Visiting Australia can be more convenient than public transportation when driving a rented vehicle. You have more freedom regarding your itinerary and can stop and go at will.
For drivers, the golden question is, “Can you drive in Australia with an overseas license?”
Would you need to fulfil additional requirements or documentation to ensure you can cruise in every Australian state without being questioned?
Australian Driving Regulations With An Overseas License
The driving laws in Australia using a foreign driver’s license vary depending on the state. You can drive with your foreign driver’s license in Australia if you are only a temporary visitor.
If your driver’s license is in another language and not in English, you need to carry an official English translation of your driver’s license. This is the same as an International Driving Permit.
In Australia, you can drive with an overseas license for three months. However, in Victoria, they extend it to up to six months. At this point, the law mandates you to secure a local permit.
In cases where you’ll be in Australia longer than six months but still, in a temporary state, certain Australian conditions dictate that you apply for a quick local license.
Driving In Australia With An Overseas License – Guidelines Across States
Each state has different guidelines for driving with an overseas driver’s license, so it pays to learn the rules per state, especially if you plan to maximize your Australian adventure.
Note that these rules only apply if you are temporarily staying in Australia and are a full license holder, not a student driver. In addition, with an international driver’s license, you can only drive limited types of cars within Australian territory.
● New South Wales
You can drive with a foreign driver’s license so long as your permit is current and active and you are only a temporary visitor.
You need to secure a formal license translation if it is not documented in English; otherwise, you’re all set with your current English-language overseas license.
Moreover, if you have already secured your permanent visa, you must secure a local license by your third month in New South Wales.
● Western Australia
Permanent visa holders can maximize the use of their overseas license for 3 months before obtaining a local WA license.
Visiting drivers holding temporary visas are free to use their existing foreign driver’s license in WA.
Visiting drivers are those that are:
- Staying in the state for business reasons
- Are on a working holiday arrangement
- Are working in WA for short-term
- Are part or family members of an overseas defence force
- Are students getting an education in WA
- Visitors of the state
A driver’s permit in English is acceptable; else, an International driving permit is required.
Your visa status depends on whether you can use a foreign license in Victoria. Temporary visa holders can use their current and active licenses for their stay.
Those holding a permanent visa have up to six months after their visa’s issuance date to use their license before they need to apply for a Victorian driver’s license.
● South Australia
Temporary foreign visitors can drive in South Australia, given that they don’t have any driving disqualifications in any country and that the license is in English.
If your license expires while in SA, you must secure a South Australian permit if you wish to continue driving within the territory.
In Queensland, you only need to stop using your overseas license when the local government suspends it.
Some reasons why you would longer be authorized are:
#1. Going over the 40kph speed limit.
#2. Failure to pay your fines.
#3. An Australian court withdraws your qualification as a driver.
#4. You are not medically fit.
#5. You are an Australian citizen but have been living in Queensland for more than 90 days.
#6. You are a residential visa holder and have been staying in Queensland for over three months.
As long as your visa is temporary and your overseas license is valid, you can use your current foreign license throughout your stay in Canberra. And just like in the other states, if your driver’s license is not in English, you must secure a formal English translation.
● The Northern Territory
Rules are pretty different in The Northern Territory because, after three months, you will no longer be allowed to use your overseas driver’s license regardless if you have a temporary or permanent visa.
Temporary visa holders won’t have any issues using their overseas license for the first three months, given that they meet the following conditions:
- The overseas license is active.
- You were not disqualified from driving in any country.
- You don’t own an old Tasmanian driver’s license.
- Your license is in English, or you have an International Driving Permit.
It pays to learn about these different guidelines to have a hassle-free and stress-free road trip in Australia.
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