If you are emigrating to Australia, you must be aware of rules related to driving there. Driving is required in day to day life in Australia. Whether you are there for a short or long term, you must abide by the driving rules there. The government authorities of the states and territories are at the helm for regulating the driving.

Like in other countries, driving license is required. The driving age varies between states and territories. It is 18 years in Victoria, 16 years and six months in Northern Territory and 17 years in all other states and The Australian Capital Territory. If you possess an overseas drivers license and you are in Australia for a short term visit, then your foreign license is valid there, and you can drive using it.

Overseas Drivers license in Australia

The overseas drivers license can be used for as long as three months in Australia, and you should fulfil the following criteria:

  • You should remain a visitor.
  • You should have a current foreign driving license that should not have been suspended or cancelled.
  • You should not have been disqualified.
  • Your visitor driver privilege should not have been withdrawn.

As long as these criteria are fulfilled, you can drive with your overseas drivers license. However, it is necessary that it should be in English. If the language is not English, it should be translated, or you should obtain an international driving permit from your country which issued your driving license. And, it is also necessary that you should always have your passport, your driving license, it’s English translation or the international driving permit with you and should be able to show when any policeman requests for it. The International Driving Permit (IDP) is valid for 12 months after it is issued. You can only drive those vehicles that have been authorised in your foreign license.

If you are in Australia for a period longer than 3 months, you are there to settle as a permanent resident then you must apply for the driving license of your state. For this, you require your passport and the proof of your address. Any official letter can be used for the proof of your address (For example, photo id). If you are staying with your friends or family, you can take their help by making them sign in the form to vouch for you, but it is necessary for them to have the license of the state that you are applying in. To get a full driving license in Australia, you will have to undergo three phases: Getting the learner’s permit, probationary period and then finally, full driving license.

Overseas Drivers Licence

If you have all these requirements, you will have to undergo theory test and practical test. It does not matter if you fail in theory exam as you can give the exam again and again. However, if you fail in practical exam, your visiting driver privileges might be lost and when you give the exam the second time and pass it, you will have to undergo the probation as well.

Drivers License for Foreigners

You are exempt from undergoing these exams if you fulfil any of the following criteria:

  • You hold a valid and current driving license of New Zealand.
  • You currently hold an overseas drivers license and previously, you held Australian driving license.
  • You have a license issued by the countries whose licensing system is recognised to be similar to Australia like most of the European countries, Canada, United States of America and Japan.

If you fulfil any of the above criteria then you can get your foreign driving license exchanged at local Road and Traffic Authority (RTA) office.

These rules apply to all the states and territories, but there might be some slight differences according to rules of particular states and territories. To make sure, do check with the local authority. The important thing is that you should learn the road rules of Australia and whenever you drive, drive safely and legally.