Driving with an overseas licence in NSW from 1 July 2023 – Frequently asked questions
On 1 July 2023 changes were introduced to the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2017 that impact on overseas drivers. Learn more via the FAQs below.
There are two core changes to the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2017 that will impact overseas drivers from 1 July 2023.
The first change is a 6-month residency rule whereby temporary visa holders who intend to reside continuously within NSW for 6 months or longer will need to convert to a NSW licence within 6 months if they wish to continue to drive.
The second change is a withdrawal of driving privileges, a new arrangement that will start for all persons in NSW driving on an overseas driver’s licence. Through this change, Transport for NSW will permanently withdraw a person’s visiting driver privileges if they:
- accrue 13 demerit points, or
- are convicted of a serious driving offence (listed under section 224 of the Road Transport Act 2013), or;
- are suspended or disqualified from driving a motor vehicle in any part of Australia or another country; or
- are convicted of a drug or alcohol-related driving offence.
If these overseas licence holders wish to drive again in NSW, they will be required to obtain a NSW driver licence once they have completed their suspension or disqualification period (whatever is applicable). They will not be permitted to drive again in NSW using their overseas licence.
The policy changes will help to improve road safety as overseas licence holders will learn about the NSW road transport system. They will also complete theory and driving tests to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to be safe on NSW roads.
By capturing their details in our statewide database DRIVES, we will also be able to better regulate their driver behaviour.
6-month residency rule
From 1 July 2023, penalties will apply to a temporary visa holder who has resided in NSW for a continuous period of 6 months or more, and who continues to drive in NSW on their overseas licence. They will be considered to be driving a vehicle unlicenced.
It is proposed that a fine of $603 will apply for a first offence and a fine of $924 will apply for a second or subsequent offence. A maximum penalty of $2200 (20 penalty units) may be imposed by a court.
To be a resident of NSW means that you ordinarily live at an address in NSW. A person may visit another state, territory or country temporarily for reasons such as a holiday or work but would be considered to be continuously living in NSW. The timeline starts from the date that a person obtains, changes to or uses a NSW address as their primary location.
If a person leaves NSW and becomes a resident of another state, territory or country, and then returns to NSW and takes up residency on or after 1 July 2023, they would be required to follow the six-month rule.
In this scenario, Person A arrives in NSW on 1 July 2023. Person A resides continuously in NSW from 1 July 2023 and intends to stay longer than 6 months. To continue driving in NSW, they are required to obtain a NSW driver licence by 1 January 2024.
If Person A does not convert their overseas licence to a NSW licence by 1 January 2024, they will not be licenced to drive on NSW roads and penalties will apply.
Overseas licence holders on a temporary visa who are residents of NSW prior to 1 July 2023 can continue to drive on their overseas licence as long as it remains current. They would not be required to meet the new requirements:
- if they have not accrued 13 demerit points
- are not convicted of a serious driving offence or
- have not had their licence suspended or disqualified.
Scenario: Person B arrives in NSW on 1 March 2023 prior to the introduction of the 6-month residency rule. Person B can continue to drive in NSW on their overseas licence until such time as they obtain a permanent visa under the Migration Act or their overseas licence expires or is otherwise suspended or disqualified.
No. The regulatory change is only relevant for overseas licence holders on a temporary visa who intend to reside in NSW for six months or longer.
Withdrawal of driving privileges
A ‘Notice of Withdrawal of Visiting Driver Privileges’ (Notice) is sent by post to the last known mailing address of a driver whose privileges are to be withdrawn. The Notice advises of the commencement date of the withdrawal and how long the withdrawal
A withdrawal of NSW visiting driver privileges issued by TfNSW is sent to a customer five weeks before the withdrawal period commences. This is to allow customers time to make any necessary arrangements for the non-driving period or to progress towards obtaining a NSW driver licence.
Obtaining a NSW driver licence
Overseas licence holders can obtain a NSW licence at a Service NSW Service Centre. More information on how to obtain a NSW driver’s licence.
Temporary visa holders will need to convert to a NSW licence within six months if they intend to reside continuously in NSW for six months or more and wish to continue to drive.
Applicants should give themselves enough time to meet all the relevant requirements to obtain their NSW driver licence. This may include passing the Driver Knowledge Test, Hazard Perception Test and The Driving Test.
To learn more about knowledge and driving test exemptions visit Knowledge and driving test exemptions where you will find a list of recognised countries and jurisdictions.
You can access more information via the Driving with an overseas or interstate licence in NSW page.