Getting your restricted - how it works

It's time to build your practical driving skills

Once you have a learner licence, the best way forward is lessons with a qualified AA driving instructor and practice with a supervisor in between each lesson. Building slowly and getting the hang of each step before moving on will help avoid a lot of stress and keep everyone safe.

Here’s some information to help you get ready

Who can be a supervisor?

Your practice supervisor must have a full licence, which they’ve held for at least two years.

It also helps if they:

  • Are patient and good at explaining things
  • Give clear instructions
  • Know the road code
  • Can spend a lot of time with you in the car
  • Stay calm under pressure
  • Are willing to help you improve rather than just be a mate

It’s an important job, so choose your supervisor carefully. Don’t force anyone into it. Plan a learning programme together. Be open to their suggestions and keep in mind the commitment they’ve made.


What you’re allowed to do

The law is very clear about what you can and can’t do on a learner licence. Here are the main points to help keep you safe and legal.

  • You must have your learner licence with you whenever you are driving
  • You must have a driving Instructor or supervisor (who has held a full licence for at least two years), in the front passenger seat
  • You must display L plates
  • You can only carry passengers if the supervisor, who is with you, agrees it’s OK
  • The supervisor is responsible for everyone in the vehicle and for what happens when you’re driving, so they must be fully awake, fully attentive and sober
  • If you are under 20 years of age, there is a zero alcohol limit. That means if you drive after drinking alcohol you can be charged with drink driving, which could result in losing your licence
  • If you’re 20 or older, you must be within the adult alcohol limit

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When it comes to getting your restricted, it pays to learn a few new skills at a time and practise them regularly before moving on. Having a programme that begins with the basics and gradually steps things up is essential. You need to book your first AA Ignition lesson within two months of getting your learners, so don’t delay. After taking your three free lessons, we recommend another two or three paid lessons to lock in your learning and increase your confidence on the road. These extra lessons will also increase your chances of passing your restricted test first time.

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Booking your restricted test

When you’re ready to book your restricted licence driving test, come and see us. Just like the learner licence, it’s not a phone or email thing. You need to have held a learner licence for at least six months and be at least 16 ½ years old.

If you had lessons in an AA driver training car, you can use it for your test. It will cost the same as a lesson. We can book the car for you when you book your test time.

Here’s what to do:

  • Find suitable ID, such as your learner licence or passport
  • Find proof of your address, such as your bank statement
  • Bring your ID and proof of address to your nearest AA Centre
  • Pay (about $137 in total)
  • Have an eyesight screening check, we do them onsite
  • Have your photo taken by us
  • Book a time to do your test

If you need to change or cancel your test, please visit your AA Centre or call 0800 822 422 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 6pm). The NZTA require a minimum of two working days’ notice and a fee will be charged.


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.

Read more about the eyesight screening check on the NZTA website.


Doing your test

The test takes about an hour. The car you use must have a current warrant of fitness, registration, and working brake and indicator lights. It must also have L plates on display.

Remember to bring your learner licence, as you’re not allowed to drive if you don’t have it with you.

At the end of your test the officer will tell you whether you have passed. They’ll also explain any errors you made, so you can continue learning. The hour includes time to check your car, do the test and give you feedback.

If you don’t pass, the officer will give back your learner licence so you can continue practising with an instructor or supervisor. When you’re ready to re-sit you’ll need make a booking and pay another test fee of $88.30.

If you pass, we’ll be the first to congratulate you. We’ll also give you a 21-day temporary restricted licence to use until your photo licence arrives in the mail. You’re now ready to drive on your own within the rules that apply to driving on a restricted licence.

To learn more about driving on a restricted licence and the rules that apply see Getting your full licence.

Download the Test Day Checklist


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Any questions?

If you have questions about driver licensing rules or restrictions, please call the NZTA Driver Licensing helpline on 0800 822 422.

For experienced drivers

With your full licence safely in your wallet, embrace all the possibilities of the on-road world.

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