About the practical driving tests

What are the practical driving tests?

As part of getting your driver licence you must pass two practical driving tests. The two tests are:

For both tests you will drive with a driver testing officer, who will observe your driving and assess whether it is good enough to progress to the next level of driver licence.

This section gives you more information about the restricted and full practical driving tests, which will help you be fully prepared when you sit them.

Why have practical driving tests?

To make our roads safe, it is essential that everyone who drives has the skills they need to be a safe and responsible driver. It's not enough to just know all the road rules; you also need to be able to follow them when you're out on the road, and you need to have the skills to handle a vehicle properly.

That's exactly what the practical driving tests assess and why they are such an important part of the licence testing process. They make sure you have mastered the basic driving skills. They also test how well you drive in a variety of situations, such as on the open road, around town or at a busy intersection.

Booking practical driving tests via phone or internet

You can book the following driving tests over the phone or internet:

  • restricted licence tests (car and motorcycle)
  • full licence tests (car, motorcycle and heavy vehicles).

In addition, you can book an on-road safety test for older drivers by phone (but not via the internet).

You need to book all other tests in person at a driver licensing agent.

To book over the phone or internet, you will need:

  • your current driver licence
  • a valid credit card to pay the fee.

You will need to arrive at your test location at least 30 minutes before your test, or visit a driver licensing agent prior to your test, to:

  • have your application form processed
  • have your identification checked (bring your driver licence).

Depending on the type of test you are having, they may also:

  • take your photograph
  • collect your signature
  • check your eyesight (unless you provide an eyesight certificate)
  • check any other relevant certificates, such as a medical certificate or advanced driving skills certificate.

Some drivers choose to provide an eyesight certificate instead of having the eyesight check. If you don’t pass the eyesight check, or provide an eyesight certificate prior to your test time, you will not be given a temporary licence even if you pass your test.  You will need to complete the eyesight requirements before your new licence can be issued. 

Booking by phone

To book by phone, call 0800 822 422. Your call will go to the NZTA's driver licensing contact centre, who will book a test for you in your local area.

When you book, you'll be told all the details for your test. You will also be posted a confirmation slip. (However, you should note down the details of your test in case the confirmation slip doesn't arrive in time.)

Your test booking is valid even if your confirmation slip hasn’t arrived. If you miss your test, or if you are late, you will still be charged for the test, and you’ll have to rebook another test time and pay another fee.

The phone booking service is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (except statutory holidays).

Booking via the internet

To book over the internet:

  • go to nzta.govt.nz/online
  • click on ‘I need to book, change or cancel a practical driver licence test'
  • follow the step-by-step instructions.

Make sure you read the information carefully.

When you've booked online, a confirmation slip will be emailed to you. It's a good idea to print this out and keep it until your test. The online booking service is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

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Last updated: 25 November 2014