What Sort of Driver’s License Do I Need When Visiting Australia?

Driver’s License

There is no such thing as an ‘Australian driving license.’ Like the U.S., each state or territory issues its own driving license, which is valid for use anywhere else in Australia for a limited period. Australians who move from one state to another can use their home state or territory license as long as they are not resident in the other state for more than three months. After that, they are required by the new state or territory’s law to acquire a new driving license which will need to display the residential address of the holder.

Visitors to Australia may use their own home driving license and /or an international license for three months while in any one Australian state or territory. After 3 months, they are then required to get a local driving license.

The use of an overseas driving license and / or an international license may require using a translator to translate the license if it is not in English.

The rules vary somewhat from state to state, so it is wise to have a look at each state’s rules if you are expecting to stay there for any length of time. If you are hiring a car in Australia on arrival, expect to have a license / international license and translations if required when you register with the hire car company. You also need to have these available whenever you drive, in case you are asked to show them to a police officer.

Rules For International Visitors

You must have your home license with you, a copy of it in English if it is not in English, or an international driving license. International driving licenses always have an English translation somewhere on them. Some jurisdictions in Australia, for example, the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) insist you have all three: i.e. your own home license, a translation in English (if necessary) and an international license as well. All other states and the Northern Territory allow either the home license (plus a translated copy if necessary) or an international license.

The license must clearly display the type of vehicle you are allowed to use. This is most important if you have a motorcycle license only and want to drive a car or vice versa as you will be restricted to either. Most people who have a home issued license to drive larger vehicles like buses or trucks can also drive an ordinary car, but that doesn’t follow the other way round.

All states and territories with the exception of Victoria make it compulsory for you to get a local state or territory license after 3 months of continuous residence, or the acquisition of a more permanent visa. Victoria allows 6 months before you need to get a Victorian driving license.

Translations should be done by an accredited translator in Australia (a NAATI translator for example), or if you are back at home, get the translation certified by someone in authority.

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