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Australian Drivers Licence or Overseas Licence?

International or Overseas Drivers Licence?

For all states and territories of Australia, except the Northern Territory, it is legal to drive in Australia (typically for the first three months from the date of your arrival in Australia to live) on a current overseas drivers licence if your drivers licence is in English. If your overseas drivers licence is not in English, you will need an official English translation (a translation certified by an Embassy or Consulate or by a National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) or an Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) accredited translator) of your licence or an International Driving Permit (together with your overseas drivers licence). In the Northern Territory, if your international drivers licence is not in English, you will need an International Driving Permit (granted in accordance with the terms of the 1949 United Nations Convention on Road Traffic) together with your overseas drivers licence (a translation into English is not accepted).

Getting An Australian Drivers Licence

If you arrive in Australia on a permanent residence visa and are here to settle (as opposed to validating your visa), you will need to get an Australian drivers licence. This isn’t too urgent as most states allow you to drive with your recognised overseas drivers licence for up to 3 months from when you arrived. It still makes sense to complete the necessary process sooner rather than later though, as an Australian drivers license is often required (towards the “100 point score” identification where an Australian licence is worth 40 points and a foreign licence 25 points) when applying for mobile phone contracts or many other forms of credit (e.g. store cards).

When you buy a car and want to take out insurance, most insurance companies will not insure you if you do not hold a current Australian drivers licence – another reason to change yours for an Australian one as you will need to do so within 3-6 months anyway (if you hold a permanent residence visa). Please do check with your insurance company that they will cover you if you take out any car insurance whilst you are driving on your overseas licence (hire cars excepted).

Each state and territory of Australia has their own drivers licence and the requirements to change your licence to one in the state where you are living applies to Australians who move interstate as well.

See the Driving In Australia section for detailed information and links to the drivers licensing divisions websites for each of the states and territories.

Click to Continue to the next section (Insurance).

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