If you’ve recently moved to Australia, you might be wondering whether or not your international licence is valid.
In most states, you can drive with an international licence, but only for a short period of time — usually around 3 months. After this period, you will need to transfer your international licence into an Australian state licence, depending on where you’re located.
The process of transferring an international driver's licence to an Australian driver's licence varies from state to state.
We explain how to convert your international driving licence in Australia in this state-by-state guide.
How to Convert Your International Driving Licence in Australia
If you’ve just touched down in Australia, the good news is that you won’t need to switch your licence over straight away.
In all Australian states, you’ll have a grace period where you can drive on your overseas licence. However, this period is finite, and you will need to transfer your licence over within a few months.
Let’s look at how to convert your international driving licence in Australia, depending on the state in which you’re residing.
Convert Overseas Licence to Queensland (QLD) Licence
Are you looking to drive in Queensland with an international licence?
You’re in luck! As long as you have a valid overseas licence, you can drive with your international licence in QLD.
Be mindful that you can’t drive in Queensland on an international licence if any of the following applies to you:
- An Australian court has disqualified you from holding or getting a driver's licence
- Your authority to drive in Queensland has been suspended because you:
- Haven’t paid fines issued to you
- Have been convicted of driving at more than 40km/hr over the speed limit
- Your authority to drive in Queensland on your overseas licence has been withdrawn because you:
- Are medically unfit to drive safely
- Are an Australian citizen, and you’ve been living in Queensland for 3 months
- Are not an Australian citizen, but you were given a resident visa before you started living in Queensland and you’ve now been living in Queensland for 3 months
- Are not an Australian citizen, but you were given a resident visa after you started living in Queensland for 3 months since getting the visa.
- Have failed a practical driving test in Queensland.
To continue driving in Queensland after the restricted 3-month period, you’ll need to transfer your international licence to a QLD licence.
Fortunately, this is a relatively straightforward process. You’ll need to visit your closest Transport and Main Roads customer service centre or a Queensland Government licence issuing centre to apply.
For the most up-to-date information on transferring your overseas driver’s licence to a QLD licence, see your closest service centre or visit here: https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/.
Convert International Licence to New South Wales (NSW) Licence
To drive with an international licence in NSW, you’ll first need to work out what type of visa you have.
If you’re just visiting NSW, you can drive on your current licence, as long as it hasn’t been suspended or disqualified (and provided you follow the NSW road rules, of course).
If you’re a permanent Australian resident or hold a permanent visa under the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, and you intend to stay in NSW, you’re not considered to be a visitor.
You will need the following documentation to complete the transfer:
- Your proof of identity
- A knowledge test (if applicable)
- A driving test (if applicable)
- A medical report (if applicable)
- Your overseas licence (and a translation if not in English)
Once you have the documents, you’ll need to visit a service centre and provide the information in person.
For the most up-to-date information on transferring your overseas driver’s licence in NSW, see your closest service centre or visit here: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au
Convert International Driving Licence to South Australian (SA) Licence
If you’re visiting South Australia, you can drive on 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.
Drivers must carry their licence documents at all times when driving and produce these and their passports to police on request.
For the most up-to-date information on how to convert your international driving licence in South Australia, see your closest service centre or visit here: https://www.sa.gov.au.
Convert International Drivers Licence to Canberra (ACT) Licence
Visiting drivers are not required to have an ACT driver's licence as long as their overseas licence, and international driving permit remains current, and the tourist or visitor status remains unchanged.
A visiting driver falls under the below categories
- Business people
- People visiting friends or relatives
- Visitors on working holiday visas, and
- People studying or working temporarily in the ACT who intend to return to their home state or country when they finish their study or employment.
Overseas licence holders must carry the following when driving:
- Your foreign driver's licence written in English; or
- Your international driving permit accompanied by your foreign driver's licence; or
- Your foreign driver's licence that is not in English accompanied by an official English translation of the licence.
Overseas holders of a full licence moving to the ACT need to obtain an ACT driver's licence within 3 months of living there.
No further test is required if you are over 25 years old and hold a full licence from an approved country or jurisdiction.
If you hold a licence in an approved country but are under the age of 25, you are required to pass a road rules knowledge test and practical driving assessment or achieve a Certificate of Competency under the Competency Based Training and Assessment Scheme.
For the most up-to-date information see your closest service centre or visit here: https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au
Convert Overseas Licence to Victorian (VIC) Licence
Next, let’s take a look at how to convert an international driving licence in Victoria.
Driving in Victoria on an international licence is dependent on your visa status. If you hold a temporary visa, you’re not required to get a Victorian driver’s licence and can drive for the length of your stay with the appropriate paperwork.
Your driver’s licence must be written in English or accompanied by an English translation or international driving permit.
If you hold a permanent visa (issued under the Migration Act 1958) you may drive on your driver's licence with the appropriate paperwork for the following durations:
- 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)
To continue driving in Victoria, you’ll have to transfer your licence.
For the most up-to-date information on transferring your international licence to a VIC licence, see your closest service centre or visit here: https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au
Convert Overseas Licence to Western Australian (WA) Licence
If you are a visitor to Western Australia (WA), you may drive only the vehicles that you’re authorised to drive on your overseas licence, for as long as it remains valid in the country of issue.
If your overseas licence is invalid, you must apply for a WA licence if you wish to continue driving.
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
If your overseas licence is not in English, you’ll need to carry an international driving permit or an approved English translation of your licence with you when you drive.
To be able to drive on WA roads with your overseas driver's licence (and international driving permit, if applicable), you must:
- Carry your licence (an international driving permit, if applicable) with you at all times while driving and show it to a police officer if asked to do so;
- Comply with any other conditions of your licence;
- Drive only those vehicles that you are authorised to drive;
- Hold a current 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).
For the most up-to-date information on how to convert your international driving licence in Western Australia, see your closest service centre or visit here: https://www.transport.wa.gov.au
Convert International Licence to Northern Territory (NT) Licence
Now, for how to convert your international driving licence in Australia’s Northern Territory.
In the Northern Territory, you can drive on your overseas licence for up to three months.
If your overseas licence is in a language other than English, and the type of vehicle you are authorised to drive cannot be easily recognised, you’ll also need to carry an International Driving Permit.
Under the Northern Territory law, you need to carry your licence with you at all times.
In certain circumstances, you can apply for an exemption from holding an NT driver's licence if you’re staying longer than three months but not more than 12 months.
For the most up-to-date information, see your closest service centre or visit here: https://nt.gov.au
Convert International Licence to Tasmanian (TAS) Licence
You can drive in Tasmania on your overseas licence if you’re a visitor or have a temporary visa (e.g. international student, refugee, working, holiday) or have a permanent visa that has not been issued more than 3 months, as long as
- Your overseas licence remains current;
- You have not been disqualified from driving in Tasmania or anywhere else in the world;
- Your licence has not been suspended or cancelled;
- Your visitor’s exemption (right to drive/ride in Tasmania using your overseas licence) has not been terminated;
- You have not been issued a Tasmanian licence (learner, provisional or full);
- You carry your licence with you, and if it is not in English, you must also carry an International Drivers Permit or an official translation.
If you have been issued a Tasmanian learner licence, you need to drive under learner licence conditions and be accompanied by a fully licensed supervisory driver.
At this point, you can no longer drive using your overseas licence and must pass an on-road driving assessment to be issued a provisional or full Tasmanian licence. Note that overseas learner licences are not recognised in Tasmania.
If your overseas licence is not in English, you must also carry either:
- An International Driving Permit or
- An English translation of your licence by a person accredited to translate
For the most up-to-date information on how to convert your international driving licence in Tasmania, see your closest service centre or visit here: www.transport.tas.gov.au
A Final Word on Converting Your International Driving Licence in Australia
Now you’re set with everything you need to know on converting your international driving licence in Australia.
Remember, you don’t need to switch over your licence as soon as your plane hits the tarmac, but it’s good to get planning as soon as possible.
This will ensure you don’t get stuck without a licence; that’s an inconvenience we can all do without!
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