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Your driver licence explained

This page explains the information printed on a photo driver licence card, and the different types of driver licence that are available. 

What is a driver licence?

Your New Zealand photo driver licence card verifies who you are, the vehicles you're qualified to drive and any conditions you're required to meet when driving.

Your photo driver licence is your official legal permission to drive on New Zealand roads. You must drive within all the conditions listed on your licence.

What’s on your licence

Your driver licence is a wallet-sized card with your photo, along with details about you, what you can drive and the conditions you must follow when you drive.

Infographic of photo driver licence content

Driver identity information

The driver licence has your:

  • photo
  • surname
  • first names
  • date of birth
  • driver licence number (this number remains the same each time a new card is issued)
  • version number (this number changes each time a new card is issued), and
  • address, if you chose to have that printed on your licence.

It will also show ‘DONOR’ if you wish to be a potential organ donor.

Organ donation: what you need to know

Driving entitlement information

The driver licence shows:

  • the vehicles you're licensed to drive
    • if 'L' appears next to a class, you have a learner licence
    • if 'R' appears next to a class, you have a restricted licence
  • any endorsements you hold
  • issue and expiry dates of each licence class and endorsement
  • any special conditions that apply when you're driving (eg you must wear correcting lenses).

Any special condition may apply to all or only some of the classes and endorsements you hold. If no specific classes or endorsements are listed with the condition, the condition applies to everything. 

Licence classes and endorsements

There are six licence classes:

  • cars (class 1)
  • heavy vehicles (classes 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  • motorcycles (class 6).

There are nine licence endorsements:

  • passenger (P)
  • vehicle recovery service (V)
  • driving instructor (I)
  • testing officer (O)
  • dangerous goods (D)
  • forklift (F)
  • roller (R)
  • tracks (T)
  • wheels (W).

Different types of driver licence

Green licence

This driver is fully qualified in at least one class of licence.

 

Green full photo driver licence

Green full photo driver licence

 

Yellow licence

This driver is in the restricted phase for one or more class of licence.

Yellow photo driver licence

Yellow restricted photo driver licence

Restricted classes will have an ‘R’ next to them.

See the conditions that apply to a restricted car licence
See the conditions that apply to a restricted motorcycle licence

Blue licence

This driver is still learning to drive for at least one licence class.

Sample of a learner licence

Blue learner photo driver licence

Learner classes will have an ‘L’ next to them.

See the conditions that apply to a learner car licence
See the conditions that apply to a learner motorcycle licence

Pink licences

A pink licence means the driver is currently subject to special conditions as the result of a suspension or disqualification. There are three different pink licences. They are:

Limited licence

This driver is currently suspended or disqualified, and driving under the conditions of a court order. The words 'refer court order' appear on the back of the card.

Limited licence

Limited licence

No licence classes or their issue or expiry dates are shown on the licence. The words 'limited licence expiry DD/MM/YYYY' appears instead.

The conditions on the back of the licence require the driver to carry the court order at all times and drive under the conditions of the court order.

Alcohol interlock licence

This driver has an alcohol interlock condition which allows them to only drive vehicles which are fitted with an alcohol interlock device.

Alcohol interlock licence

Alcohol interlock licence

The driver can operate all classes and endorsements displayed on the card.

The words 'alcohol interlock' appear on the front of the card and the conditions on the back of the licence specify that 'only vehicles with an alcohol interlock device to be driven'.

Zero alcohol licence

This driver has a zero alcohol condition which means they must maintain a zero alcohol limit when they are driving.

Zero alcohol licence

Zero alcohol licence

The driver can operate all classes and endorsements displayed on the card.

The words 'zero alcohol' appear on the front of the card and the conditions on the back of the licence specify that the licence holder is 'subject to zero alcohol level'.

Changes to the licence from 1 December 2014

From 1 December 2014 the Transport Agency has changed the format of the information printed on driver licences.

Before 1 December 2014 information on a driver licence was printed in a numbered sequence (for example, a driver licence number was number 5a on the driver licence).

From 1 December 2014, the driver licence information is no longer numbered. Instead, there is a heading over each piece of information to tell you what that information is. 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution New Zealand Licence

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