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Kiwis driving overseas

Updated: 10 December 2014

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On your big OE? Or perhaps just a short trip. If you’re planning to drive in another country you may need an international driving permit as well as your New Zealand driver licence. If you’re staying for any length of time you may need to convert your New Zealand licence to an overseas domestic licence. And before you leave, check when your New Zealand licence expires – you can only renew it while you’re still here.

International driving permits

An international driving permit (IDP) is an internationally recognised translation of your current driver licence. It is not a licence in its own right so you must also carry your New Zealand driver licence with you.

The New Zealand Automobile Association (external link) issues these permits.

Limits on using your New Zealand licence and IDP

All countries have limits on how long you'll be able to use your New Zealand driver licence or IDP before you must get a local driver licence. In most countries, you'll need to convert your New Zealand licence to an overseas domestic licence if you are staying for over 12 months.

Contact the appropriate country's driver licensing authority for details.

Can you renew or replace your licence from overseas?

You can't renew or upgrade your licence when overseas

If your photo driver licence expired less than 12 months ago, you may be able to get a replacement licence which is valid for up to 12 months (see below).

If there's any likelihood your driver licence will expire while you're overseas, it's worth your while to renew it before you leave. See how to renew or upgrade your licence.

... But you can replace your licence when overseas

You can replace your New Zealand photo driver licence while overseas if it:

  • is lost or misplaced
  • is stolen
  • is due to expire or has been expired for less than 12 months and you wish to extend the expiry date.*

*If your licence expired less than a year ago, you can apply to extend it for 12 months from the original expiry date. The expiry date can only be extended once, after that, you must renew your licence in person.

You cannot replace your New Zealand driver licence if you were suspended or disqualified and you have to reinstate your licence. See Factsheet 55: Driving offences and penalties for further information about getting your licence back.

How to replace your licence

Complete an Application for replacement licence and/or extension of driver licence validity (form DL2A) and return it to our Palmerston North Office with:

  • a cheque or money order for NZ$38.20. You can also pay by credit card
  • evidence of your identity and address.

See the DL2A form for more detailed instructions.

Converting to an overseas domestic licence

Most countries allow you to use your New Zealand driver licence for a limited time. If you stay longer you'll have to convert your licence to an overseas domestic licence.

Contact the appropriate country's driver licensing authority for details.

Still in New Zealand? Try contacting the country's embassy (external link) for the information.

You may need a certificate of particulars when converting your New Zealand driver licence to an overseas domestic licence. An official document, the certificate is not a driver licence itself but confirms the validity of your New Zealand licence, showing:

  • the class of licence you hold
  • the date it was issued
  • whether it's current.

How to apply for a certificate of particulars

  • Call the Driver Licensing Contact Centre, write to our Palmerston North Office or email us at cert@nzta.govt.nz.
  • Provide as many details as you can: full name, date of birth, address listed on the licence, licence number, so we can find the right driver licence record.
  • Provide an email, fax or postal address where the certificate can be sent to you.
  • Pay the NZ$11.10 fee, by credit card if you're calling us; by cheque or money order if you're writing to us.

What are the driving requirements overseas?