Western Australia (WA) visitors are those who will stay temporarily in WA including tourists, students, people conducting business, individuals working temporarily, those working on holiday visas, and defence force personnel from overseas and their families. If you belong to any of these overseas groups and you intend to drive in WA, you should have with you an overseas driver licence.
You can drive with your overseas licence as long as it is valid in the country where it was issued; and you may only drive vehicles authorised by this licence. For overseas licences that are not in English, you would need to carry with you an approved English translation of the licence, or an international driving permit, whenever you drive in WA. The translation must be NAATI-accredited; you can obtain such an official translation at The Migration Translators or Aussie Translations.
However, should your overseas licence expire while you are still in Australia, and you prefer to continue driving, you would need to apply for a WA driver licence. Getting your WA licence would depend on the country where your overseas licence was issued. There are three categories to consider, and your overseas licence will fall into one of these three: recognised country (means that the licence meets the same stringent criteria for driving as in WA); experienced driver, recognised country (means it has similar criteria for assessment as WA); and non-recognised country (means it fails to meet the requirements set out by WA). To know which group your issuing country falls under, you can check WA’s Department of Transport website.
If your overseas licence falls under recognised country, then you can apply for a WA driver licence by personally submitting your application form (form DL1) and paying the fee ($39.80) at the nearest Driver and Vehicle Services in WA. You should lodge with your application form all other requirements such as your overseas licence (and English translation, if applicable), proofs of identity, and a completed eyesight test. Your photo will then be taken upon your submission of the documents and payment. Your WA driver licence will be mailed to you within one week of your application. You will be authorised to drive the same vehicles as are listed in your overseas licence.
If, on the other hand, your overseas licence falls under non-recognised country, you will need to submit the same requirements, but also have to take and pass a theory test and an actual driving test. Only then will a WA driver licence be issued in your favour. Moreover, if you are below 19 years old, or have had an overseas licence for less than two years, what will be issued to you is a provisional licence, which has certain restrictions.
Finally, if the overseas licence you have is under experienced driver recognised country, then your age will be the point of consideration before you proceed with your application. If you are over 25 years old, you need to follow the same steps as that of a holder of a licence from a recognised country. However, if you are under 25 years of age, you will take the same steps as those under the non-recognised country category.