Overseas Drivers

australian drivers licence

The rules and regulations for driving on Australian roads.

Overseas drivers are permitted to drive on their international license whilst on a Visa once becoming a permanent resident certain countries are not eligible for a license transfer and are required to take the knowledge test and driving test within three months of the date they became a permanent resident. Scroll down for more information about the various licence types and related regulations.

Driving in NSW on an overseas licence

If you hold an overseas drivers licence, you are allowed to drive the vehicles covered by your overseas licence in NSW indefinitely, as long as:

  • You remain a temporary overseas visitor
  • Your overseas drivers licence remains current
  • You have not been disqualified from driving in NSW or anywhere else
  • You have not had your licence suspended or cancelled, or your visiting driving privileges withdrawn
  • You must carry your overseas driver or rider licence. If your licence is not written in English, you must also carry an English translation, or an International Driving Permit.

Note: You don’t have to get a NSW licence if you comply with these conditions, and can prove your genuine visitor status to NSW Police, if required. You can choose to apply for a NSW licence if you wish (see below).

The NSW Road Users Handbook

It is recommended you read the Road Users handbook to familiarise yourself with the the current road rules in NSW:

Please note: this information has been sourced from the Roads and Maritime Services website and is believed to be up to date. We suggest you contact us direct or visit the RMS website for information specific to your situation.  

Applying for a NSW Drivers Licence as a temporary overseas visitor

If you’re a temporary overseas visitor  (i.e. not an Australian citizen and not a permanent resident of Australia) then you can choose to apply for a NSW licence.

In this instance, your licence will show the letter Q in the conditions area on the front of the card. The accompanying text ‘Evidence of permanent residency status not provided’ will be printed on the back of the card.

This does not apply if you’ve previously been issued a NSW licence, you’re transferring a licence from another Australian state or territory, to a NSW equivalent or  you’re a New Zealand citizen or New Zealand licence holder. In this case you’re exempt from the Q condition, however you must obtain a NSW licence within three months of living in NSW, regardless of whether you’re a temporary or permanent resident, or stop driving. See Moving to NSW for more information.

More information about applying for a NSW licence as a temporary overseas visitor »

Please note: this information has been sourced from the Roads and Maritime Services website and is believed to be up to date. We suggest you contact us direct or visit the RMS website for information specific to your situation.  

Becoming an Australian citizen or permanent resident

If you’re a permanent resident of Australia under the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, you can drive on a current overseas licence for a maximum of three months from the date you arrive in Australia. To keep driving, you need to obtain (not just apply for) a NSW licence within this three month period.

If you become an Australian citizen or permanent resident while you hold a temporary overseas visitor licence, you can have the Q condition removed (see above).   You will need to attend a motor registry or service centre in person and provide proof of your permanent residency status.  If your licence has not expired, you can apply for a replacement licence and will be required to pay a replacement fee. The replacement licence will have the same expiry date as the licence with the Q condition.

Alternatively, you may choose to wait until your licence expires, and then renew it without the Q condition. If you provide proof of your permanent residency status, you can renew for one, three or five years. You may be eligible for a ten year licence if you are aged 21 to 44 years.

Visit the Roads and Maritime website for more information »

New Zealand drivers licence holders

If you hold a New Zealand licence, you must get a NSW licence within three months of living in NSW, regardless of whether you are a temporary or permanent resident, or you must stop driving.

Visit the Roads and Maritime website for more information »

Please note: this information has been sourced from the Roads and Maritime Services website and is believed to be up to date. We suggest you contact us direct or visit the RMS website for information specific to your situation.  


Driving lessons for overseas visitors

If you want to familiarise yourself with the NSW road rules and confidently adjust to the different driving conditions on Australian roads, we can help!  Our single driving lessons are only $70 per hour or purchase one of our driving lesson packages and save.  For more information contact us direct on 0404 366 526.

Book a lesson » Call 0404 366 526  Email Us