In February 2013, Roads and Maritime Services introduced another category of recognised countries which takes into account driver experience when converting to a NSW driver licence (see Recognised Country B list). This new category allows experienced overseas licence holders over 25 years of age to obtain a NSW car and/or rider licence without the need for computer and driving tests. Recognised Country B licence holders below the age of 25 years are subject to normal testing requirements.
The three tiers of overseas licences Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) considers when converting to a NSW driver licence are:
- Recognised Country A
- Recognised Country B
- Non Recognised Country
Holders of a class C (car) and/or R (rider) equivalent licence from one of the following countries are exempt from computer and driving tests when applying for a NSW licence of the same class:
- Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Denmark,
- Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey,
- Ireland, Isle of Man (licences issued since 1 April 1991), Italy, Japan, Jersey, Luxembourg,
- Malta (licences issued since 2 January 2004), Netherlands, New Zealand (except where a paper licence is presented), Norway, Portugal,
- Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA.
Drivers from countries meeting the ‘experienced driver recognition’ (drivers and riders over 25 years of age) are exempt from computer and driving tests when applying for a class C and/or R licence if they hold the equivalent class in one of the countries listed below:
- Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hong Kong, Hungary
- Latvia, Lithuania, Poland
- Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea (Republic of Korea)
- Taiwan, Czech Republic
Note: Recognised Country B licence holders below the age of 25 years are subject to normal testing requirements. Exemptions only apply to applicants for Class C (car) and Class R (rider) licences.
Non Recognised Country
Holders of licences from all other countries not included in Recognised Country A or B must undertake computer and driving tests when applying for the equivalent class of NSW licence.
If you do hold a licence from a recognised country above and are exempt from licensing tests, it is recommended that you read the Road Users' Handbook and/or the Motorcycle Riders' Handbook to familiarise yourself with the current road rules in NSW.
Roads and Maritime Services reserves the right to require customers to undertake a knowledge test or driving/riding test, and may not issue a licence until it is satisfied that the overseas licence is valid.
Overseas learner licence holders
If you hold a car learner licence issued form an overseas licence issuing authority and you wish to obtain a NSW class C learner licence, you must:
- Be 16 years of age or older
- Provide proof of your NSW address
- Prove your identity
- Pass an eyesight test
- Pass a knowledge test
- Pay the licensing fee, and
- Have your photo taken by Roads and Maritime Services for your driver licence photo card.
The licence testing exemptions do not always apply:
- If you hold a licence from an external territory of a recognised country above you will not be exempt the licensing tests.
- If you hold a licence from a recognised country and failed a NSW driver/rider knowledge test prior to 17 January 2005, you must re-sit and pass the driver/rider knowledge test before a NSW licence can be issued to you.
- If you hold a licence from a recognised country and failed a practical driving/riding test prior to 20 May 2002, you must re-sit and pass a practical driving/riding test before a NSW licence can be issued to you.
- If you hold a licence from a recognised country and you are applying for a class of licence other than a NSW car or rider licence, you must sit and pass both a knowledge test and a practical driving test.