Driver’s License Eligibility in Australia
If you want to legally drive in Australia, you must obtain a driver’s license. At the moment, there is no nationwide licensing coordinated scheme that exists since the rules vary depending on the state or territory.
However, some things are pretty much the same and you have to go through a process to acquire a driver’s license. Not to mention, if you obtain a driver’s license in one state, it will also be recognized in other states and territories.
In this article, we’re going to discuss driver’s license eligibility in different states and territories of Australia. But first, there are a few things that you need to understand:
- Learner License. A learner’s license is the first valid document on your way to acquiring a full driver’s license in Australia. In most states, applicants must enroll in a road safety program, and pass a computerized theory/hazard test before obtaining a learner’s license.
For a person with a learner’s license, you must drive while being supervised by a full license holder.
- Provisional License. To obtain a provisional license in most states, you ought to have possessed the learner’s license for a few months, complete the required minimum hours of supervised driving in your logbook and pass the driving test.
Once you acquire a provisional license, you won’t need to drive under the supervision of an instructor but you will still be restricted to certain rules and regulations.
- Full Driver’s License. In most states, you acquire a full driver’s license after holding a provisional license for a few years. It could also depend on your age and experience.
If you have a full driver’s license, you won’t be limited to the same restrictions as you would on a learner and provisional license.
As we’ve mentioned above, the rules vary in different jurisdictions. In that regard, let’s have a look at what to expect.
In Queensland state, you must pass a written test and complete at least 100 hours on your logbook before you’re eligible for a provisional license. However, if you’re above 25 years, you don’t need to complete 100 hours of supervised driving experience.
Otherwise, you must pass a driving test to upgrade to a provisional license. To get a full driver’s license, you must wait for at least 2 to 3 years while you’re on a provisional license; although if you’re over 25 years, you can wait for 1 year.
Australian Capital Territory
Any person who is 15 years and 9 months can qualify to obtain a learner’s license in the Australian Capital Territory, but only after completing a road safety course and passing a computerized theory test.
Afterward, you can apply for a provisional license after 6 months with a learner license; although you must pass a practical test. If you keep your provisional license for 3 years, you can apply for the full driver’s license.
The learner license is open to anyone who is 16 years and above. For starters, you’re not allowed to drive without a supervisor or speed beyond 80km/h. If you want to upgrade, you can apply for the provisional license after 6 months.
Just be careful you don’t accumulate more than 5 demerit points in a year as a provisional driver, or you will be penalized.
As for the full driver’s license, you can obtain it after 2 years on a provisional license.
New South Wales
To qualify for a learner license in New South Wales, you must pass a computer-based Driver knowledge test and an eye test. Of course, learner drivers should always be accompanied by a supervisor; and neither are they allowed to drink alcohol and drive or go beyond 90km/h.
Learner drivers who complete 120 hours in their logbook can proceed to provisional P1 license status after passing a hazard perception test and a driving test. However, if you’re over 25 years, you don’t need to complete 120 hours of driving with a learner license.
The next thing on your list is the provisional P2 license which you can achieve after 1 year on a P1 license. Later, you can apply for a gold-coloured unrestricted driver’s license but you have to wait for 2 years.
Like in most states, you need to pass a theory test and an eye test to procure a learner license. After 6 months, you can do a hazard perception test and wait for another 6 months before you can attempt the practical driving test.
Once you pass the driving test, you can hold your provisional license for 2 years before you’re eligible for a full driver’s license.
In Victoria, the learner license is valid for up to 10 years since it was issued. However, you will be under specific prohibitions such as zero blood alcohol level when driving and displaying ‘L’ plates while driving.
The waiting period for a provisional license (red P plates) depends on the applicant’s age. If you’re under 21 years, you can wait for up to 12 months but if you’re over 25 years, you can wait for just 3 months. But that’s not all; there is a second provisional license (P2) where you display green ‘P’ plates but with fewer restrictions.
After receiving the P2 provisional license (green ‘P’ plates), you need to wait for at least 3 years before acquiring a full driver’s license; although, you need to be 22 years and above to qualify.
Young drivers who are at least 16 years can apply for the Learners permit (otherwise known as Ls) after passing the theory test. The maximum speed limit for learner drivers is 100km/h, even if the posted speed limit says otherwise. But remember, you must show yellow L plates so that other drivers can know you’re a learner.
The learner’s permit can be changed to a provisional license after 12 months but you have to pass a driving test. Next, you can become a fully licensed driver after 3 years on a provisional license.
In South Australia, a digital driving license is used so you don’t have to physically carry the documents for verification.
It’s a little bit different in Tasmania; you have learner 1 and learner 2 license. The learner 1 license is quite straightforward and you only need to complete a theory test. As you progress to the learner 2 license, you need to do a practical driving test after 3 months.
Once you log 50 hours of driving with an L2 license, you will be required to do another practical driving test after 9 months to earn your provisional license (P1). If everything goes well, you will automatically get a P2 provisional license after 12 months; then you have to wait 1 or 2 years (depending on your age) before getting issued with a full license.
What About Australian Visitors?
In most states, you are allowed to drive with an overseas driving license for at least 3 months since the date you arrived in Australia. However, the overseas license must be in English, but if it’s not, you can submit it with a formal English translation. Alternatively, you can use an International Drivers Permit (IDP).
If you decide to stay in Australia for more than 3 months, you need to apply for a local license in your residential state.