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Thread: Get a driving license in NZ or SG?

  1. #1
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    Default Get a driving license in NZ or SG?

    Hi car drivers, I'm contemplating getting a driving license. Should I learn driving only when I move to NZ or start now, in my home country (Singapore). Btw, both are right hand drive. Would love to hear your opinions on driving in NZ too

  2. #2
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    Mar 2011
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    Auckland, NZ
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    I've only really started driving here: I had the UK equivalent of the NZ Learner License for twenty years (*shameful, I know*), as I lived in London and never needed to drive. Long story short: Insurance was expensive, parking non-existent, GFs had licences, supermarkets delivered, and taxis were my biggest vice. I was, however, able to convert my UK provisional license to an NZ Learner Licence straight after arriving (without having to do the theory test that's usually required to get it), but there's a minimum six month period before I can sit my Restricted test and then - because I'm over 25 - I have to wait another six months (instead of a year) before I can sit my full license test. This comes down to three months if I pass an advanced driving course...

    As has been discussed here before, the general standard of driving in NZ can trend towards the, erm, "not good" end of the scale - but with a more difficult Restricted License test being introduced recently (and claims of failure quotas), you may find getting a license in NZ more challenging than SG - and you will need lessons. (Having a friend or relative give you lessons won't necessarily get you through the new test.) I've been using a great driving school - but the lessons aren't cheap: 5 hours = NZ$285 - and I've also been driving with my other half supervising me

    I'm not sure how the driver licensing system works in SG, but the NZ system is a bit more convoluted than the UK's: There's a breakdown on the NZTA site that's worth reading. Depending on your age and level of licensing when you get to NZ, you might have a considerable wait before you can drive by yourself. (If you're coming over with someone that does have a full license that they've held for a couple of years, then they can supervise you during certain hours - again, the official info is in the NZTA site.)

    Despite all of this, I'd recommend that you get some professionally-supervised driving under your belt before you leave SG: You'll be able to get certain actions and behaviours (gear-changing, mirror-checking, etc.) under your belt before you arrive.

    Cheers,

    Adi
    Last edited by scorchio75; 30th October 2012 at 09:11 PM.

  3. #3
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    First, I think it is better that you get your driving license in NZ rather than Singapore. This is despite the fact that you might be inconvenient when you first arrive as most places would require a vehicle to get to and public transport is not always accessible to places. My suggestion is to stay in the city until you get your bearings.

    The cost of learning to drive in Singapore is much higher, factor in the theory tests you have to take and a minimum no. of practical driving modules you need to take in order to pass. That is, if you are capable of passing the first time of course.

    You will not be tested on things like parking, s-course, in-house practical circuit that you find in Singapore. The NZ driving test is structured to test your driving abilities, vehicle conditions, awareness of road conditions and observation hazards. Basically you go on the road and drive and if you drive well, you pass.

    However the most critical thing you have to know is that the Singapore driving license is not treated as the equivalent to the NZ driving license. Even if you have a Singapore driving license and have years of experience driving, you still need to take both the theory and practical tests again in NZ to qualify for the NZ driving license. Only certain countries are allowed to convert their licenses without taking the tests namely countries in N. America and western Europe. Japan is the only Asian country exempted. For them it is just a simple trip to the AA, filling out a form and taking the eye exam.

    You can drive to a max of 12 months in NZ on your Singapore license after which you need to convert to a NZ license. If you plan on staying more than a year in NZ without interruption, then it would be wiser to overall take the driving tests/license in NZ. If you enter and re-enter NZ within the 12 months, your permit to drive on NZ roads re-starts again for 12 months at the point of re-entry.

  4. #4
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    Auckland, NZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by batgirl1001 View Post
    First, I think it is better that you get your driving license in NZ rather than Singapore. This is despite the fact that you might be inconvenient when you first arrive as most places would require a vehicle to get to and public transport is not always accessible to places. My suggestion is to stay in the city until you get your bearings.
    Some good points there, especially about differences in testing standards. I've found - despite living in Central Auckland - that waiting for at least 12 months before being able to drive by myself (or at night, or with passengers that aren't "supervising" me) just isn't working: Public transport isn't great - relying on buses at weekends is an exercise in frustration - and road cycling is an exercise in sheer terror and/or strength of will.

    I'm lucky that my partner has a full driving license and can supervise me - which means that I do almost all of the daytime driving, as I have the most road experience to make up - as well as having properly supervised lessons to clean up the bad habits that I've picked-up in the meantime.

  5. #5
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    Thanks so much for your replies. It's a big help on my decision making process

  6. #6
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    As Batgirl has said your Singapore Licence will mean you have to take the practical and theory tests for a new Zealand Licence. This is the full section about this

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/fa...-licences.html

    If this was me I would wait until I got to NZ to avoid having to pay twice for passing your driving licence in a relatively short period but the decision is ultimately yours to make. On the other hand you have a year on your Singapore licence which will give you experience driving in NZ and enabling you to get around.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorchio75 View Post
    I was, however, able to convert my UK provisional license to an NZ Learner Licence straight after arriving (without having to do the theory test that's usually required to get it)
    Hey - I also only have a UK provisional licence and would love to convert it - how does this process work? I can't find any detail on the NZTA website..

    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by batgirl1001 View Post
    You can drive to a max of 12 months in NZ on your Singapore license after which you need to convert to a NZ license. If you plan on staying more than a year in NZ without interruption, then it would be wiser to overall take the driving tests/license in NZ. If you enter and re-enter NZ within the 12 months, your permit to drive on NZ roads re-starts again for 12 months at the point of re-entry.
    @batgirl1001, I understand that , I can drive to a max of 12 months in NZ with my overseas driving license. I have to always keep my overseas driving license (my license is in English) while driving in NZ.
    1) Should I always need to keep my overseas passport always with me while driving (overseas driving license + passport with relevant visa )?
    2) How frequently they check ur driving license while you are driving in the road?
    3) How they will know whether my staying period in NZ is more than 12 months or not? Again should i need to carry my passport in addition to driving license to show the point of entry / re entry in passport for the calculation of 12 months driving validity period?
    Last edited by farzanakhan123; 5th September 2013 at 05:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    You are unlikely to get your license checked unless you commit a traffic infringement or happen to be at a police road check. If so, the most they can ask is how long have you been driving in NZ. I know it is impractical to always have your passport with you in your car. So if you like, you can make a copy of your passport details (showing your visa entry date) if you are afraid the police are going to be strict with you.

    Most people who are planning to stay in NZ for a long period of time of 12 months and more without interruption generally change their license when they arrive usually within a few months.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Auckland, NZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Housee101 View Post
    Hey - I also only have a UK provisional licence and would love to convert it - how does this process work? I can't find any detail on the NZTA website..

    Thanks!
    Start here - NZTA link is front and centre.

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