Getting your restricted licence - how it works

It's time to build your practical driving skills

Once you have a learner licence, the best way forward towards your restricted licence is to have lessons with a qualified AA driving instructor and practice with a supervisor in between each lesson. Build your skills slowly and get the hang of each step before moving on to your Restricted Licence to avoid a lot of stress and keep everyone safe.

Download Restricted Licence test day checklist

When you can take the restricted licence test

You need to be at least 16 ½ before you can take your restricted licence test. You need to be well prepared with the right level of driving skill and ability. Have professional lessons with an AA Driving Instructor and take a simulated restricted practical driving test to make sure you have the best opportunity of passing the restricted licence test. You can take a defensive driving course on a learner licence which also helps you prepare for the restricted licence test and for driving solo once you get your restricted licence.


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


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, know the road code and can stay calm under pressure.


Booking your restricted licence test

You need to have held a learner licence for at least six months and be at least 16 ½ years old before you can book for your restricted licence driving test. When you're ready to book your test, you can do this:

If you choose to book your restricted test online, you will be required to pay with a credit or debit card. You will also need to complete the application requirements in person at a licensing outlet prior to sitting the test. Find your nearest licensing outlet here.

If you had lessons in an AA Driving School car, you can request to use this for your restricted licence test. It will be at the driving instructor's discretion and you will need to discuss the price with them.

Here’s what to do to book your restricted licence test:

  • Bring your current New Zealand Passport or New Zealand photographic licence.  If you don’t have either of these documents you will need to provide two other forms of acceptable identification to confirm your identity.  Check evidence of your identity for the full list
  • Bring your ID to your nearest AA Centre
  • Pay (Check NZTA for current cost)
  • Have an eyesight screening check - we do them onsite
  • Have your photo taken by us
  • Book a time to do your Restricted Licence test (if booking at an AA Centre)

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


Eyesight screening check

When anyone applies for a driver licence (including restricted 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 restricted licence test and your driver 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.


Doing your restricted licence test

The average pass rate is about 60%. The restricted licence test is in 2 stages. Stage 1 takes 10 minutes and has 7 assessable tasks. It determines whether you are a sufficiently skilled and safe driver to proceed to Stage 2. Stage 2 contains 18 assessable tasks which are more challenging.

You are allowed 2 critical errors but only one may occur in Stage 1. One immediate fail error at any time also means you will fail the restricted licence test

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 to the test, as you’re not allowed to drive if you don’t have it with you.

At the end of your restricted licence 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 restricted licence 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 the restricted licence test, you’ll need make a booking and pay another test fee.

If you pass your restricted licence test, 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.