Recent changes mean that some visa holders may need to get a Victorian licence to legally drive in Victoria.
Can I drive in Australia?
Yes, if you are on a temporary visa (such as 417 or 462) and have a current overseas driver’s licence you can legally drive for the duration of your temporary visa (except in Victoria).
What is different in Victoria?
You can drive in Victoria using your overseas licence, however there are a number of additional requirements:
- Provided it is valid, you can drive using your overseas licence when you first arrive in Victoria. If you are planning on staying and driving for more than 6 months in Victoria, you will need to convert your overseas licence to a Victorian licence within this time, even if you have an international driving permit.
- If your overseas licence is in a language other than English, you also need to carry an English translation or international driving permit whenever you drive. Note that the translation needs to be done by an accredited service – you cannot just get friends or family to do it.
What type of Victorian licence do I need?
Different licence types
Depending on your age and how long you’ve been driving, you’ll either get a full or probationary licence. Either is suitable for you to keep driving in Victoria, although there are some conditions that apply for P1 and P2 licences.
If you’re 22 years or older and you’ve had your overseas licence for:
- less than 3 years, you’ll get a P2 licence
- 3 years or more since your 18th birthday, you’ll get a full licence
If you’re between 21 and 22 years old
- you’ll get a P2 licence
If you’re between 18 and 21 years old and you’ve had your overseas licence for:
- less than 1 year, you’ll get a P1 licence
- 1 year or more since your 18th birthday, you’ll get a P2 licence
If you’re under 18 years old you won’t be able to get a Victorian driver licence, regardless of how long you’ve been driving overseas.
What’s the difference between P1, P2 and full licence?
Some restrictions apply to P1 and P2 licences such as having to have zero blood alcohol, the need to display “P” plates and restrictions on how many passengers can be carried. See: VicRoads P1 & P2 probationary licence restrictions
How do I get a Victorian licence?
Depending which country your overseas licence is from, you may be able to just make an appointment and get your licence changed over to a Victorian one. Alternatively, you may need to go through the full process of obtaining a Victorian licence which involves a:
- road law knowledge test
- hazard perception test
- driving test.
The full process requires considerable preparation, study, and expense. Failure of any of the three steps means you cannot continue to drive – https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/licences
Who can’t get a licence in Victoria?
You can’t get a Victorian driver licence if your overseas licence is:
Always carry your licence
Regardless of what type of licence you are using in Victoria, a few basic rules apply:
- always carry your licence with you when driving
- make sure the car you are driving is roadworthy
- never drive over 0.05% percent alcohol content (zero % for P1 & P2 licences)
- Only drive manual vehicles if licensed to do so
- Make sure you fully understand Victorian road rules. The Vicroads website has five short videos that will help you become familiar and comfortable with some of the most commonly misunderstood road rules in Victoria – www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules
Tourist and visitor information about road rules and driving in Victoria is also available in several languages –Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Thai – https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/languages
Driving is a privilege
Driving a vehicle in Australia is a privilege… not a right. Australian roads and road rules can be very different from those in your home country. Large fines and licence cancellations can occur for breaches of rules, so check carefully with each state licensing authority before driving.