Driving on an Overseas License
The type of license required to drive in Australia depends on your Visa and intended length of stay. If you are in Victoria on a temporary visa, you can drive on your overseas license, provided it is a current, valid license and the qualification system is similar to Australia. This includes most EU countries*, the UK, US, Ireland and Wales. It is also recommended that you carry your passport while driving in Victoria.
*For detailed current information on countries with eligible licenses, see http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au
Obtaining a Victorian Driver’s License – Test Exemptions
If you are a permanent resident visa holder and have a current driver’s license from another country, in English or with an official translation, you are allowed to drive for your first six months after arrival. After that point, you will need to obtain a Victoria state Driver’s License. Most citizens of the countries mentioned above will be exempt from any licensing tests, and will be able to obtain a Victoria state Driver’s License simply by making an appointment and presenting their overseas license in person at a VicRoads office.
To determine if you are eligible, or to schedule an appointment, contact VicRoads (the Victorian Road Authority) Phone 131171 or visit their website http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au.
However, if your country’s license is not eligible for automatic issue of a Victoria state Driver’s License, you will have to submit to practical and written testing to prove your ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner in accordance with Australia traffic laws.
Obtaining a Victorian Driver’s License – Process
The Victorian licensing system works in three stages:
1. You must first obtain a Learners Permit. To obtain a permit, you must complete a written test on Road Rules at a VicRoads office, as well as a basic eyesight test. Upon successful completion, and presentation of some existing photo ID, you will be given a permit which allows you to learn to drive on Australian roads if you are accompanied by a Victorian licensed adult. To make an apointment to take the test see https://billing.vicroads.vic.gov.au/bookings/Home/LearnerTermsAndConditions/
If you don’t know any fully licensed Australian drivers, there are several driving schools in the Melbourne area that can provide instruction and help you gain valuable practice.
Melbourne Driving School
Exhibition Street, Melbourne
0414 771 101
Sprint Driving School
1800 353 944
2. The next step is a Probationary License Period of between 6 and 18 months, depending on your circumstances. You will receive a Probationary License by successfully completing a practical driving test conducted by an official of VicRoads. The test can be easily passed if you have memorised the Victorian Road Rule booklet (available from any newsagency for about $20) and have had some practise on Australian roads. You will be asked to perform simple demonstrations of skill including:
- Reverse-parking (Parallel Parking)
- Sticking to the speed limit
- Changing lanes
- Generally demonstrating your confidence on the roads
To make an apointment to take the test see https://billing.vicroads.vic.gov.au/bookings/Home/LearnerTermsAndConditions/
During your Probationary period, you must have a 0.00 blood alcohol level at all times when you are driving and not have a car that is more powerful than a standard sedan.
3. You graduate to a full license automatically when your probation period has lapsed. You are not required to visit a VicRoads office, as this change is automatically updated in their systems. At this stage, you are allowed to have a 0.05 blood alcohol percentage and teach others to drive as a fully Victorian licensed adult.