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Moving to Australia? Can you drive with an Overseas drivers licence or do you need an Australian drivers licence?

Always carry your driver’s licence with you while driving and show it to a police officer if asked to do so.If you have a current overseas drivers licence you can drive in Australia under the following conditions:

  • Comply with any other conditions of your driver’s licence.

  • Drive only those vehicles that you are authorised to drive.

  • Hold a current driver’s licence that is not suspended or cancelled (you cannot drive on your overseas licence if you are disqualified from driving or your driving privileges are withdrawn).

  • If your licence is not in English, you must carry either a NAATI certified English translation of your licence, or an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Depending on your visa status you may be able to use your overseas licence for the duration of your stay but check carefully as you may need to apply for an Australian licence within the first 3 months of moving. The following provides a summary of the regulations for each state and links to the relevant websites for further information.

Australian drivers licence requirements by State

 

Queensland https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/licensing/driver-licensing/overseas/transfer

Residence visa holders will need to apply for a Queensland licence within 3 months of taking up residence.   Temporary and business visa holders may drive with a valid overseas drivers licence.  

New South Wales https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/licence/visiting-moving/index.html

Permanent residents and visa holders are required to apply for a NSW licence within 3 months of the date you arrive in Australia.   Temporary visa holders may apply for a Temporary overseas visitors licence if their stay is longer than 3 months but it is not mandatory if they have a valid overseas licence.

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

Permanent and temporary visa holders are required to apply for a Victorian licence if they will be living in Victoria for more than 6 months.   Visitors staying less than 6 months may drive with a valid overseas drivers licence.

Western Australia https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/licensing/visiting-from-overseas.asp

Permanent residents and visa holders are required to apply for a WA licence within 3 months of the date your visa was granted.   Temporary and business visa holders may drive with a valid overseas drivers licence.  

South Australia https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/driving-and-transport/licences/interstate-and-overseas

Permanent residents and visa holders of South Australia, must obtain a South Australian driver’s licence within ninety days.    Temporary and business visa holders may drive with a valid overseas drivers licence.  

Northern Territory https://nt.gov.au/driving/driverlicence/new-nt-residents-and-visitors/driver-licence-rules-for-new-nt-residents-and-visiting-drivers

Permanent and temporary visa holders are required to apply for a NT licence if they will be living in NT for more than 3 months.   In certain circumstances, you can apply for an exemption from holding an NT driver licence if you’re staying longer than three months, but not more than 12 months.

ACT https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au

Residence visa holders will need to apply for an ACT licence within 3 months of taking up residence.   Temporary and business visa holders may drive with a valid overseas drivers licence.  

Tasmania https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/

Residence visa holders will need to apply for a Tasmanian licence within 3 months of taking up residence.   Temporary and business visa holders may drive with a valid overseas drivers licence.  

Author – Karen Mellor