There are four different heavy vehicle driver licences (classes 2-5), with two stages to each class: learner licence and full licence. Each class covers a specific type and weight:
- Class 2 and 2L - Medium rigid vehicles
- Class 3 and 3L - Medium combination vehicles
- Class 4 and 4L - Heavy rigid vehicles
- Class 5 and 5L - Heavy combination vehicles.
Check which licence is right for your vehicle.
There are two stages to getting your licence:
Stage one: learner licence
Stage two: full licence.
Before you get behind the wheel...
You must have experience of driving 'lighter' vehicles before you can apply for a particular heavy vehicle class. This means you need to hold:
- a full car (class 1) driver licence for at least six months before applying for a class 2 learner licence.
- a full class 2 licence for at least six months (three months, if you're 25 years or older) before applying for a class 3 or 4 learner licence.
- a full class 4 licence for six months (three months, if you're 25 years or older) before applying for a class 5 learner licence.
You must pass a theory test and present a medical certificate to get your learner licence.
While on a learner licence you can only drive under the supervision of a licensed driver (who's held a full New Zealand licence for the same class you're driving for at least two years).
Learn more details about the process for getting your learner licence.
To apply for a full licence you must either:
- hold a learner licence for your vehicle class for at least six months and then pass a practical test, or
- hold a learner licence for your vehicle class and complete an approved course for that class.Once you've completed the course you simply present your course certificate with your licence application. You don't have to sit a practical test.
Learn more details about the process for getting your full licence.
If you're aged 25 years or older, you can accelerate your progress through the heavy vehicle licence classes by successfully completing an approved course that assesses your skills.
Learn more about accelerated learner licence courses and where you can find them.
Some activities involving the use of heavy vehicles carry additional licensing requirements. You're required to hold a licence endorsement if you:
- drive in a passenger service, eg you drive a bus or taxi
- drive in a vehicle recovery service, eg you drive a tow truck
- drive a special type vehicle such as a forklift, bulldozer or roller.
- transport dangerous or hazardous goods.
To gain an endorsement you'll need to pass an approved course and present the course certificate when you apply for your endorsement.
Anyone operating a goods transport service must hold a current transport service licence. Find out more.