Frequently asked questions

10-year driver licence

  • From 16 March 2015, holders of unrestricted class C and/ or R licences aged 21 to 44 are eligible to opt for a 10 year renewal.  This follows a recommendation of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal review called Reforming Licensing in NSW. The change has been introduced to enhance customer experience by minimising the amount of times a customer needs to attend a registry or service centre.

  • See licence fees.

    Concessions are available for eligible pensioners.

  • The 10-year driver licence option is restricted to the 21 to 44 year age group to minimise the risks of misidentification due to facial changes in young adults under 21. Additionally, the 21 to 44 year age group is currently not required to undertake an eyesight test every five years (see Eyesight tests for more information).
  • Customers will need to pass an eyesight test when applying for a 10-year driver licence. Customers are encouraged to have regular eyesight checks with their doctors or optometrists. Even a small loss of vision can affect a driver’s ability to read road signs or recognise objects from a distance.
  • Driver licence security features are regularly reviewed to ensure that new technological advances are incorporated to combat any potential misuse of driver licences.

    Roads and Maritime will consider ways in which customers who take up the 10-year driver licence option can be provided with updated licences if changes are made in the future.

  • Eligible customers who have no relevant offences recorded in the previous five years leading up to the date they renew their licences will receive the 50 per cent safe driver discount when renewing their licence. The discount will also apply to the 10 year licence renewal fee. If you are eligible for the discount, you will be advised at the time of renewal.  See ‘Fair go for safe drivers’ scheme for more information.

  • No, the 10-year driver licence applies only to unrestricted class C or R licence holders.
  • If you have a 10-year driver licence and upgrade to a licence class of class LR or above, you are no longer eligible to hold a 10-year driver licence. The registry or service centre will calculate a pro rata refund for your 10-year driver licence. You will be issued with a new licence with an expiry date with a duration of up to five years and may be required to pay a licence fee. Holders of class LR licences or above require an annual eyesight test.
  • No, you can only apply for the 10-year driver licence when your licence is due for renewal.
  • You cannot legally drive if your licence has expired. If your licence has expired, you may renew up to six months after expiry. If you attend a registry or service centre after 16 March 2015, the option to renew for the 10-year period is available, provided you are eligible.
  • No, currently you cannot renew any licences online. For 10-year licences, you must pass an eyesight test before obtaining a 10-year licence.
  • Yes, you can apply online from the replacement of a 1, 3, 5 or 10 year licence. However, you are limited to one replacement per year online. (See Replacing your licence).

  • Yes, provided you meet the eligibility criteria for a 10-year driver licence. However, the expiry date on your NSW licence will be the same as the expiry date shown on your interstate licence. You cannot increase this expiry date by paying an additional fee.
  • Yes, provided you meet the eligibility criteria of 10-year driver licences, that is you're applying foran unrestricted C and/or R class licence and you are between 21 and 44 years old.
  • Yes, if you are eligible for a 10-year driver licence and your licence is due for renewal you can apply to downgrade from a heavy vehicle driver licence to an unrestricted class C or R driver licence.
  • No, the look of the licence remains the same as a 5-year driver licence.
  • Yes, if you are an eligible pensioner with an unrestricted C and/ or R class licence and aged 21 to 44 years, you can get a free 10-year driver licence. See Concessions and discounts.
  • You can be issued a 10 year combined licence if you are aged between 21 and 44 years.
  • A combined licence is a NSW driver licence with a reference to the boat licence on the reverse side of the card. At present maritime law only allows a boat licence to be issued for one, three or five years. Work is underway to introduce a 10-year boat licence. Once the 10-year boat licence is available, it will also be possible to issue a combined licence for 10 years.
  • To be eligible to renew your driver licence for 10 years, you will need to attend a registry or service centre that conducts maritime business and opt out of the combined licence. For further information on opting out, see Combined licence. You can then renew the separated driver and boat licences for the desired periods.

10-year NSW Photo Cards

  • From 16 March 2015, eligible customers aged 21 or over may apply for a 10-year NSW Photo Card. The 10-year NSW Photo Card will be available in addition to the existing 5-year NSW Photo Card.
  • The changes apply to customers aged 21 or over.
  • The 10-year NSW Photo Card option is restricted to the 21 years or older age group to minimise the risks of facial changes making visual identification more difficult.
  • This follows a recommendation of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal review called Reforming Licensing in NSW.

    The change has been introduced to enhance customer experience by minimising the amount of times the customer needs to attend a registry or service centre.

  • See Fees.

    Concessions are available for eligible pensioners

    .
  • Yes, if you are eligible, you may apply for a 10-year NSW Photo Card before your current NSW Photo Card is due to expire. The current card will need to be surrendered and a new card issued. There is no refund for any unexpired period of the current card.
  • Yes, if you have moved to NSW and you are eligible and aged 21 years or over you may be issued with a 10-year NSW Photo Card. You will need to pay the applicable fee.

Driving with medical conditions or disabilities

  • You must consult with your treating doctor or specialist before starting to drive if you have a serious or long term medical condition, illness, injury or disability. If your doctor recommends that you do not drive, then you must comply with these recommendations. Failing to do so could result in legal prosecution, loss of insurance and monetary fines.

    It is important that you notify Roads and Maritime of your medical condition as soon as practical to ensure that you meet the relevant medical standards and legal requirements to drive a motor vehicle. In order to notify Roads and Maritime of your condition please attend a registry or service centre, or phone 13 22 13 for further information.

    Once Roads and Maritime has been notified of your medical condition you will be required to provide a medical report from your treating doctor/specialist. If you are the holder of a commercial class of licence (ie class MR or above) you may also be required to provide information from an appropriate specialist before Roads and Maritime can provide approval for you to continue to drive or be issued with a driver licence.

    For some particular medical conditions there are specific medical standards that Roads and Maritime applies, to ensure that medical fitness to drive is appropriately assessed. There are also in some cases mandatory non-driving periods if a person has suffered particular symptoms of a condition, such as a seizure, blackout, loss of consciousness or hypoglycaemic episode. The specific non-driving periods and medical standards that Roads and Maritime applies are detailed in the national ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ publication, which can be viewed at the Austroads website.

  • Evidence suggests that the skills necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle start to decline from about the age of 75, including vision, cognition, memory, muscle strength and reflexes. In order to recognise and closely monitor those drivers who may no longer have the necessary skills to drive, or are close to reaching the end of their driving days, it is mandatory in NSW for all drivers aged 75 years and older to undertake an annual medical examination with their treating doctor. It is also necessary for drivers turning 85 to also undertake a driving assessment every two years in order to maintain an unrestricted driver licence.

    In order to ensure that a regular medical review is completed, Roads and Maritime aligns all standard medical reviews to a person’s birthday each year. This means that a medical report and request is sent to a customer approximately eight weeks prior to their birthday, for completion and return to Roads and Maritime by their birthday.

    If you have received a medical report, and you do not have a serious or long term medical condition which is specified in the national ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ publication, (which can be viewed at the Austroads website) and you are not close to turning or over the age of 75 years, then you may need to contact Roads and Maritime by phoning 13 22 13.

  • People with serious or long term medical conditions must undertake specific medical examinations and provide suitable information to Roads and Maritime about their condition before approval can be given for them to be issued or to retain a driver licence.

    The Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulations 2008 provides that Roads and Maritime may request a holder of a driver licence to undergo a medical examination to determine their medical fitness to drive, and to attend a specified medical practitioner for the purpose of that examination.

    The national ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ medical standards, published by Austroads, provides that in some cases a driver should be reviewed by an appropriate specialist before being granting a driver licence. In particular drivers who hold commercial licence classes, such as MR (Medium-Rigid vehicle) or above must provide information from an appropriate specialist before being granted a conditional licence, for all serious medical conditions.

    For full details of the medical requirements for particular conditions you may view the ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ medical standards at the Austroads website.

    In some cases, Roads and Maritime may think it appropriate for a person to undertake a specialist medical review, if there is reason to believe that they are not compliant with appropriate treatment prescribed for their medical condition, or there is concern that the person does not meet the relevant medical criteria prescribed in the medical standards.

  • Roads and Maritime requires that all medical examinations are completed within a certain timeframe, to ensure that up to date and accurate information is available at all times concerning a person’s medical fitness to drive.

    If you have been requested to provide a medical report from your treating doctor/specialist, you will receive a specific due date, or be provided with a set period of time, for you to provide a satisfactory medical report to Roads and Maritime.

    Roads and Maritime appreciates that in some areas, especially regional areas, obtaining an appointment with a doctor/specialist can be difficult. Therefore, Roads and Maritime will in some circumstances, and on a case-by-case- basis, allow for an extension to the time allowed for you to provide a satisfactory medical report, subject to an appointment confirmation being provided.

    Approval to extend the time allowed for you to provide a satisfactory medical report will only be given if arrangements to book an appointment have been made early in the medical review process, well before the due date or the end of the timeframe provided.

    If you have reached the due date and/or received a suspension notice for not complying with Roads and Maritime's request to provide a satisfactory medical report, no consideration will be given to allow an extension on the time provided, unless sufficient proof is provided that you were absent from your address when the initial request and reminder notice was sent, and/or medical advice is provided confirming that your medical review has not yet been finalised.

  • You must consult with your treating doctor/specialist about whether or not your condition will impact on your ability to safely drive a motor vehicle, before driving with a cast fitted.

    If you have fractured one of your legs/feet and require a cast to be fitted, you may be eligible to continue to drive automatic cars only, if the cast is fitted to your left leg/foot.

    If the cast is fitted to your right leg/foot then it may be necessary for you to stop driving while the cast is fitted. A cast fitted to your right leg/foot may interfere with the safe use of the accelerator and brake pedals.

    If you have casts fitted to both legs/feet, then of course you should not drive.

    If you are the holder of a rider licence, then you should not ride motorcycles until you have fully recovered from your injury.

  • You must consult with your treating doctor/specialist about whether or not your condition will impact on your ability to safely drive a motor vehicle, before driving with a cast fitted.

    If you have fractured one of your arms/wrist/hand and require a cast to be fitted then you may continue to drive using one hand, if you are able to safely use your fractured arm/hand to operate all appropriate vehicle controls, such as indicators, windscreen wipers and lights.

    You must have a hand on the steering wheel at all times when driving a motor vehicle. To take your hand from the steering wheel is considered not having proper control of the motor vehicle. Therefore, if you have a cast fitted to one of your arms/hands it is not safe to drive manual vehicles, unless you can safely change gears while continuing to have a hand controlling the steering wheel.

    If you are the holder of a rider licence, then you should not ride motorcycles until you have fully recovered from your injury.

  • You must consult with your treating doctor/specialist about whether or not your medical condition, which has lead to the requirement for you to undergo oxygen therapy, will impact on your ability to safely drive a motor vehicle.

    Your treating doctor/specialist must examine you in accordance with the national ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ medical standards. If it is considered that you meet the relevant criteria to maintain a driver licence, you may drive while using oxygen therapy as long as the mask and tank does not interfere with the use of the vehicle controls, or impact on your vision or sight when driving.

    The oxygen tank must be securely positioned in the motor vehicle (ie firmly strapped into the vehicle).

  • The use of seatbelts is compulsory in Australia for drivers of all motor vehicles. This includes trucks and buses, but excludes taxi drivers in NSW and Queensland.

    Unrestrained occupants are over three times more likely to be killed in the event of a crash than those wearing a seatbelt.

    There are really no medical conditions for which a person should be unable to wear a seatbelt. Health professionals are discouraged from providing letters to people stating that the use of a seatbelt is not required. For conditions such as obesity, a seatbelt can be modified and an inertia seatbelt fitted. For conditions such as scars to the chest or abdomen, padding can be used to prevent any problems of seatbelt irritation.

    Roads and Maritime does not issue a certificate of exemption for seatbelt use.

    If you require a seatbelt exemption then it is the responsibility of your treating doctor/specialist to grant the exemption. Your treating doctor/specialist must issue you with a certificate of exemption in the following manner:

    • The certification must be dated and issued on the practitioner’s letterhead
    • State the name, address, sex and date of birth of the person exempt
    • Must state the reason for the exemption
    • Clearly show the date the exemption expires. In NSW an exemption certificate is only valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Musculo-skeletal conditions or deformities of a permanent nature do not require an expiry date.

    The certificate must be carried with you at all times when travelling in a motor vehicle without using a seatbelt, and must be shown to police and authorised officers when requested.

  • There are certain visual standards that all drivers must meet in order to retain or be issued with a driver licence. For the full visual standards you may refer to the national ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ publication, which can be viewed at the Austroads website.

    If you have been informed by a registered Optometrist or Ophthalmologist that you must wear glasses and/or contact lenses when driving, you must comply with the specialists’ recommendations and notify Roads and Maritime of the requirement as soon as possible.

    To notify Roads and Maritime of the requirement please attend a registry or service centre with the licence card currently in your possession so that a specific licence condition can be added to your driver licence; (‘must wear glasses or contact lenses while driving.’) You may also need to undertake an eyesight test at the registry or service centre while wearing your glasses before a replacement licence card can be issued with the new licence condition added.

    In some cases, people may only require the use of glasses or contact lenses when driving at night and/or when driving heavy vehicles. Roads and Maritime has particular licence conditions that can suit these situations, such as ‘must wear specs or contacts when driving at night’ and ‘must wear glasses or contact lenses when driving a vehicle with gross vehicle mass over 8 tonnes.’ If you require one of these licence conditions to be added to your driver licence, please attend a registry or service centre.

  • Roads and Maritime will notify you in writing just before the cancellation or suspension of your driver licence. The notice of cancellation or suspension will provide you with a start date and the reasons for the cancellation or suspension action. The notice will also provide you with the relevant course of action to have the cancellation or suspension withdrawn or lifted.

    For example, if Roads and Maritime requires further medical evidence to be provided from a medical practitioner, the notice will specify the details required and the type of medical practitioner that needs to provide the information. It is very important to present the Roads and Maritime notice of cancellation or suspension to the medical practitioner when you are being examined so that the doctor/specialist can provide all relevant information that is required.

    If you need to undertake a driving assessment, then the notice will provide you with details on how to arrange such an assessment.

    You will also have a right of appeal against the decision to cancel or suspend your driver licence. You must file the appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice. You can file online, or go to a NSW Local Court. A fee is payable to the Court when lodging an appeal. Lodging an appeal does not stop or lift the decision to cancel or suspend your licence, the action will still proceed.

  • Driving assessments conducted by an occupational therapist are a specialised driving assessment process which thoroughly assesses the impact that a medical condition, or physical disability or injury, may have on the driving task. Driver trained occupational therapist are specially qualified to assess all areas of driving including cognition, memory, reflexes, judgement, driving behaviour, motor function, knowledge of road rules, application of road rules and response times.

    Driving assessments conducted by an occupational therapist are available through a number of services, including private and public practices. Drivers referred for a driving assessment with an occupational therapist are responsible for arranging the assessment and meeting all costs associated. For more information on occupational therapist driving assessment and to locate a driver trained occupational therapist, see the Occupational Therapist Association of Australia website.

    If you are required to undertake a driving assessment with an occupational therapist, Roads and Maritime will notify you of the requirement in writing. In some cases, Roads and Maritime may consider it necessary for you to downgrade your licence, or be issued with a restricted learner licence until you have completed the driving assessment process. This is to ensure your safety, and that of other road users, until it has been determined whether or not you are safe to drive.

    Once you complete an on-road driving assessment with an occupational therapist, the assessor will notify Roads and Maritime of their recommendations relating to your medical fitness and ability to drive to a safe standard. Roads and Maritime will then decide whether or not you can be issued or keep a driver licence.

    If you are a driver with a disability, and require the use of vehicle modifications in order to drive a motor vehicle, you may wish to consult with a driver trained occupational therapist before purchasing and installing modifications. This will ensure that the modifications are correctly suited to your condition.

P1/P2 passenger conditions

  • A new 12 month passenger restriction will be applied from the next issued provisional licence.
  • No. The passenger and vehicle conditions only apply to provisional drivers who are disqualified for a driving offence committed on or after 11 July 2005. However, the peer passenger restriction will apply if you are under 25 years old.
  • It will be up to the licensing authority of that state to apply conditions when issuing the interstate licence.

    If you return to NSW and are eligible for a provisional licence, any remaining unserved period of a previous one passenger condition will be added to your licence.

  • No. The peer passenger condition only applies to P1 drivers who are under 25 years of age.

P1/P2 prohibited vehicles

  • An easy to use web-based search tool is available as a guide to easily check what vehicles P-plate drivers can drive.

    You can simply search for a vehicle using the vehicle's specifications like brand, year of make etc, and the search will show if the vehicle is legal for a P-plate driver to drive or not. The more fields you can enter, the more refined the search results will be.

    This search tool can be used for most models of vehicles available in Australia.

    There are a few old or imported vehicles that are not in the search. If you are looking for one of these vehicles please contact us by phone on 13 22 13 or by mail.

  • If you aren't sure about a vehicle's particular specifications you can:

    • Check the owner's manual
    • Ask the manufacturer or dealer for the vehicle specifications
    • Look for it using the Commonwealth Government's online search tool
    • Ask a family member or friend who has a good knowledge of vehicles
    • Ask a mechanic.
  • No. As learners can only drive under supervision, the conditions do not apply. A learner can attempt the driving test in a prohibited vehicle but is restricted from driving prohibited vehicles once a provisional licence is issued. Provisional licence holders are not allowed to drive prohibited vehicles, even if supervised.
  • If you already have your P-plate licence, you can continue to drive any of the vehicles you were allowed to drive before the 1 August change as well as the other vehicles that are now available under the new scheme.

    There are a very small number of vehicles that P-platers could drive before 1 August 2014 that are now banned. But don’t worry if this is a vehicle that you currently drive because if you had your P-plate licence before 1 August 2014 and drive a vehicle that was allowed but will be banned from 1 August 2014, you can continue to drive that vehicle.

    If you currently have an exemption to drive a banned vehicle and the vehicle is still banned after 1 August 2014, you will still require an exemption to drive the vehicle you just won’t need to apply for a new exemption.

    If you currently have an exemption for a vehicle that won’t be banned for P-platers after 1 August 2014, the exemption will no longer apply and you won’t have to carry it with you.

  • Although P-plate drivers will have a greater choice of vehicles to drive from 1 August 2014, it’s important to note that there are some vehicles that were previously ok to drive that are now banned.
  • A list of significant modifications is given in the Vehicle Standards Information Sheet (VSI) 6 - Light Vehicle Modifications (PDF, 262Kb).

    A vehicle with one of the modifications listed under 'Engine' in VSI6 cannot be driven by a P-plater.

    If you are in doubt that a vehicle has been modified, either check with the vehicle manufacturer, or with an expert, such as a licensed certifier competent in engine modifications.

  • If a vehicle just been supplied to the Australian market, the data necessary to determine its status as an approved or banned vehicle may not have been made available yet. In this case, you should:

    • You need to make sure they have filled in as many of the fields as you can, like transmission, year model, engine size, body style etc to narrow down the results as much as possible
    • If the vehicle is newly released it may not have been entered into the web-based search yet. In this case, you should check back in a few days to see if the vehicle has been added.

    If you still can't find it, you should contact contact Roads and Maritime.

  • Yes. NSW P-platers must remember that the vehicle restriction rules that apply to them in NSW must be complied with when they drive outside of NSW.
  • If you want to drive a vehicle that is banned you can apply for an exemption to drive it, but these are only granted in exceptional circumstances (for example a P-plater who needs to access a work vehicle that may be banned) because banned vehicles are considered high risk for P-plate drivers.

    To apply for an exemption, complete the Application for Exemption form (PDF, 305Kb) and take it to any registry or service centre.

  • No, this value is supplied by the vehicle manufacturer and cannot be changed to make the vehicle allowed.
  • No, this value is supplied by the vehicle manufacturer and cannot be changed, for example by adding a tow or bull bar.

Temporary overseas visitors (TOV)

  • From 16 March 2015, for visiting temporary overseas drivers wishing to apply for a NSW licence, we are removing the minimum six month waiting period before a licence application can be made and removing the restriction which allows for the issue of a 12-month licence only.
  • Yes, driver licences issued to temporary overseas visitors will continue to show a letter ‘Q’ in the conditions section of the front of a licence card, and the words ‘Evidence of permanent resident status not provided’ will be shown on the back of the card.
  • You can apply for a driver licence of alonger validity period when your current driver licence is due for renewal.
  • Once all the requirements for a learner licence are met, you will be issued a learner licence for the duration of 5 years and the licence will show the ‘Q‘ condition on the front of the licence. A 1 year duration applies for a rider learner licence.
  • Temporary overseas visitors (ie holders of a licence with the ’Q’ condition) are eligible for the discount, provided all other requirements are met.

    Unrestricted licence holders who have no relevant offences recorded in the previous five years leading up to the date they renew their licence will receive the 50 per cent safe driver discount when renewing their licence.  If you are eligible for the discount, you will be advised at the time of renewal.  See ‘Fair go for safe drivers’ scheme for more information.

  • No, you will get a P1 licence issued for a period of 18 months.  You may instead graduate to a P2 licence if you are ready and meet the eligibility requirements. See Getting your P2 licence.

  • No, you will get a P2 licence issued for a period of 30 months. You may graduate to an unrestricted licence when you have met the necessary two year tenure requirements and you are ready. See Getting a full licence.

Share this page: