If you’re planning on driving in New Zealand you will need to know a few rules, we give you the lowdown on what you need to do to stay safe.
Applying for a New Zealand driver licence
In addition to people with a current, valid New Zealand driver’s licence, anyone can drive in New Zealand who:
- Has a current, valid overseas licence or permit, and
- Has not been disqualified or suspended, and
- Has been in New Zealand less than 12 months, and
- Knows the New Zealand road rules
It’s possible to convert your overseas licence to a New Zealand licence within 12 months of arriving. It’s usually easier than applying for a New Zealand licence, but some people have to sit a written and oral test, depending on what country they got their licence in.
After living in New Zealand for 12 months, you have to get a New Zealand driver’s licence (if you haven’t already converted your overseas licence). That involves a written and test on the road code, and a practical test in which a policeman or woman observes your driving.
Do I have to sit any tests?
You do not have to sit a test if you already have a licence, and:
- It is for a private motor car or motorbike, and
- It is at least two years old, current and valid, and
- It was granted in one of these countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America.
If these things don’t apply to you, then you have to sit and pass a test. If you want a licence for a commercial vehicle or a heavy vehicle, you have to do the test. And if you have to sit the test, you need to know the road code.
Here is the official NZ government website with everything you need to convert your driver’s licence to a New Zealand one.
Where do I go to get my licence?
Application forms and information about converting your licence can be obtained from driver licensing agents (such as Automobile Association ‘AA’ offices), or alternatively contact Land Transport New Zealand’s Driver Licensing Call Centre on 0800 822 422 with any queries.
What do I need to take?
When you take the test, make sure you have everything with you, including:
- Application form
- Identification (e.g. passport, existing licence, etc.)
- Evidence of your residential address in New Zealand
- Eyesight and/or medical certificate (if applicable)
NB: All documents should be originals and no photocopies. At the time of taking the test you will also have a photo taken which will be visible on your new licence.