Overseas licence conversions

Important overseas driver licence conversion changes effective 1 August 2016

The NZTA is making changes to further strengthen the driver licencing system. As part of this change from 1 August 2016:

  • There will be fewer locations where you can apply to convert your overseas driver licence (find agent)
  • Your application will be sent to the Transport Agency for a decision. Most applications will be completed in three weeks. You will be contacted if your application is delayed. If the licence you are converting has been issued by an authority from an ‘Approved country’ below, you will most likely be given a temporary licence immediately.

Please allow plenty of time to get your New Zealand licence. Your overseas licence is only valid for up to 12 months and must meet New Zealand licencing requirements.

Applications are processed at our counters and forwarded to NZTA for approval.  At times there are additional delays on overseas conversion applications and the approval may take up to 20 working days.  If you have any query regarding your licence or application please contact NZTA directly on 0800 822 422 or by email [email protected]

Once you’ve been issued with a New Zealand driver licence you will no longer be able to use your overseas driver licence for driving in New Zealand.

Convert your overseas driver licence

If you’re here for a year or more, you need a New Zealand driver licence. If your overseas licence is still current, or expired less than 12 months ago, you can apply to convert it to a New Zealand licence. Whether you’re in New Zealand for a short time or you’re here to stay, you need to bring your current driver licence from your home country. You may also need an international driving permit or a translation of your licence if it’s not in English.

Apply to convert your overseas driver licence at an authorised Overseas conversion driver licensing agent.

For more information on overseas licence conversions call 0800 822 422 or visit the NZTA website.

You'll need to:

  • Complete an application for conversion of an overseas driver licence form (or get a copy from any driver licensing agent).
  • Present your overseas driver licence (if your overseas licence is not in English you’ll also need to present a translation of your overseas licence by an approved translator. If your license does not have an issue date, you may need to provide further evidence of your driving record).
  • Present your overseas passport.
  • Present colour photocopies of all the original evidence above.
  • Present a current medical certificate, if required.
  • Pass an eyesight screening check - unless you provide a current eyesight or medical certificate.
  • Pay the licence fee. The amount will depend on the type of licence.
  • Once approved by the Transport Agency you can expect to receive your NZ photo driver licence within 21 days. If the Transport Agency has not contacted you and you have not received your licence within this time you will need to contact them on 0800 822 422.

Eyesight screening check

  • When applying for or renewing any driver licence or endorsement, you'll need to prove your eyesight meets the required standard. You can undergo a basic eyesight screening check at your nearest AA Centre, AA Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agent or Rural Mobile Unit.
  • The equipment used in the test is a screening device which 96.9% of all motorists pass each year. The remaining 3.1% may or may not have a problem with their eyes. If this is the case you'll need to provide an eyesight certificate from your doctor or optometrist.
  • Read more about the eyesight screening check on the NZTA website.


Approved countries

Drivers who have held a full drivers licence for two years or more from these countries can convert their driver licence to a New Zealand licence without taking a theory or practical test: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong*, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, United States of America.

If your licence was issued in one of these countries, complete the application form and take it along with the required ID to your nearest authorised Overseas conversion driver licensing agent.

 *Hong Kong is recognised as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.


For drivers from countries not on the approved list

If your country is not on the list of approved countries then you must:

1.  Pass the theory test

2.  Pass a practical driving test


How to prepare for the theory test

Drivers who hold a full driver licence from countries which aren't listed above will need to pass a theory test. To prepare:

Once you have learned and practiced the theory test you can go to your nearest authorised AA Centre and take the test.


How to prepare for the practical test

Once you have passed the Theory test you need to pass the practical test. To prepare:

Once you are prepared for the practical test, and you have received your New Zealand photo driver licence with a supervisor condition, you can go to your nearest authorised AA Centre to book your practical driving test. You can also call NZTA on 0800 822 422 to book if you are paying by debit or credit card.

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