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About your licence

Updated: 10 December 2014

Your photo driver licence is your official legal permission to drive on New Zealand roads. Your licence card carries information that verifies who you are, the vehicles you're qualified to drive and any conditions you're required to meet when driving. You must drive within all the conditions listed on your licence. If you don't, you run the risk of incurring penalties.

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What's on your licence

Your driver licence is a wallet-sized card that features your photo along with details about you and the conditions under which you must drive.
Driver identity information

  • Your surname (last or family name)
  • Your given first or Christian names (including any middle names)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your unique licence number – This number remains the same each time a new card is issued.
  • A random card version number – This number changes each time a new card is issued.
  • Donor status - This shows whether or not you want to be an organ donor. Your next of kin will still be asked for permission, so make sure they know your wishes.

Driving entitlement information

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

Note: A special condition may apply to all or to only some of the classes and endorsements held.  If no specific classes or endorsements are listed, the special conditions recorded apply to all.

Licence classes and endorsements

There are six licence classes:

  • car drivers (class 1)
  • heavy vehicle drivers (classes 2,3,4 and 5)
  • motorcycle riders 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).

See more detail on licence classes and endorsements.

Licence colours and conditions

Green licence

The driver is fully qualified.

Green photo driver licence.

Green photo driver licence

Yellow licence

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

Yellow photo driver licence.

Yellow photo driver licence

The licence classes on the back will show an 'R' against any licence classes for which the driver is not yet fully qualified.

Restricted car drivers:

  • must not drive on their own between 10pm and 5am. You may drive between these times only if you have a supervisor beside you when you are driving.
  • must not carry passengers other than a spouse, partner, parent, guardian or dependents, without a supervisor beside you supervising your driving.

Restricted motorcycle riders:

What is a 'supervisor'?

A supervisor is a person who has a full New Zealand licence for the same licence class and who does not have a supervisor condition. They must have held their New Zealand licence (or an equivalent overseas licence) for at least two years.

Blue licence

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

Blue photo driver licence.

Blue photo driver licence

The licence classes on the back will show an 'L' against any licence classes for which the driver is not yet fully qualified.

Learner drivers must have a licensed driver beside them supervising their driving at all times.

Learner motorcycle riders:

Learner car and motorcycle drivers must display a learner (L) plate (multiple plates in the case of cars).

Learner heavy vehicle drivers don't need to display learner plates.

Pink licences

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

Limited licence.

Limited licence

The driver is currently suspended or disqualified, and driving under the conditions of a court order.

No licence classes are shown on the back of the licence.

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

Alcohol interlock licence.

Alcohol interlock licence

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

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

The 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'.

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