Exemption for overseas licence or endorsement

If you want to apply for an exemption to use your overseas driver licence or endorsement, make sure you read the information on this page first. 

What we'll consider

You’re applying for an exemption from the law under s168D of the Land Transport Act 1998.

The things we have to consider are set out in s168D. These include:

  • Would granting this exemption maintain or improve land transport safety?
  • Would it contribute to an effective, efficient and safe land transport system in the public interest?
  • Does it support the response to an emergency or other event?
  • Is there any other matter we consider relevant in the circumstances?

We’ll also take into account your driving record, and any other related information.

  • Having a clean driving record can show us whether you’ll continue to follow the road rules and drive safely.
  • Having traffic offences on your record, or not driving for long enough to establish a record, is relevant to whether we grant your application or not.

We may also look at other aspects of your land transport compliance.

Exemptions are not automatically granted. We’ll consider all the factors above before deciding whether to approve or decline your application.

We’re not obliged to grant an exemption if we don’t think it’s appropriate to do so.

The fee is non-refundable - even if we decline your application. It covers the cost of processing your application. 

What we need from you

Think about all the factors we’ve listed in the section above, and if you can, include them in your responses to our questions.

You’ll need to show us that granting your exemption won’t increase risk to any other road users. Give us specific examples of how you intend to reduce risk: simply promising that you’ll follow the road rules doesn’t show us this.

Make sure you fill in all the relevant fields for your application type: we won’t accept applications if they’re incomplete.

Don't apply

The law doesn’t allow us to grant an exemption just on the basis of inconvenience or hardship. We won’t generally grant an exemption if:

  • you’ve bought a vehicle you’re not yet licensed to drive
  • you have other means of transport
  • you can comply with the law by getting a full licence but choose not to.

It’s unlikely that we’ll grant an exemption if you:

  • hold a learner car or motorcycle licence (class 1 or class 6)
  • have held a restricted licence for 6 months or less.

You can't get an exemption for anything that is set out in the Land Transport Act 1998, for example you can't get an exemption to get a driver licence if you're under 16. 

False or incomplete information

We may decline your application or revoke your exemption if:

  • you provide false or misleading information, or
  • you don’t give us all the information relevant to your application.

It’s also an offence to supply false or misleading information and may lead to court action. This could result in a conviction and/or paying a fine.

We’ll closely examine any document you provide to make sure it’s authentic, particularly overseas documents. We won’t return documents which are clearly fraudulent or tampered with, or where we have any significant doubt that they’re authentic.

How to apply

You can make your application online. First, you'll need to do these things:

Make payment

You'll need to call us to pay the exemption application fee of $27.20.

Call us on 0800 822 422 to pay by Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card. 

We'll give you a reference number to include with your application. 

Gather your evidence

You'll need to provide us with documentation or information. 

If you need to show us your overseas licence or certificate of particulars, you'll need to upload clear colour copies of these documents with your application. Make sure you include the front and back if you're providing a copy of a driver licence.

See the exemption type section for what you'll need to provide for the type of exemption you're applying for. 

Exemption type

Check below for the information you'll need to provide for each type of exemption. 

Exemption types

  • Recognise overseas driving experience

    You'll need to give us: 

    • your overseas driver licence
    • a Certificate of particulars if your overseas licence doesn't have an issue date
    • an approved translation if your overseas licence or Certificate of particulars isn't in English. 

    A Certificate of particulars is an official document from your licensing authority which includes all details that would be contained on your original driver licence card.  

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload clear colour copies of these documents. Make sure you include the front and back of the driver licence.

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide clear colour copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

    Note: if we grant this exemption, it doesn't guarantee that we'll approve any endorsement applications afterwards. 

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  • Convert an overseas driver licence without having the original licence

    You'll need to give us: 

    • a Certificate of particulars from the overseas driver licensing authority that issued the driver licence
    • An approved translation if your Certificate of particulars isn't in English.

    A Certificate of particulars is an official document from your licensing authority which includes all details that would be contained on your original driver licence card.  

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload clear colour copies of these documents. 

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide clear colour copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

    Note: if we grant this exemption, it doesn't guarantee that we'll approve any endorsement applications afterwards. 

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  • Convert an overseas special-type endorsement (eg forklift)

    You'll need to give us:

    • Evidence of the overseas endorsement (eg course certificate or qualification certificate)
    • Evidence of any overseas driving experience you've had (eg a letter from your employer). 

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload clear colour copies of these documents.  

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide clear colour copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

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  • Recognition of an overseas driving instructor qualification

    You'll need to give us:

    • Evidence of the overseas endorsement (eg course certificate or qualification certificate)
    • Evidence of any overseas driving experience you've had (eg a letter from your employer). 

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload clear colour copies of these documents.  

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide clear colour copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

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Apply online

If you've read all the information above, and you still want to apply for an exemption from the law, you can apply for your exemption application online: 

Apply for an exemption for an overseas driver licence or endorsement

Apply by post

If you don't want to apply online, or want to send us original documents, you'll need to print out an Application for an exemption form (DL4). You'll need to fill it in and send it in to us with your supporting documents. 

Download an Application for an exemption form (DL4) [PDF, 191 KB]