Can you drive in Australia with an overseas licence? Does your licence need to be accompanied by an English translation or an international driving permit? And when, according to Australian laws, do you need to apply for an Australian licence? In the following article you can find the answers to all your questions.
In Australia, laws and driving regulations differ from state to state. Some states require you to carry an International Licence with your current foreign licence. Other states request you carry your current foreign driver’s licence together with a formal translation of your licence into English.
In most Australian states and territories (the exception is the Northern Territory), you are able to drive on an overseas licence as long as it is current. You can only drive vehicles which your overseas licence authorises you to drive and you must drive according to any conditions on your overseas licence.
Rules are different if you are a visitor or a permanent resident.
Select the link of the state or territory you will be driving in, to find out what the laws are for driving with an overseas licence.
Below you can find information about each state and territory: ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC and WA.
Australian Capital Territory
Visiting drivers are not required to obtain an ACT Driver Licence providing their International Driving Permit and/or overseas licence are current.
When driving in the ACT a visiting driver must carry their foreign driver licence written in English or their international driving permit accompanied by the foreign driver licence or their foreign driver licence that is not in English, accompanied by an official English translation of the licence. An official translation means a translation certified by an Embassy or Consulate or by a National Accreditation Authority For Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) or an Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) accredited translator. People from other countries who take up residence in the ACT must hold an ACT Driver Licence to drive a motor vehicle or motorbike.
For further details click ACT.
New South Wales
If you hold an overseas licence, you are allowed to drive the vehicles covered by your overseas licence in NSW indefinitely, as long as you remain a temporary overseas visitor. If your licence is not written in English, you must also carry an English translation or an International Driving Permit.
If you are 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. As such, you are allowed to drive in NSW on a current overseas licence for a maximum of three months. After that, you will need to apply for a NSW licence to continue driving or riding.
For further details click NSW.
You may use your Interstate/Overseas Driver Licence providing that you have not been in the Northern Territory for a continuous period of three months.
You will also need to carry an international driving permit if your overseas licence is in a language other than English or if the type of vehicle you are authorised to drive cannot be easily recognised.
An interstate driver licence is valid for up to three months in the NT. So once you have been in the NT for three months, your driver licence becomes invalid. To continue to drive in the NT after this initial period, you must be issued a Northern Territory driver licence (in certain circumstances an Exemption from holding an NT driver licence may be granted).
For further details click NT.
If you are visiting Queensland from another country, you can drive if you have a valid overseas licence. You can't drive in Queensland with your interstate or overseas licence if you have been issued with a Queensland licence.
You will need to apply for a Queensland driver licence if you are an Australian citizen with an interstate licence and you have been residing in Queensland for 3 months; or if you are not an Australian citizen, but before you took up residence in Queensland you were given a resident visa and you have now been residing in Queensland for 3 months; or if you are not an Australian citizen, but after you took up residence in Queensland you were given a resident visa and you have now been residing in Queensland for 3 months since getting the visa.
For further details click QLD.
If you are just visiting Australia, you can drive the same type of vehicle as your current licence allows, but you must drive according to any conditions on your overseas licence. You will need either one of these: a current licence issued in another country that is written in English or a current licence with an English translation if necessary or an international driver's licence.
If you become a permanent resident of South Australia, you must get your South Australian driver's licence within ninety days. Once you are issued with a new licence or learner's permit, your existing one will be invalid and you may have to surrender it.
For further details click SA.
You can drive in Tasmania on your overseas licence if you are a visitor or have a temporary visa (e.g. international students, working, holiday) or have a permanent visa that has not been issued more than 3 months. You may drive in Tasmania for up to 3 months from the date your permanent visa was issued if your overseas licence is current and you carry it while driving. If your overseas licence is not in English, you must also carry either an International Driving Permit or an English translation of your license by a person accredited to translate.
You must get a Tasmanian licence within 3 months of a permanent residency visa being issued. If you don't, you will be driving unlicensed.
For further details click TAS.
If you hold a temporary visa: you are not required to get a Victorian driver licence and/or learner permit, you can drive using your current overseas driver licence for the length of your stay and your driver licence must be written in English or accompanied by an English translation or international driving permit.
If you hold a permanent visa (issued under the Migration Act 1958) you may drive on your overseas driver licence if it's written in English or accompanied by an English translation or international driving permit for 6 months from the date you first entered Australia (if the permanent visa was issued before you entered Australia), or 6 months from the date when the permanent visa was issued (if the permanent visa was issued to you while in Australia). If you want to continue driving in Victoria after this time you must get a Victorian driver licence. If your overseas driver licence has expired, you will still be able to take the driving test as you are exempt from holding a learner permit for the test.
For further details click VIC.
If you are a visitor to Western Australia, you may drive only those vehicles that you are authorised to drive on your overseas licence, for as long as it remains valid in the country of issue.
If your overseas licence ceases to be valid, you must apply for a WA licence if you wish to continue driving. If your overseas licence is not in English, you must carry an international driving permit or an approved English translation of your licence with you when you drive.
You must get a driver’s licence once you have resided in WA for three months since being granted a permanent resident visa.
For further details click WA.
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