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Thread: Cars and Drivers' Licenses

  1. #1
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    Default Cars and Drivers' Licenses

    I hope to be arriving in Christchurch in July or August and will want to buy a car shortly after arrival (or even before). Any recommendations on how to go about this, and also on getting a NZ license? I assume that my US license should grant me the ability to convert to a NZ license easily (I would not imagine the same is true for my Chinese license...).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    There are some quite recent old threads about buying cars - a search will find them.

    You can drive for 12 months on your existing licence, but here's a link to explanations about getting an NZ licence. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/resi...ors/index.html

  3. #3
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    Also check out Factsheet 56

    A couple of points to note are that the Chinese license (with english translation) will only allow you to drive for 12 months and can't be converted directly to a NZ one.

    And that whilst the US one will, you need to be able to prove requirements i.e. held it for at least 2 years - this is apparently very difficult to do from some states especially if you have recently renewed.

    Ian

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW99 View Post
    And that whilst the US one will, you need to be able to prove requirements i.e. held it for at least 2 years - this is apparently very difficult to do from some states especially if you have recently renewed.
    AA took a very, very old California license (along with my recently issued California license) as evidence that I had been driving for >two years.

    No tests required, just a $43 (or thereabouts fee). As of yesterday, I am the proud owner of a temporary NZ drivers license, and hopefully the permanent one will arrive this week.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Ian

    I had been intending to look for that factsheet as I was fairly sure that the requirement to sit the theory test that used to be mentioned had been removed and I wanted to make sure. I got confused reading a couple of older articles and books.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Hi jlg,
    I looked on Trade Me (www.trademe.co.nz) for a car and eventually found one. Trade Me has private sale cars and cars for sale with dealerships. I hate car shopping and didn't want to trawl around on foot visiting lots of car dealerships or people selling cars privately so internet shopping suited me. I bought my car from a dealership who advertised on Trade Me and they even drove it to me for me to test drive and then once I transferred the funds they delivered the car to me. Pretty painless!
    Best of luck,
    Bridget

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW99 View Post
    And that whilst the US one will, you need to be able to prove requirements i.e. held it for at least 2 years - this is apparently very difficult to do from some states especially if you have recently renewed.
    I was able to get a printout from my U.S. state online, showing my license history (i.e., the date I was first given a driver's license in that state and the renewal dates of it).

    The catch? They had blocked non-U.S. IP addresses from obtaining and paying for such a printout. Whilst I greatly appreciate their efforts to protect me from overseas fraud (I had my identity stolen in the U.S. after I moved to NZ), it made it extremely difficult for me to get the printout I needed in a timely fashion. I ending up giving a trusted friend back in the States (who happens to be an attorney) all my personal details, and he was nice enough to go online, order and pay for the printout using his credit card, and e-mail the pdf document he received to me here in NZ. I then issued a check to him from my U.S. bank account for the fee.

    If your license was issued less than 2 years ago, your state may do something similar online and you may be able to get documentation that you've actually had it for longer. It's worth a look to see if that's available, or even just obtain it by contacting the DOT in your state and getting them to send it to you by snail mail.


    On a side note, you may not want to let your U.S. driving license expire (I didn't) even though you're living in NZ, if you plan on going back to the States for visits. My state had a form that I could download online and send to them with a U.S. check stating that I was temporarily overseas, and I was able to obtain a replacement license using my last address of residence there. They stuck the previous photo (which was saved in their system) on it.

    This way, when I go back to the States to visit, it will be much easier to rent a car (or do certain other things) with a U.S. license rather than an overseas license. You might be able to obtain such a renewal over the Internet from your state using a credit card. Or, if you don't still have a U.S. bank account, you might be able to send the completed form to a friend or relative there and have them send it on with a U.S. check for the fee.

    If you don't ever plan on going back, then letting your U.S. license expire is not a big deal.





  8. #8
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    As luck would have it, my current Connecticut license was issued in March 2008, so it's more than 2 years old. (Previously my license was from Virginia, but I wanted to end my relationship with VA to avoid the punitive tax regime there. My sister lives in CT, so that's now "my" state, too.) And I was totally kidding about using my Chinese license for anything. If anyone reading this has driven in China, you'll know that the qualifications for a license here are let's just say not very rigorous, and among the things you need to know to pass the theory exam is what the correct treatment is should you hit a pedestrian and cause their intestines to spill out (the answer, in case you're curious, is to scoop them up in a bowl and affix the bowl to the victim's torso through the use of a bungie cord; so I suppose in theory all Chinese cars come with bowls and bungie cords in the first aid kit).

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