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Extensions proposed for overseas driver licence holders on temporary visas


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is consulting on the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) (Covid-19-Temporary Extension of Deemed Licences) Amendment Rule 2020.

The Amendment Rule proposes to change the eligibility period for overseas licence holders on a temporary visa to up to 24 months, enabling them to drive legally without needing to convert their licence, unless their overseas driver licence has expired.

“This is a temporary solution for those in New Zealand prior to lockdown who are unable to return home. Temporary visa holders entering New Zealand from 1 January 2019 until mid-December this year will be covered,” says Hayley Evans Senior Manager Regulatory Services.

The extension will expire at the end of 2021 and the eligibility period will then revert to 12 months.

“Demand for driver testing and licence application processing is high and has been exacerbated by COVID-19. The changes proposed by this Amendment Rule would allow the driver licensing system time to adjust to the additional demand caused by COVID-19 border restrictions.

“Temporary visa holders do not present an increased road safety risk. Under current law, when they leave New Zealand they are able to drive on their overseas licence for a further 12 months when they re-enter the country. The proposed Amendment Rule reflects current practice and recognises that these people currently cannot travel out and back in to the country,” says Hayley Evans.

The Land Transport (Driver Licensing) (Covid-19-Temporary Extension of Deemed Licences) Amendment Rule 2020 together with an explanatory overview, and Questions and Answers is available to view.

Land Transport (Driver Licensing) (Covid-19-Temporary Extension of Deemed Licences) Amendment Rule 2020

Public consultation closes at 5pm on Monday 9 November 2020.

Subject to Government approval, the proposed Rule changes would likely come into effect on 16 December 2020.