Moving to NSW

If you’re moving to NSW from another part of Australia or another country, you’ll need to get a NSW driver or rider licence. You can use your existing licence for up to three months, but after that you must have a NSW licence.

Interstate drivers and riders

If you move to NSW from any Australian state or territory and hold a current licence you can be issued a NSW equivalent licence. NSW will match the expiry date of your licence for no fee up to a maximum of ten years.

If you have an expired licence of no more than five years, you can be issued a NSW equivalent, fees may apply. If your licence has expired more than five years, licence tests are required and fees may apply.

You need to meet age requirements to be issued with a NSW licence. You must be at least 16 years for a learner driver licence, 16 years and 9 months for a learner rider licence and 17 years for a provisional driver or rider licence.

Your licence will be converted in line with the NSW Graduated Licensing Scheme. You will need to meet the requirements to progress through each stage.

NSW equivalents for interstate driver and rider licences

 
Interstate licence NSW equivalent and requirements
Driver, current learner Learner driver licence.

You may be eligible to take a driving test without being issued a NSW learner licence – call us on 13 22 13 or visit a service centre or registry to discuss your personal situation.

Driver, held for less than 12 months Provisional P1 driver licence.
Driver, held for more than 12 months but less than 3 years Provisional P2 driver licence.
Driver, held for more than 3 years Unrestricted driver licence.
Rider, current learner Learner rider licence.

You do not have to attend a pre-learner rider course.

You may be eligible to take a riding test without being issued a NSW learner rider licence – call us on 13 22 13 or visit a service centre or registry to discuss your personal situation.

Expired learner riders are required to pass pre-learner rider training and a rider knowledge test.

Rider, held for less than 12 months Provisional P1 rider licence.
Rider, held for more than 12 months but less than 3 years Provisional P2 rider licence.
Rider, held for more than 12 months but less than 3 years and  you are 25 or older with a current Australian unrestricted driver licence Unrestricted rider licence. Riders aged 25 and older meeting these requirements are exempt from the P2 rider licence stage.
Rider, held for more than 3 years Unrestricted rider licence.

First issue date

We use the first issue date of your interstate licence to work out an equivalent NSW licence. If your interstate licence does not show this date, you may wish to obtain a letter from the interstate licence issuing authority (on their letterhead), confirming your licence details.

Service centres and registries can obtain this information for you, however it can take several days to receive this information from the interstate authority.

What you need to do

To convert your interstate licence, you need to attend a service centre or registry in person, and:

If your interstate licence is expired, you will also need to pay the relevant licence fee.

Depending on the location you attend, your NSW licence card will either be handed over the counter or posted to you. If it’s posted, you’ll receive a temporary paper licence, to drive or ride with until your new card arrives.

As you cannot hold more than one Australian licence at a time, we will invalidate your interstate licence, and provide you with a receipt for it. We will also notify the issuing state or territory to cancel the licence in their system.

International drivers and riders

If you’re a permanent Australian resident, or hold a permanent visa under the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, and you intend to stay in NSW, you are not considered to be a visitor. You can drive in NSW on a current overseas licence for a maximum of three months. Then you will need to apply for a NSW licence to continue driving or riding.

If you do not hold permanent Australian residency, but will be in NSW for more than 3 months, you can apply for a Temporary Overseas Visitor licence.

New Zealand licence holders, regardless of whether you are a permanent or temporary resident, must obtain a NSW licence within three months of living in NSW or stop driving.

You need to meet age requirements to be issued with a NSW licence. You must be at least 16 years for a learner driver licence, 16 years and 9 months for a learner rider licence and 17 years for a provisional driver or rider licence.

Your overseas licence will be taken into account when you apply for a NSW licence and passed any required tests. Licences are issued in line with the NSW Graduated Licensing Scheme. You will need to meet the requirements to progress through each stage.

Important:

Roads and Maritime reserves the right to require applicants undertake a knowledge test or driving/riding test and may not issue a NSW licence unless we are satisfied an overseas licence is valid.

NSW equivalents for overseas driver and rider licences

Overseas licence NSW equivalent
Driver, current learner Learner driver licence.

You may be eligible to take a driving test without being issued a NSW learner licence - call us on 13 22 13 or visit a service centre or registry to discuss your personal situation. A knowledge test may also be required.

Driver, held for less than 12 months Provisional P1 driver licence.

A knowledge test and driving test may be required - call us on 13 22 13 or visit a service centre or registry to discuss your personal situation.

Driver, held for more than 12 months but less than 3 years Provisional P2 driver licence.

A knowledge test and driving test may be required - call us on 13 22 13 or visit a service centre or registry to discuss your personal situation.

Driver, held for more than 3 years Unrestricted driver licence.

A knowledge test and driving test may be required - call us on 13 22 13 or visit a service centre or registry to discuss your personal situation.

Rider, current learner Learner rider licence.

You may be required to pass a rider knowledge test, but are exempt from attending the pre-learner rider training course to be issued a NSW learner rider licence.

Expired learner riders are required to pass pre-learner rider training and a rider knowledge test.

Rider, held for less than 12 months. Provisional P1 rider licence.

You may be required to pass a rider knowledge test and successfully complete the Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (if you live in a declared area) or a Rider Test (if you live outside a declared area). If you fail your test, you can apply for a NSW rider learner licence, but are exempt from attending the pre-learner or pre-provisional rider training course.

Rider, held for more than 12 months but less than 3 years Provisional P2 rider licence or Unrestricted rider licence.

You may be required to pass a rider knowledge test and successfully complete the Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (if you live in a declared area) or a Rider Test (if you live outside a declared area). If you fail your test, you can apply for a NSW rider learner licence, but are exempt from attending the pre-learner or pre-provisional rider training course.

Rider, held for more than 12 months but less than 3 years and you are 25 or older with a current Australian unrestricted driver licence Unrestricted rider licence.

Riders aged 25 and older meeting these requirements are exempt from the P2 rider licence stage.

You may be required to pass a rider knowledge test and successfully complete the Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (if you live in a declared area) or a Rider Test (if you live outside a declared area). If you fail your test, you can apply for a NSW rider learner licence, but are exempt from attending the pre-learner or pre-provisional rider training course.

Rider, held for more than 3 years Unrestricted rider licence.

You may be required to pass a rider knowledge test and successfully complete the Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (if you live in a declared area) or a Rider Test (if you live outside a declared area). If you fail your test, you can apply for a NSW rider learner licence, but are exempt from attending the pre-learner or pre-provisional rider training course.

First issue date

We use the first issue date of your overseas licence to work out the equivalent NSW licence. When your overseas licence does not show an issue date, check with a customer service representative to determine if you will need; a letter from the licence issuing authority (on their letterhead), or a relevant consulate or diplomatic office, (based on information received from the overseas licence issuing authority) confirming your licence details. If the letter is not in English, you will need to provide an official translation

What you need to do

To apply for a NSW licence, you must attend a service centre or registry in person and:

  • Bring your overseas licence with you

Note: In some circumstances or if you can’t provide your overseas licence, you may be requested to provide confirmation of your overseas licence details and status. A letter from the licence issuing authority (on their letterhead) or a relevant consulate or diplomatic office, (based on information received from the overseas licence issuing authority) confirming your licence details may be accepted. If the letter is not in English, you will need to provide an official translation. You will be advised by a customer service representative if further confirmation of your overseas licence is required.

Depending on the location you attend, your NSW licence card will either be handed over the counter or posted to you. If it’s posted, you’ll receive a temporary paper licence, to drive or ride with until your new card arrives.

As you cannot, by law, hold more than one licence at a time in Australia, the details of your overseas licence will be recorded in our system. When you’ve been issued with a NSW licence, including a learner licence, it becomes the licence of authority for you to drive or ride on NSW roads. Your overseas licence is no longer recognised and has no authority while you hold a NSW licence.

When driving or riding in NSW, you must comply with all the conditions, restrictions or limitations applied to your NSW licence. If the Police ask you to produce your licence in relation to a driving matter, you must provide your NSW licence.

If you fail a driving or riding test, your visiting driving/riding privileges will be withdrawn. If you want to continue driving/riding in NSW, you will need to apply for a learner driver licence or learner rider licence and comply with all of the conditions that apply to learners in NSW.

You can re-attempt the driving test provided at least a week has passed since the last driving test. If you held an overseas learner rider licence and failed the riding test, you must obtain a NSW learner rider licence and complete the pre-learner and pre-provisional courses before you can attempt another riding test.

Proof of permanent residency

Roads and Maritime Services accept the following documents as proof of Australian permanent residency:

  • Australian full Birth Certificate showing parental details. Commemorative certificates are not acceptable (except for 1987 and 1988 NSW Historic Birth Certificates). See the Births, Deaths and Marriages website for information
  • Australian passport
  • Certificate of Australian Citizenship
  • Australian Naturalisation Document
  • Certificate of Aboriginality
  • Permanent Resident Evidence (PRE) ImmiCard - Issued before 1 July 2017
  • Evidence of Immigration Status (EIS) ImmiCard (permanent residency status only)
  • Current ID document from Australian Passport Office
  • Current Australian Defence Force photo ID
  • Overseas passport or travel document which includes a valid Australian permanent residency visa

Note: Roads and Maritime may verify your permanent residency status online with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. We may also use the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) Service to verify permanent residency if you present an overseas passport without evidence of permanent residency.

Documents not written in English

If your overseas licence or confirmation letter is not written in English, you must provide an official translation.

Translations are only acceptable if they are from:

  • Multicultural NSW (previously Community Relations Commission of NSW) Visit the MNSW website for more information
  • The Free Translating Service provided by the Department of Social Services (DSS). The free translation service is only available to eligible people. Visit the DSS website for more information.
  • For South Korean (Republic of Korea) licences only, we accept translations from the Consulate-General of the Republic of Korea, as the Consulate verifies the licence details with the relevant South Korean (Republic of Korea) driver licence authority
  • For Republic of China (Taiwan) licences only, we accept translations from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), Sydney, as TECO verifies the licence details with the relevant Republic of China (Taiwan) driver issuing authority.

Translations obtained through any other means are not acceptable.

Exemptions from knowledge and driving tests

You may be exempt from knowledge and/or driving tests if:

  • You have held an Australian driver licence expired within the last five years, and this can be verified with the issuing authority
  • You hold a current New Zealand licence (not a learner or paper licence)
  • You hold a current overseas licence (not a learner), or one expired within the last five years, from a recognised country.

Recognised countries

Roads and Maritime Services recognises car and rider licences from certain countries. There are two categories of recognised countries – A and B.

If you are applying for a heavy vehicle licence (classes LR, MR, HR, HC or MC) you must pass the relevant knowledge and driving tests, even if you hold an equivalent class licence from a recognised country.

Recognised Country A: If you hold a licence from one of these countries, you do not have to pass knowledge and driving tests when applying for a NSW car (class C) or rider (class R) licence:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guernsey
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man (licences issued since 1 April 1991)
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta (licences issued or renewed since 2 January 2004)
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand, (except for paper licences)
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Recognised Country B: If you hold a licence from one of these countries and are 25 years or older, you do not have to pass knowledge and driving tests when applying for a car (class C) or rider (class R) NSW licence. 

  • Bulgaria
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Hong Kong (Important: Hong Kong licence holders must have held a Hong Kong licence for a minimum period of 12 months)
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea (Republic of Korea)
  • Taiwan

If you hold a licence from the Recognised Country B list and are under 25, you must pass the relevant knowledge and driving tests.

Non-recognised countries: If you hold a licence from any other country, you will need to pass knowledge and driving tests when applying for an equivalent NSW licence.

Important: In some cases, the recognised country exemption may not apply, for example:

  • If you hold a licence from an external territory of a recognised country, you must pass knowledge and driving/riding tests
  • If you failed a NSW knowledge test before 17 January 2005, you must re-sit and pass the relevant knowledge test
  • If you failed a driving or riding test before 20 May 2002, you must re-take and pass the relevant driving or riding test
  • If you hold a licence from the Recognised Country B list, and you failed a knowledge test and/or driving test before 18 February 2013 you must re-take and pass the relevant test
  • If a Hong Kong licence has been issued for less than 12 months.

Call us on 13 22 13 or visit any service centre or registry to discuss your personal situation.

If you do hold a licence from a recognised country and are exempt from licensing tests, you should read the Road Users Handbook and/or the Motorcycle Riders’ Handbook to learn the current road rules in NSW.

Information in other languages

If you’d like to talk to us in your own language, the Translating and Interpreting Service is available at service centres and registries. Ask at the counter.

Information in languages other than English
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