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Thread: Driving License query - swap UK one or do we have to sit a test?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default Driving License query - swap UK one or do we have to sit a test?

    Hi all, I have a question if you would be so kind.
    I think we can drive on a UK license for up to 6 months in NZ (from my previous visits to the country.
    Do we then do a swap for the kiwi one (like my OH did over here) or do we have to sit a test?
    Things change so quickly these days – just wondering what is the latest protocol
    Thank you !

  2. #2
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    May 2007
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    Check out this link for details:-http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/factsheets/56.html

    Basically, you can drive on UK license for upto 12 months, then you will need to take a theory test.

    Ian

  3. #3
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    Oct 2007
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    Default Driving

    Thanks Ian, I'll check the link out. At least taking a theory test won't be something I have to do immediately.

  4. #4
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    Just thought I would let you know a few more useful tips.

    All the theory test question are online, and there are also online tests that you can do to practice.

    For those coming from the UK, IMO the test is fairly easy (only 35 questions) but there are a few things that you need to learn that are NZ specific e.g. the give-way rule etc.

    The 12 months starts from when you last arrived in NZ, so if you leave e.g. to visit UK, then the 'clock' is reset (Still best to take the test anyway).

    Ian

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW99 View Post
    Just thought I would let you know a few more useful tips.

    All the theory test question are online, and there are also online tests that you can do to practice.

    The 12 months starts from when you last arrived in NZ, so if you leave e.g. to visit UK, then the 'clock' is reset (Still best to take the test anyway).

    Ian
    Just a quick note on the "12 month rule". I know some people on this forum have chosen to interpret the 12 month rule as 12 months from your last entry into the country, but a careful read shows thats for visitors. If you are a resident ( and I take that to mean you have PR or work permit) you are supposed to get your licence converted to NZ before the 12 months is up, and going back to UK or North America for a visit doesn't exempt you from this. I got this confirmed from someone at the place where you sit the tests.

    Now I know you might get lucky if stopped by police, and its all a bit confusing so I think it would be possible to talk your way out of this, but the problem would be if you ever got into an accident, your insurance would be void if you are a resident or here on a work permit and have been here longer than a year.

    At least until next april when you can convert your licence without sitting the test

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kanatakiwi View Post
    Just a quick note on the "12 month rule". I know some people on this forum have chosen to interpret the 12 month rule as 12 months from your last entry into the country, but a careful read shows thats for visitors. If you are a resident ( and I take that to mean you have PR or work permit) you are supposed to get your licence converted to NZ before the 12 months is up, and going back to UK or North America for a visit doesn't exempt you from this. I got this confirmed from someone at the place where you sit the tests.

    Now I know you might get lucky if stopped by police, and its all a bit confusing so I think it would be possible to talk your way out of this, but the problem would be if you ever got into an accident, your insurance would be void if you are a resident or here on a work permit and have been here longer than a year.

    At least until next april when you can convert your licence without sitting the test
    Sorry, I have to disagree with this, although it makes sense and you would think that it is correct, and more importantly you would expect them to know at the test centre, it is wrong!

    This is taken from the land transport website for new residents (factsheet 56 that I posted previously):-

    If you do have a current overseas driver licence or international driving permit, you can drive using that for a maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. (Note: if your overseas licence or permit isn't in English, you must carry an accurate translation. See Other information you need to know below for more information.)

    Each time you visit New Zealand, you can drive for a further 12-month period on a valid overseas licence or international driving permit.
    I don't believe that this is ambiguous in any way.

    Ian

  7. #7
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    Default

    Can you take the test if you are on a visitor's visa?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoria View Post
    Can you take the test if you are on a visitor's visa?
    I don't see why not, didn't think you would have a visitor visa longer than 12 months so wouldn't be needed. Might be worth reading the link I posted previously, although most people prefer not to take tests?

    Not sure what you would do about the address where they would need to send the license to?

    If you just want to try the test out of interest, then the online tests are good, or you can actually buy the test papers to try the real thing.

    Regards
    Ian

  9. #9
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    As Ian says you can buy practice test papers. These are available from a local AA shop and the practice papers are the same as the actual papers.

    As for the test, it is not difficult, even I passed.

  10. #10
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    If you're worried, buy a copy of the Road Code for Drivers (most bookshops and AA offices sell them). The theory exam is basically just a memory quiz on what's in the book (some of the pictures were remarkably similar from what I recall )

    Dougie

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