Getting your Learner licence - how it works
The first stage on the journey to a full driver licence is to pass a test on the NZ road code.
You need to be 16 or older when you sit the test. You do the test on a computer at an AA Centre. The test has 35 multi-choice questions. If you answer at least 32 correctly, you pass. When you pass you get a learner licence, and you can start learning to drive with a supervisor or a driving instructor.
NOTE: Due to heavier demand for theory tests at the weekend we recommend that you make your booking in advance. Sitting a test can be stressful so while there may still be an opportunity to sit your test on the same day we cannot guarantee the availability of a test slot.
Do it online
Learn the NZ road code
The learner licence test is making sure that you know and understand the New Zealand Road Code. For cars, there are over 200 different possible questions in 8 sections covering road signs, giving way and rules at intersections, parking rules and road position. So it’s a good idea to buy the New Zealand Official Road Code book from one of our AA Centres or from our online shop to learn them before taking the test.
Prepare for your test
You can prepare yourself for the real theory test by trying our Road Code Practice Test - it has all the NZ road code questions. You can check your progress and pass rate until you think you are ready for the real thing. It has tests for motorcycles, light and heavy vehicles as well.
Apply, do eyesight screening check, book your test and pay
When you’ve learned the NZ road code and you’re ready to book your test, just come in to see us. It’s not a phone or email thing. We can help you get the application form, eyesight screening check and licence photo done right there and then. The next available test time might be a few weeks away, so you’ll be clear to focus on final revision and making sure you’re ready to pass. Due to heavier demand for theory tests at the weekend we recommend that you make your booking in advance. Sitting a test can be stressful so while there may still be an opportunity to sit your test on the same day we cannot guarantee the availability of a test slot.
Here’s what to do:
- Bring your current New Zealand Passport or you will need to provide two other forms of acceptable identification to confirm your identity. Check evidence of your identity for the full list
- Get a medical certificate if required (Will I need one?)
- Fill out the application form (DL1) - you can do this ahead of time if you like
- Bring all the things above to your nearest AA Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agent
- Sign a screen so we can capture your signature for your licence
- Have an eyesight screening check - we do them onsite
- Have your photo taken by us
- Book a time to do your theory test
- Pay (check with NZTA for the current cost)
Eyesight screening check
When anyone applies for a driver licence, renews one, or adds an endorsement, they have to show their eyesight is up to the required standard. To make this easy, our AA Centres have the equipment to give you a basic eyesight screening check, provided you have vision in both eyes. If you wear glasses or contact lenses when driving, you can wear them for the test and your licence will show you need them to drive.
Almost 97% of people pass the eyesight screening check. If you don’t pass, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem with your eyes. It just means you’ll have to get an eyesight certificate from your doctor or optometrist. If you need an eyesight certificate, and are an AA Member, you are entitled to one free eye examination at Specsavers every two years.
Read more about the eyesight screening check on the NZTA website.
Sit your theory test
Plan to arrive early, so there’s no chance of ending up stressed because you’re running late.
The test has 35 questions. If you answer at least 32 correctly, you pass. It’s a computerised multi-choice test. Click the right answer from the choices available. Take your time and read the questions carefully.
If you miss your appointment time or you get more than three questions wrong, you’ll have to re-sit. That means you’ll have to show your ID again, fill out a new application form, book a new test time and pay another test fee of $45.70.
If you pass, we’ll be the first to say ‘Well done!’. While you’re still smiling, we’ll give you a temporary learner licence to use until your photo learner licence arrives in the mail. If you don’t already have them, you can also buy a pair of yellow L plates. You’re now ready for your first driving lesson with a qualified instructor or supervisor.
For tips on learning to drive, including who can be a supervisor and what you can and can’t do on a learners, see Getting your restricted.
After you pass your Learner licence, become an AA Member and you will get 3x FREE driving lessons as part of our AA Ignition programme!
If you have questions about driver licensing rules or restrictions, please call the NZTA Driver Licensing helpline on 0800 822 422.