Driving in Australia with an overseas licence
The short answer? Yes.
However, laws and driving regulations differ from state to state in Australia. We’ll break down the basics for you, but first let’s elaborate on the short answer above.
Can I drive in Australia on my overseas licence?
You are allowed to drive on an overseas licence in most Australian states – as long as your licence is current.
Furthermore, you can only drive vehicles which your overseas licence authorizes you to drive and you must drive according to the conditions on your overseas licence.
State and territory laws for driving in Australia with an overseas licence
There is a lot of information around laws and driving regulations in Australia! Thus, as mentioned, we’re only giving you the basics here. However, we don’t leave you with only the basics, we’ll also supply links to detailed information.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
As an overseas licence holder driving in ACT, you must carry your:
- Foreign driver licence written in English; or
- International driving permit accompanied by a foreign driver licence; or
- Foreign driver licence, which is not in English, accompanied by an official English translation. The only acceptable translations are those issued by the National Accreditation Authority For Translators and Interpreters or an Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators accredited translator.
Getting an ACT licence:
You must obtain an ACT driver’s licence within three months of taking up residency in the ACT.
New South Wales (NSW)
You can use your overseas licence for a maximum of three months. Thereafter you must have a NSW licence.
Your overseas licence will be taken into account when you apply for a NSW licence, but you may still have to pass medical and driving tests.
Northern Territory (NT)
As in ACT and NSW, you must change from an overseas licence to a NT licence within three months of living the Northern Territory.
Transfer of an overseas licence:
You can transfer your overseas driver licence (Class C) or motorcycle licence (Class R) to the NT. To do this, you’ll have to visit a Motor Vehicle Registry (MVR) office.
You may or may not have to do tests depending on where in the world you are moving from.
You are allowed to drive in Queensland if you have a valid overseas licence. However, once you have a Queensland licence, you will no longer be able to use your overseas licence.
If you become a permanent resident of South Australia, you must get your South Australian driver’s licence within 90 days.
To find out if you can transfer your licence for the same class of licence in South Australia, complete the South Australian Government’s question list.
You can drive in Tasmania on your overseas licence if you have a:
- Temporary visa; or
- Permanent visa that has not been issued more than 3 months,
as long as:
- Your overseas licence remains current.
- You have not been disqualified from driving in Tasmania or anywhere else in the world.
- Your licence has not been suspended or cancelled.
- You have not been issued a Tasmanian licence.
- Your carry your licence with you. If it is not in English, you must also carry an International Drivers Permit or an official translation.
Victoria has different rules for temporary and permanent visa holders:
Temporary visa holders:
- You do not have 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.
- Your licence must be in English or accompanied by an English translation or International Driving Permit.
Permanent visa holders:
If you have a permanent visa, you may drive on your overseas driver licence if it’s in English or accompanied by an English translation or International Driving Permit for:
- Six months from the date you first entered Australia, if your permanent visa was issued before you entered Australia; or
- Six months from the date when the permanent visa was issued, if the visa was issued while you’re in Australia.
If you want to continue driving in Victoria after this 6-month timeline, you must get a Victorian driver licence.
If you hold a permanent resident visa and are living in Western Australia, you can drive with your current overseas licence for up to 3 months.
During this time, you will need to apply for a WA driver’s.
If you have held a permanent visa for 3 months or more whilst residing in Western Australia, or your overseas driver’s licence has expired or been disqualified, you cannot drive on your overseas licence.
Driving in Australia with an overseas licence is allowed, but only for three months in most cases. Thereafter, you’ll have to transfer your licence. Depending on where in the world you’re from, you may have to do tests to gain an Australian driving licence. Once you have the licence, you’re may no longer drive on your overseas licence.
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