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Heavy vehicle driver licences (Factsheet 70)

Published: 12 2014

This factsheet tells you how to get a licence for a heavy vehicle (eg truck or truck and trailer). It outlines the different vehicle weights covered by each heavy vehicle class and the process to progress to a higher class. It provides helpful information relating to medical and eyesight requirements, advises what you need to bring and where you need to go.

Heavy vehicle driver licences

This factsheet tells you how to get a licence for a heavy vehicle (eg truck, or truck and trailer). It outlines the different vehicle weights covered by each heavy vehicle class and the process to progress to a higher class. It provides helpful information relating to medical and eyesight requirements, advises what you need to bring and where you need to go.

Heavy vehicle driver licences

You need a Class 2, 3, 4 or 5 driver licence to drive heavy motor vehicles.

You must have the right class of driver licence for the type and weight of vehicle you want to drive.

Some specialised vehicles require the driver to also hold an appropriate endorsement.

Factsheet 11, Driver licence classes explains the vehicle types and weights covered by each class and endorsement. Factsheets are available on our website and from driver licensing agents.

How do I get a heavy vehicle licence?

Before you can get a licence to drive heavy vehicles, you must gain experience driving lighter vehicles. You must then demonstrate your competence in heavy vehicles by passing the appropriate practical test or completing an approved course.

You will need to apply in person at an NZ Transport Agency driver licensing agent. These are selected branches of the Automobile Association (AA), Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ) and Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ). A full list of agents, their addresses and hours of business are available on our website.

Factsheet 20, Identification for driver licensing, lists the forms of identification you will need to take with you.

Getting a Class 2 licence

You must first get a Class 2 learner licence. To do this, you must:

  • hold a full Class 1 licence for at least six months
  • present a medical certificate (if required)

* See Learner licence conditions section for further information.

To get a full Class 2 licence, you must:

  • present a medical certificate (if required)
  • hold a Class 2 learner licence for at least six months and then pass a practical test in a Class 2 vehicle, or
  • hold a Class 2 learner licence and then pass the approved training course for progression to a Class 2 full licence.

Getting a Class 3 licence

You must first get a Class 3 learner licence*. To do this, you must:

  • hold a full Class 2 licence for at least six months (or for at least three months, if you are aged 25 or over)
  • present a medical certificate (if required)
  • pass a theory test.

*See Learner licence conditions section for further information.

Note: if you are aged 25 or over and you successfully complete the approved over 25 Class 3L course, you can apply for a Class 3 learner licence with no minimum time on a full Class 2 licence. See below for more information.

To get a full Class 3 licence, you must:

  • present a medical certificate (if required)
  • hold a Class 3 learner licence for at least six months and then pass a practical test in a Class 3 combination vehicle, or
  • hold a Class 3 learner licence and then pass the approved course for progression to a Class 3 full licence.

Getting a Class 4 licence

You must first get a Class 4 learner licence*. To do this, you must:

  • hold a full Class 2 licence for at least six months (or for at least three months, if you are aged 25 or over)
  • present a medical certificate (if required)

You do not need to pass a theory test, as you will have passed this when obtaining your Class 2 licence.

*See Learner licence conditions section for further information.

Note: if you are aged 25 or over and you successfully complete the approved over 25 Class 4L course, you can apply for a Class 4 learner licence with no minimum time on a full Class 2 licence.

To get a full Class 4 licence, you must:

  • present a medical certificate
  • hold a Class 4 learner licence for at least six months and then pass a practical test in a Class 4 vehicle, or
  • hold a Class 4 learner licence and then pass the approved course for progression to a Class 4 full licence.

Getting a Class 5 licence

You must first get a Class 5 learner licence*. To do this, you must:

  • hold a full Class 4 licence for at least six months (or at least three months, if you are aged 25 or over)
  • present a medical certificate (if required)
  • pass a theory test (unless you have previously passed a theory test for a Class 3 licence).

*See Learner licence conditions section for further information.

Note: if you are aged 25 or over and you successfully complete the approved over 25 Class 5L course, you can apply for a Class 5 learner licence with no minimum time on a full Class 4 licence.

To get a full Class 5 licence you must:

  • present a medical certificate (if required)
  • hold a Class 5 learner licence for at least six months and then pass a practical test in a Class 5 combination vehicle,
    or
  • hold a Class 5 learner licence and then pass the approved course for progression to a Class 5 full licence.

Learner licence conditions

  • You must not drive a vehicle (other than a motorcycle, moped or ATV) for which you have a learner licence unless you are ccompanied by a supervisor. This means you must not drive on your own.

A supervisor is a person who:

  • holds a current full New Zealand driver licence for the class of vehicle you are learning to drive and
  • has held their full New Zealand driver licence for at least two years (or where their full New Zealand licence has been held less than two years, they have held an equivalent overseas driver licence for at least two years) and
  • does not have a supervisor condition on their New Zealand licence.

Medical certificates

Medical certificates are usually required every time you apply for (or renew) a heavy vehicle driver licence. However, you may not have to present a medical certificate if you have already presented one for a Class 2, 3, 4 or 5 application, or a P, V, I or O endorsement application, within the last five years, and you sign a declaration. The declaration will require you to confirm that any condition that you may have had hasn't worsened and you haven't been diagnosed with any other condition since you presented that medical certificate.

Medical certificates must:

  • be the original
  • be from a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner
  • be not more than 60 days old
  • state that you are safe to drive, or set out the conditions under which you can drive.

Eyesight requirements

You must prove that your eyesight meets the required standard each time you apply for a new licence class or endorsement or renew your licence. To do this you can:

  • present a certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered optometrist (this certificate must not be more than 60 days old)
  • present a satisfactory medical certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner (this certificate must not be more than 60 days old and must specifically cover eyesight)
  • pass an eyesight screening check at a driver licensing agent.

Note: the agents' eyesight screening machines eliminate the need for many drivers to be tested by an optometrist or medical practitioner. However, if you don’t pass the screening check, then you must provide one of the certificates listed before your new licence can be issued. Some drivers choose to supply a certificate instead of taking a screening check. If you have vision in only one eye, you must present an eye certificate from a doctor or optometrist.

How much does it cost?

The table below sets out the fees for obtaining a heavy vehicle licence (class 2, 3, 4 or 5).

Learner licence application fee

$48.20

Theory test fee

$45.70

Full licence application fee

$49.60

Practical test fee

$59.90

All fees include GST and are non-refundable.

Changing or cancelling your test

If you have booked a theory or practical test and want to change or cancel the test, you will have to pay a further fee.

Where there are two or more complete working days (excluding weekends and public holidays) between the day you change or cancel your test and the date of your appointment, you will need to pay a rescheduling fee of $16.40.

This is a regulated fee to cover the time taken and costs incurred when a test is cancelled or rescheduled.

Where there are less than two complete working days (excluding weekends and public holidays) between the day you change or cancel your test, and the date of your appointment, you will not pay a rescheduling fee but will need to pay a further test fee. This further test fee is not refundable.

You may be eligible for a refund of the first test fee paid where the cancelled test time was subsequently filled by another person. If the test fee is refunded, a processing fee of $16.40 will be deducted.

Chart

The following chart is a guideline to obtaining a licence class. Click on the image for larger view.

Guidelines for obtaining a class licence

About approved driving training courses

Many drivers want to obtain their next licence class without having to wait the minimum time period.

There are two different types of courses available to achieve this:

Courses for early progression of persons 25 years of age or over to a class 3, 4 or 5 learner licence

If you are over 25 years of age and you want to get your Class 3, 4 or 5 learner licence with no minimum time on the previous licence class, you need to successfully complete the approved driver licensing course which assesses the driving experience, knowledge and skills of persons 25 years of age or over. There are different courses to progress to a learner licence for Classes 3, 4 and 5.

Courses for progression to a class 2, 3, 4 or 5 full licence

By successfully completing this approved driver licensing course, you are not required to hold your learner licence for six months and you are not required to sit the practical full licence test. There are different courses to progress to each class of full licence (classes 2, 3, 4 and 5).

After completing the appropriate course, you need to take your course certificate to an driver licensing agent, apply to have the new class added to your driver licence and pay the relevant fee.

Contact a course provider for details on their course costs, location and times.

Finding approved course providers

To find approved course providers in your area:

Where you can find out more

  • Email us: info@nzta.govt.nz
  • Call our contact centre: 0800 822 422
  • Write to us: NZ Transport Agency, Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North

About factsheets

The information in this factsheet is a general guide only. It is not the source of the law.