Long Arrow Right External Link angle-right Search Times Spinner angle-left

Driving in Australia with a foreign licence

If you hold a foreign driving licence, and are driving in Australia, there are rules as to whether or not you have to switch to an Australian driving licence. 

There are different rules for different countries. You might be able to swap your licence, or re-do your driving test.

If you’re found to be driving on an incorrect licence in Australia, you will get in trouble. You may be fined, or have your driving privileges suspended.

Each state has its own laws, so the different rules will be explained state-by-state.

New South Wales

Citizens with overseas licences

If you’re an Australian citizen who lives overseas and has a current overseas licence, you’re permitted to drive in NSW as a temporary overseas visitor. There is no need to apply to get a NSW licence or renew a NSW licence.

Permanent residents

If you’re a permanent resident of Australia under the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, you can drive or ride on NSW roads using a current overseas licence. You're allowed to do this for up 3 months from the date you arrive in Australia.

If you plan to continue driving on NSW roads, you must get a NSW licence within this 3 month period.

Tourists and overseas visitors

If you're a tourist or temporary overseas visitor, you can drive in NSW using your overseas licence as long as you:

  • remain a temporary overseas visitor
  • have a current overseas licence
  • have not been disqualified from driving in NSW or anywhere else
  • have not had your licence suspended or cancelled, or your visiting driving privileges withdrawn
  • carry your overseas driver or rider licence with you.

If your licence is not written in English, you must also carry an English translation, or an International Driving Permit. This is issued by the motoring association or embassy of the country that you are licensed to drive in.

You don’t have to get a NSW licence if you meet these conditions and can prove your visitor status to police, if asked.

(https://www.nsw.gov.au/driving-boating-and-transport/driver-and-rider-licences/visiting-or-moving-to-nsw/overseas-and-interstate-visitors)

Victoria

“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.

“If you hold a temporary visa, you are not required to get a Victorian driver licence and/or learner permit”

(https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/licences/renew-replace-or-update/new-to-victoria/overseas-drivers)

Queensland

“You can’t drive in Queensland if:

  • your authority to drive in Queensland on your overseas licence has been withdrawn because you:
    • are an Australian citizen and you have been residing in Queensland for 3 months
    • 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
    • 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
    • have failed a practical driving test in Queensland after 1 January 2014.

“A resident visa is a permanent visa or special category visa under the Migration Act 1958 (Commonwealth). These visas allow a person to stay indefinitely in Australia. These do not include temporary, business or guardian visas.

“If you are visiting Queensland from another country or jurisdiction, you can drive if you have a valid overseas licence.”

(https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/licensing/driver-licensing/overseas/driving/)

Western Australia

“If you are a visitor to Western Australia (WA), 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.

“Visiting drivers include:

  • Overseas Defence Force personnel and their families.
  • People on business trips.
  • People with working holiday visas.
  • People working temporarily in WA.
  • Students studying in WA.
  • Tourists.

“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.”

(http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/licensing/visiting-from-overseas.asp)

South Australia

“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
  • a current licence with an English translation if necessary or an international driver's licence.

“You must carry your licence documents at all times when driving and produce these and your passport to police on request.

“You must not be disqualified from driving in any country.

“If your overseas licence expires while you are in Australia, you must get an Australian licence.”

(https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/driving-and-transport/drivers-and-licences/driving-with-an-overseas-licence)