Are you planning to get a driver's licence in Australia but do not know where to start? You are in the right place! In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about how to get a driver licence in Australia.
Despite Australia's well-connected transportation network and overall good transportation system, having your own vehicle is still essential in this vast country. This means that obtaining a driver's licence is a legal requirement in Australia.
Australians place a high value on road safety, which is why the country has highly strict traffic laws and a zero-tolerance policy for any offence.
People are often concerned about Australia's stringent driving assessment procedures. Still, nothing can stop you from obtaining a licence on your first try, provided you learn to drive properly and make it a habit.
Here is a complete guide that will assist you in gaining a fair understanding of the Australian Driving Licence, the assessment process for getting a driver's licence, the associated demerit point system, the application process for a drivers license, and more. Remember, if you are well-prepared and informed for a Driving Assessment, you will easily pass with decent numbers.
1. Standard Terms Associated with the Australian Driver's Licence
Let us begin by learning the standard terms associated with the Australian driver's licence and what you should know about them:
Department of Transport
Every state or territory in Australia has its own Department of Transport (often referred to as DOT). These DOTs are in charge of granting driver's licences to individuals who have applied for them. Any licences issued by the Department of Transport are valid throughout all Australian states.
A driver's license (DL) is issued with 11 to 13 demerit points that are valid for three years. Different DOTs have different demerit points.
For each violation of a traffic rule, a specific number of demerit points will be deducted. The number of demerit points removed varies, depending on the severity of the offence. If you are on a long vacation, the number of demerit points assigned to each sort of offence will get doubled.
Furthermore, your driving licence will get cancelled if you're left with zero demerit points, and you will be ineligible to apply for a new license for the following three months. As a result, when driving in Australia, extreme caution is required.
2. How to Prepare for Your Driver's Licence Application
Here is everything you need to know about preparing for your driving licence application in Australia:
If You Have An Overseas Driving Licence
Visitors on a temporary visa (not a permanent visa) from other countries are conditionally authorised to drive with their existing overseas driver's licence for the duration of their stay, except for Victoria and Northern Territory. When it comes to Australian drivers license for foreigners, every Australian state and territory has its own set of conditions.
In general, drivers must bring their foreign driver's licence with them and submit a copy of it together with other needed documents for a 100-point check when applying for a learner's permit.
An International Driving Permit or a certified translation is only necessary if the licence is not in English. However, you must anyway carry your original licence with you. As per Australian drivers license NSW (New South Wales) conditions, if a driver becomes a permanent resident of NSW, they must obtain a local licence within a three month period.
A resident of Victoria who intends to stay for more than six months is not authorised to drive with an international licence for more than six months (calculated using Australia entry date or the visa grant, whichever is later).
People who hold a driver's licence from a non-recognised country must possess a Driving Licence Verification Certificate together with the other papers. To see a list of recognised countries, visit this website.
If You Do Not Have an Overseas Driving Licence
If you do not possess an overseas driving licence, you need to submit all the documents necessary for a 100-point check when applying for a learners licence. Here's everything you need to know about a 100-point check:
The 100-point check is a procedure used in Australia to verify and establish someone's identification. The Australian government uses this personal identification system to prevent financial transaction fraud perpetrated by businesses and individuals.
The Australian government maintains a standard list of documents that an individual needs to present for a 100-point check. These documents are basically divided into sections, and there are specific points for each section. If you are required to meet a 100-point check in any situation, you must be able to submit documents totalling up to 100 points.
The documents are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Any primary document has a point value of 70. If you cannot present your primary documents for any reason, you must submit at least one secondary document with your picture on it.
The secondary documents on the list are worth 40 / 25 points. The tables below contain specific information about the documents as well as the points they include:
Types of Documents
40 Point Documents
35 Point Documents
25 Point Documents
Submission: 0 or 1 document
Submission: 0 or 1 document
3. How to Get a Permanent Driving Licence in Australia?
All DOTs (Departments of Transport) in Australia have a simplified process for the issuance of a driving licence.
Here are some most common steps you can follow to obtain a permanent driving licence in Australia:
Step 1: Get a Learner's License
You must first complete an online assessment to obtain a learner's license. In this Australian drivers license test, you will get multiple-choice questions on road safety. You must ensure that 80 percent of your answers are correct.
After passing the online test, you will receive a learner's permit. Keep in mind that it is mandatory for everyone to obtain a learner's license.
Note: The test consists of around 30 questions.
Step 2: Learn And Practice Driving With Australian Regulations
Before taking the Practical Driving Assessment, it is recommended that you learn and practise driving with Australian rules and regulations. Driving instructors can teach you how to drive.
You will find several driving schools in every Australian city where you can learn how to drive efficiently without breaking any rules.
Step 3: Appear for Practical Driving Assessment (PDA)
You can take the Practical Driving Assessment (PDA) after you have a good understanding of the road safety laws in Australia and are confident about your driving skills.
You will be seated next to an examiner during your PDA, who will ask you to follow the instructions. The PDA incorporates five sections, each of which will require you to do certain activities.
At the end of the examination, the examiner will inform you whether you have received the licence or not, based on how well you performed in each area.
Step 4: Obtain a Red P or P1
After passing your PDA, you will need to practise driving with some limitations, such as maintaining a blood alcohol level of zero, a speed limit of 90 kilometres per hour and the ability to pull trailers weighing up to 250 kgs.
Additionally, only a few demerit points are awarded to P1 drivers. P1 drivers must hold their licence for a year before moving on to the next step.
Step 5: Get a Green P or P2
After a year of holding Red P, you will receive a Green P or P2. As a P2 driver, you will only get a certain number of demerit points. Once you have your P2 driver's licence for six months, you will be eligible for a full driver's licence.
P2 holders are also subject to certain limitations, such as a blood alcohol level of zero and a speed limit of no more than 100 kilometres per hour.
Step 6: Get a Full Licence
After six months of holding a Green P licence, you will be eligible for a full licence. Once you receive your full driver's licence, you can drive at the maximum speed limit. Furthermore, with your full licence, you will have access to all demerit points.
If you have an overseas driver's licence and have been driving for at least six years before applying for an Australian driver's licence, you will be issued a full licence instantly after passing the PDA.
If you want more information about the driver's licence application process for a specific state or territory, check out the Australian government website.
Note: Although the format of the online assessment and PDA, the number of demerit points, and the process of obtaining a full licence is similar in all states, the numbers associated with these processes may differ. Please consult the respective official Department of Transport websites for additional information:
4. How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Your License in Australia?
The age limit to get your driver's licence in Australia depends on where you reside in the country. Apart from that, you will need to take a few steps to ensure that you are ready to drive safely.
You first need to get a learner's permit for supervised driving, then move to a restricted, probationary or provisional licence, which allows you to drive by yourself (also known as your Ps), before obtaining a full driver's licence.
Check out the table below to know different age requirements in different states and territories to get a learner's permit in Australia:
|State / Territory||Age Requirement to
Get a Learner’s Permit
|Australian Capital Territory (ACT)||
|New South Wales (NSW)||
|Northern Territory (NT)||
|South Australia (SA)||
|Western Australia (WA)||
5. Australian Drivers License for International Students
In Australia, only those with a valid driver's licence are allowed to drive. You always need to carry your driver's licence with you when driving. As an international student, one thing to keep in mind is that you are a temporary resident of Australia, which means that the Australian transport authorities must approve your home country's driver's licence.
Suppose your driver's licence is in your home country's language and not in the English language - in that case, you need to get an international driving permit from your home country or a certified translation in English.
If you do not have a driver's licence, you can apply for one in Australia. You need to check with your territory's or state's motor registration and take some assessments. Remember, you still have to apply for a driver's licence even if you get an Australian PR (permanent residency).
There are numerous other advantages of getting an Australian driver's licence for international students. It will serve as your principal identity document everywhere you travel in Australia. It can also assist in the job search because some positions demand a driver's licence. Overall, it allows you to go wherever you want, whenever you want!
6. Road Rules in Australia
If you want to drive a vehicle in Australia, it is crucial that you get familiar with the local road laws, which may differ from other countries (like driving on the left side of the road). Each state and territory has its own set of rules, so be sure you understand the ones that apply to where you reside.
Some of the most common rules include wearing a seat belt, using hand-held cell phones while driving, and speed limits.
Driving under the influence of illicit substances or with a blood alcohol concentration of above 0.05 is likewise banned in all regions of Australia. If you are found guilty of an offence, you might be required to pay a fine. You may even lose your licence or face criminal charges in serious situations.
Now that you know everything about how to get a drivers license in Australia, you are ready to start with the process of getting your Australian driver's license, which will give you the freedom to go anywhere anytime.
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