About driver licences

Other licensing information

Renewing your driver licence

The date your licence expires is shown on your driver licence. If you want to keep on driving after that date you will need to get your licence renewed before it expires.

We’ll send you a renewal reminder letter about six weeks before your photo driver licence is due to expire. You can get a renewal form online or from any driver licensing agent.

When you take your completed application form to a driver licensing agent, you will also need to:

Since 1 December 2014 learner and restricted car and motorcycle licences have been issued with a 5-year validity period.

These 5-year licences cannot be renewed before their expiry date.

You need to pass a theory test (and also pay the test fee) to renew these 5-year licences.

If you hold a learner licence and progress to a restricted licence before your learner licence expires, you will not need to resit and pass the theory test.

If you hold a restricted licence and progress to a full licence before your restricted licence expires, you will not need to resit and pass the theory test.

Renewing your licence from age 75 onwards

Because the effects of ageing can sometimes affect a person's ability to drive, there are special licence renewal conditions for older drivers.

You will need to renew your licence at ages 75 and 80 and then every two years after that.

Before your driver licence expires, the NZTA will send you an Application for renewal of driver licence form. You'll also receive a brochure that will tell you everything you need to know to get your licence renewed.

You'll need to book an appointment with your doctor to get a Medical certificate for driver licence. During your appointment, your doctor will discuss your present state of health with you and test your eyesight.

They will recommend whether you are:

  • medically fit to drive
  • medically fit to drive with conditions (such as correcting lenses, time-of-day restriction, distance restriction)
  • medically fit to drive but referred for an on-road safety test
  • to be referred to a specialist (such as an optometrist or occupational therapist driving assessor) for further assessment – your doctor will advise you of the results
  • not medically fit to drive.

If your doctor decides you are medically fit to drive, he or she will give you a Medical certificate for driver licence. You will then need to renew your licence at a driver licensing agent.

For more information, phone the NZTA's driver licensing contact centre on 0800 822 422.

Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged licence

By acting promptly to replace or renew your lost or stolen licence you’ll reduce the opportunity for it to be used in identity crime. If you can’t get to one of our driver licensing agents, contact us to cancel your licence.

You will need to:

  • complete an application form
  • present evidence of your identity
  • pay the fee
  • hand in your old licence (if you have it) or sign a declaration that your old licence has been lost or stolen.

For more information, phone the NZTA's driver licensing contact centre on 0800 822 422.

International drivers

If you are visiting from another country or have recently arrived in New Zealand, and you have a current and valid driver licence, you can drive for a maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. Each time you visit New Zealand, you may drive for a further 12-month period on a valid overseas driver licence, as long as you stay for no more than a year at a time.

You must have your current and valid overseas driver licence or driver permit with you at all times when you’re driving. If your overseas licence or driver permit is not in English, you must also carry an accurate English translation issued by :

  • a translation service approved by the NZ Transport Agency (phone our contact centre on 0800 822 422 for a list of approved translation services), or
  • a diplomatic representative at a high commission, embassy or consulate, or
  • the authority that issued your licence.

Note: if your driver licence is not in English, an international driving permit (IDP) - issued in accordance with a United Nations Convention on Road Traffic - may be acceptable as a translation.

If you don't have a current and valid overseas driver licence or IDP then you cannot drive in New Zealand. If you want to drive then you must apply for a New Zealand driver licence.

Converting to a New Zealand Class 1 or 6 driver licence

If you have an overseas driver licence, but want to drive for longer than one year in New Zealand, you must convert to a New Zealand driver licence. You should apply early to make sure you have a new licence before you have been in New Zealand for 12 months.

Applications forms are available from driver licensing agent or phone the NZTA's driver licensing contact centre on
0800 822 422.

Some countries require similar driving skills and have similar licensing systems to New Zealand's. Because of this you don't have to sit a theory or practical test if:

  • you have a licence from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America, and
  • your licence is current (or has expired less than 12 months ago), and
  • you are converting a car or a motorcycle licence, and
  • for the practical test, you have held that licence for more than two years.

If you have a licence from a country not listed above you will need to pass the theory and the practical test.

If you are converting a heavy vehicle licence, the requirements are different. See The official New Zealand road code for heavy vehicle drivers for more information.

Your overseas driver licence is no longer valid for driving in New Zealand once you have been issued with a New Zealand driver licence.

More information about this can be found in The official New Zealand road code for heavy vehicle drivers, or in factsheet 72 Overseas driver licences: Converting to a New Zealand licence. Visit our website

International driving permits

If you have a New Zealand driver licence and you want to drive in other countries, the New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) advises that international driving permits (IDPs) are recommended for most countries. Check the AA website for an up-to-date list.

Note that an IDP is not a driver licence; it is a translation of your driver licence and is only valid while the accompanying driver licence is current. Your IDP will be valid for a maximum of one year from the date of issue.

You can apply for an IDP through the AA. Look in your phone book for your local branch or visit their website at www.aa.co.nz.

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Last updated: 23 February 2015