About driver licences

Other licensing information

Renewing your driver licence

Driver licences are usually issued for 10 years. The date your licence expires is shown in section 4b on the photo side of your licence or in the class/endorsement table on the back if you have a new style licence. If you want to keep on driving after that date you will need to get your licence renewed before it expires.

You can get an Application for driver licence renewal (DL1) form from any driver licensing agent or download one from our website.

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

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.

You should receive a renewal reminder letter in the mail before your licence expires.

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, visit our website.

Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged licence

If your licence has been lost, stolen or damaged, you will need to visit a driver licensing agent to replace it.

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 overseas 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 NZTA (phone the NZTA's driver licensing 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 Class 6 New Zealand driver licence.

Converting to a New Zealand motorcycle driver licence (Class 6)

If you have an overseas motorcycle driver licence, but want to ride 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.

Once you have been granted a New Zealand driver licence, your overseas driver licence is no longer valid for driving in New Zealand. This applies even if you have not yet been in New Zealand for a full 12 months.

Application forms are available from driver licensing agents or on our website.

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, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, 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. More information about this can be found in The official New Zealand road code for heavy drivers, or in factsheet 72 Overseas driver licences: Converting to a New Zealand licence.

For more information, call us on 0800 822 422.

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: 26 November 2014