy penalties, including loss of licence.

Demerit points

Demerit points apply to P1 drivers. Your P1 licence will be suspended or refused if you reach or exceed 4 demerit points.

Speeding offences

If you commit any speeding offence your P1 licence will be suspended for at least three months. An additional suspension or refusal period will apply for any excessive speed offence (more than 30km/h over the speed limit).

Passenger conditions

As a P1 licence holder, there are special conditions regarding the passengers you can carry:

  • Peer passenger condition: If you’re under 25 and hold a P1 licence, you must not drive a vehicle with more than one passenger (other than the driver) who is under 21, between 11pm and 5am
  • One passenger condition: If you’ve been disqualified for any driving offence committed on or after 11 July 2005, once you return from the disqualification period you must not carry more than one passenger at any time while driving. This condition will apply for 12 months

You may apply for an exemption by attending a registry or service centre in person, completing the P1/P2 passenger or vehicle exemption form and paying the application fee.

An exemption from the peer passenger condition may be granted if:

  • Your employment requires you to transport passengers between 11pm and 5am, and more than one of these passengers is, or is likely to be, under 21
  • You can demonstrate a need to drive certain immediate family members between 11pm and 5am, and there are no alternative options
  • You volunteer in community service work (eg Lifeline counselling) that requires the transport of passengers between 11pm and 5am, and more than one of these passengers is, or is likely to be, under 21.

Exemptions from the one passenger condition will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. You must provide reasons why your situation is exceptional.

If an exemption is granted, it will be limited to specific circumstances such as employment, and may also be limited to certain vehicles.

You must notify Roads and Maritime within 14 days if you have changed any circumstances which affect your exemption, including if you no longer require the exemption, or if the exemption letter needs replacing. A further fee may apply.

More information

See the Frequently asked questions, or contact us for more information.

Prohibited vehicles

Prohibited vehicle conditions apply to provisional licence holders to keep novice drivers safe on our roads.

From 1 August 2014, a high performance vehicle is defined as a vehicle which:

Please go to the Prohibited vehicles- definitions page to see how the PMR is calculated.

Note: An exception from the prohibited vehicles condition is the person:

  1. Obtained a provisional licence before 1 Aug 2014 and continues to hold that licence, and
  2. The vehicle they are driving is now prohibited under the above definition, but was not previously prohibited under the previous definition.

You must not drive a banned vehicle unless you have been issued with an exemption.

You may apply for an exemption by attending a registry or service centre in person, completing the P1/P2 passenger or vehicle exemption form and paying the application fee.

An exemption from the prohibited vehicle condition may be granted if:

  • A prohibited vehicle needs to be driven for genuine employment purposes
  • A 4-wheel-drive vehicle with power to tare mass ratio (PMR) greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne is required by a country driver who has no practical alternative

If an exemption is granted, you must carry the exemption letter issued by Roads and Maritime Services while driving the vehicle.

You must notify Roads and Maritime within 14 days if you have changed any circumstances which affect your exemption, including if you no longer require the exemption, or if the exemption letter needs replacing. A further fee may apply.

Need help?

For guidance about what vehicles you can and cannot drive, enter a vehicle's details into the P1/P2 vehicle search.

For more information, please see the Frequently asked questions, or contact us. You can also read the announcement by the Minister for Roads and Freight.

Definitions

See Prohibited vehicles - definitions for detailed information and definitions of terms related to prohibited vehicles.

Progressing to a P2

Once you’ve held your P1 licence for at least 12 months, you can progress to the next licence stage and apply for a provisional P2 licence.

If your licence is suspended

Any period that your P1 licence is suspended is not counted towards your P2 licence. This means that if your licence is suspended, you must hold your P1 licence for an additional period equal to the suspension, before you can apply for a P2 licence.

Court disqualification

If you’re disqualified from driving by a court while on your P1 licence, the law operates to immediately and permanently cancel your licence. In this case, the time you’ve accumulated is forfeited. This means that when the disqualification period ends, you’ll have to apply for a new P1 licence, and complete the 12 months again before you can apply for a P2 licence.

Liquor Act offences

It’s an offence under section 129 of the Liquor Act 2007 to use false documents to gain access to licensed premises or to purchase alcohol. If you’re convicted of such an offence while holding a P1 licence, you’ll be required to hold your P1 licence for an additional six months, therefore 18 months in total.

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