Can I drive in NZ with my current license?
New Zealand allows you to drive with your foreign driver’s license or an International Driving Permit for 12 months from your arrival in the country if you meet certain rules; if your current license or permit does not meet these rules then you must apply for your NZ license before driving in NZ:
- Your overseas license is current and valid, and
- you’ve not received a disqualification or suspension in New Zealand, and
- you last entered New Zealand less than 12 months ago, and
- your overseas license is in English; if it’s not, you must have an accurate translation, and
- you’ve not been granted a New Zealand driver license.
After twelve months you must obtain a New Zealand driver’s license if you wish to continue driving.
NOTE: Some countries use the term ‘Driving Permit’ instead of ‘Driving License’, in this case a driving permit is NOT the same as an ‘International Driving Permit’.
My License is Not in English
If your overseas license is not in English, you must carry an acceptable English translation issued by one of the following:
- A translation service that has been authorized by the NZTA.
- A diplomatic representative at a high commission, embassy or consulate.
- The authority that issued your overseas license (an international driving permit may be acceptable as a translation).
How Do I get an NZ License?
To get an NZ license, you must apply in person at a Land Transport New Zealand driver licensing agent. You can find them at:
- The Automobile Association (AA) http://www.aa.co.nz
- Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) http://www.vtnz.co.nz
- Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ) http://www.vinz.co.nz
Click on this link for a full list of driver licensing agents in Auckland: http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/licensing/getting-licence/where-auckland.html
To obtain your NZ license, you do not need to make an appointment. Simply drop by a driver licensing agent with:
- Your overseas license (and translation if necessary).
- Proof of address such as a utility bill with your name on it.
- An eyesight certificate less than 60-days old from a New Zealand-registered doctor or optometrist OR
- you must pass an on-sight eyesight check.
You will also have your photograph taken and supply a signature.
The application fee for a full license is $49.60 (including GST). The test fee, if you need to sit it, is $86.60 (including GST). Should you fail the test and wish to re-sit, a new test fee must be paid.
Do I Need to Take a Test?
You may not be required to sit the theory or practical tests if your driver license comes from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland the United Kingdom or the United States of America. Refer to the NZTA factsheet New residents and visitors – driving in New Zealand for more information.
If you are not from one of the countries listed above, then you will most likely be required to sit both a theory and practical test in order to obtain your NZ driving license.
If you fail the theory test, you will not be allowed to drive until you pass it. All information you need to pass the test can be found in the Offical New Zealand Road Code.
If you fail the practical test, you will only be allowed to drive with a licensed NZ driver in the car as a “supervisor” until you take the test again and pass it.
If you aren’t comfortable behind the wheel, or would like to take some lessons before sitting your test, Auckland has many driving schools to choose from, including:
- Alert Driving School — http://www.alertdriving.co.nz/; 09 274-8494
- A1 Driving School — http://www.a1drivingschool.co.nz/; 09 302 3456
- PassRite Driving Academy — http://www.passrite.co.nz/; 09 489 9100
Any Other Questions?
To make an appointment, get a translation of your overseas license or ask any license-related questions, go to http://www.nzta.govt.nz/about/contact/driver-licensing.html.