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Thread: UK to NZ driving license

  1. #1
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    Default UK to NZ driving license

    Hello!

    Can someone clarify the procedure for gaining a NZ driving license? I have an automatic only UK license and have had it since May 2014. I will have been in NZ for a year as of October 2015. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that you need to resit your practical test here if you've been driving for less than 2 years. Annoyingly, I'll be just short of that...

    What's the deal if, say, I didn't drive for the first 6 months of being in NZ? And I can drive for 12 months before having to get a NZ license? Would anyone ever check these things? I've been pulled over by police (routine WOF checks!) and they asked if I had a full license, I said yes then realised that I didn't, so I said overseas hastily. He said nothing except mock my Scottish accent!

    Silly question, I'm just really nervous about having to take a test here! Also, if you've been driving for >1 year, is it just a simple fill in a form, get a NZ license?

    Can someone also tell me what the NZ practical test is like? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I vaguely remember reading somewhere that you need to resit your practical test here if you've been driving for less than 2 years.
    You have to take the appropriate part of the practical test if you have held your UK licence for less than two years. (Page 3 of this form. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/ap...5/docs/dl5.pdf)

    What's the deal if, say, I didn't drive for the first 6 months of being in NZ?
    I don't understand why you're asking. If it's, can you 'use' those six months later on, no, you can't.

    And I can drive for 12 months before having to get a NZ license?
    Yes. And the 12 months starts again ANY time you enter NZ - so if you were to have a shopping trip to Australia, say, just before your first 12 months was up, you'd have another legal 12 months on NZ roads.

    Would anyone ever check these things?
    Emphatically, yes, they DO. And people have been known to get demerit points for infringements of traffic laws stacked up ready for the NZ licence they haven't even got yet, for driving while unlicensed. Too many demerit points withing a two-year period can get the licence suspended. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/fa...-offences.html

    Also, if you've been driving for >1 year, is it just a simple fill in a form, get a NZ license?
    If you've held your UK licence for two years or more, you fill in the form and either do the eye test at the office, or show an optician's certificate to show you meet the standard. See here. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/resi...riving-nz.html If you've not held it that long, you'd first get a NZ restricted licence, with the conditions of use mentioned here. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/gett...r-licence.html

    I'm just really nervous about having to take a test here!
    In that case, can you envisage a quick trip out of NZ in, say, September, 2015? You would then have the right to be on your UK driving licence till September, 2016, and when you came to convert it, you would have held it for more than two years.

    Can someone also tell me what the NZ practical test is like?
    Details here. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/ro...ving-test.html

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    You have to take the appropriate part of the practical test if you have held your UK licence for less than two years. (Page 3 of this form. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/ap...5/docs/dl5.pdf)

    I don't understand why you're asking. If it's, can you 'use' those six months later on, no, you can't.

    Yes. And the 12 months starts again ANY time you enter NZ - so if you were to have a shopping trip to Australia, say, just before your first 12 months was up, you'd have another legal 12 months on NZ roads.

    Emphatically, yes, they DO. And people have been known to get demerit points for infringements of traffic laws stacked up ready for the NZ licence they haven't even got yet, for driving while unlicensed. Too many demerit points withing a two-year period can get the licence suspended. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/fa...-offences.html

    If you've held your UK licence for two years or more, you fill in the form and either do the eye test at the office, or show an optician's certificate to show you meet the standard. See here. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/resi...riving-nz.html If you've not held it that long, you'd first get a NZ restricted licence, with the conditions of use mentioned here. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/gett...r-licence.html

    In that case, can you envisage a quick trip out of NZ in, say, September, 2015? You would then have the right to be on your UK driving licence till September, 2016, and when you came to convert it, you would have held it for more than two years.

    Details here. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/ro...ving-test.html
    Thank you so much, that's incredibly helpful! Perhaps a trip to Oz could be on the cards...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    In that case, can you envisage a quick trip out of NZ in, say, September, 2015? You would then have the right to be on your UK driving licence till September, 2016, and when you came to convert it, you would have held it for more than two years.

    Hi JandM, do you know how that works out if someone becomes naturalized citizen in due course of time or does this counter reset only apply to people with specific visas

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sun777 View Post
    Hi JandM, do you know how that works out if someone becomes naturalized citizen in due course of time or does this counter reset only apply to people with specific visas
    It says on this page http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/resi...riving-nz.html
    You can drive for a maximum period of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. Each time you arrive in New Zealand you can drive for a further 12-month period.
    Taking the words at face value, I suppose it could be said that if someone quite often travelled outside NZ, they could still be claiming the 'it's not 12 months since I arrived in NZ' clause after YEARS living in the country. I can't help thinking, however, that there has to be a catch, and, though I haven't seen any regulation to say so, that if you'd been around long enough to become a citizen, quite likely the police wouldn't take that attitude very kindly. That's just a personal interpretation - nothing official.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by spenny92 View Post
    Silly question, I'm just really nervous about having to take a test here! Also, if you've been driving for >1 year, is it just a simple fill in a form, get a NZ license?
    Why are you nervous taking a test? And if you are worried about not knowing the rules, or not passing the practical test, in all honesty, should you be driving? I'm not trying to be mean, but driving tests are not just a nuisance, or something to be avoided at all costs, they do serve a purpose.

    Apart from that, driving standards here are so low, I cannot see how anyone could fail a test.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    It says on this page http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/resi...riving-nz.htmlTaking the words at face value, I suppose it could be said that if someone quite often travelled outside NZ, they could still be claiming the 'it's not 12 months since I arrived in NZ' clause after YEARS living in the country. I can't help thinking, however, that there has to be a catch, and, though I haven't seen any regulation to say so, that if you'd been around long enough to become a citizen, quite likely the police wouldn't take that attitude very kindly. That's just a personal interpretation - nothing official.
    Thanks JandM, yes that does help. OH is part time driver & has been travelling frequently so just wanted to cross check that.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dharder View Post
    Why are you nervous taking a test? And if you are worried about not knowing the rules, or not passing the practical test, in all honesty, should you be driving? I'm not trying to be mean, but driving tests are not just a nuisance, or something to be avoided at all costs, they do serve a purpose.

    Apart from that, driving standards here are so low, I cannot see how anyone could fail a test.
    I understand that. The reason why I'm nervous about taking another test here is because we live in a rural area. It's been a while since I've had the need to drive in a busy city - I am an able and safe driver, but it's not something that I enjoy and I would rather avoid driving in stressful areas. I'm absolutely fine with driving where we live. Because it's a rural area, I'd need to sit the test in the nearest city which would stress me out a little bit as it's too far and expensive for me to travel there frequently to practice. When we do go away for the odd weekend etc, my partner tends to drive! So it's not a case of not being a good driver, but rather the fact that the conditions I'd be driving in for the test are not conditions which I would ordinarily have to drive in.

    I'm also not sure how the test works here. I passed first-time back in the UK, but it was an automatic-only license. Would I still be able to get a full license here, or would it be restricted?

  9. #9
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    The words 'restricted licence' have a particular meaning in NZ terms.
    While on a restricted licence:

    You can drive on your own, but not between 10pm and 5am
    Generally, you cannot carry passengers without the supervision of a licensed car driver. Your supervisor must hold a current full New Zealand car licence which does not have a supervisor condition. They must have held their full New Zealand licence (or an equivalent overseas licence) for at least two years.
    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/gett...r-licence.html (More about it here. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/fa...-to-drive.html)

    If someone takes their NZ driving test for a restricted licence in an automatic car, their restricted licence will only allow them to drive automatic vehicles, but once they pass their test for a full licence, even if they do it in an automatic again, they will be entitled to drive both automatic AND manual vehicles. (That's the law, but I think it's absolutely crazy. For your own sake and that of all other road users, if you're ever going to go on the road in manual vehicles, go and have some extra lessons and learn how to use them properly. As you say you're not a confident driver in the first place, you should not have the extra doubt of not being able to control the vehicle AS WELL AS watching out for road hazards.)

  10. #10
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    Best to just get your NZ licence. You could use a driving school e.g. AA to go through a mock practical test with you to see if you're likely to pass.

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