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Thread: NZ driving license - do I really have this right?!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Bermuda
    Posts
    7

    Default NZ driving license - do I really have this right?!

    Husband and I (both in our 40s) both have Bermuda driving licenses (we've been living here for nearly 8 years). While we previously had licenses in Canada (and he also had one in the UK), they are long expired (well over the 12 month threshold that NZTA allows for conversion).

    If I understand this correctly, each of us needs to:

    1. Pass a theory/written test in order to get a "learners" license - once we have this, we can only drive a car with an approved "supervisor" who has to be a fully licensed in NZ for at least 2 years
    2. We then have to wait SIX MONTHS (!!!!) after getting the learners permit to take the practical test in order to get a "restricted" license - with the restricted license we can drive "unsupervised" during certain hours of the day and to carry a spouse as a passenger
    3. In order to get a "full" license we can either wait another SIX MONTHS (!!!) and take the second practical test or take an advanced driving course and wait three months before taking the second practical test.

    One of my questions was about the restrictions when we have a "learners permit" - since we still have valid overseas licenses (Bermuda) and we could legally drive on those for 12 months, I thought that was something we could do while we wait out the six month period before we can take the practical test to get a restricted license. However, I searched the forum and seemed to find indications that once you've taken the theory test and obtained a learners permit you can't use your overseas license and the full restrictions of the learners permit apply - including the fact that you need an approved supervisor. Am I understanding this correctly because it seems crazy?!?!?! It's going to make things really difficult for us because we obviously can't act as supervisors for eachother and we don't know anyone in NZ. Is there some way that we can apply for an "exception" to eliminate the 6 month waiting period before we can take the restricted test? We've both been driving for 20+ years at this stage, so it does seem unduly burdensome.

    I think we can work with the waiting period between restricted and full license but I'm really concerned about the ability for us to cope with the 6 month period where we have learners permits. The only thing I could think of would be staggering the learner permit acquisition, so that one of us is driving on an international license while the other party waits out their 6 months and can't drive anywhere but this really does not seem practical or ideal!

    Thanks in advance for any insights and my apologies if this is clearly answered somewhere already - I did do what I thought was a thorough forum search.

    And now I'm reeeeeaaaalllly regretting letting my Canadian license expire.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Canterbury, New Zealand
    Posts
    862

    Default

    You can short-cut one of the stages by taking an 'advanced drivers' course, my girls did that, but I can't remember the details offhand.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    2,282

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    2,282

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Bermuda
    Posts
    7

    Default



    OMG, now I feel like an idiot! I had looked at the page about "converting" overseas licenses but for some reason I had concluded we weren't able to do so because Bermuda wasn't on the list of approved countries....clearly I have a reading comprehension problem! Now that you pointed me here again, I see that we can apply to convert. We'll have to take the theory test at the time of application and then wait to get what will basically be a learners license but it then seems like we can take the practical test in short order and not need to wait for 6 months. There will still be a period when we can't drive without a "supervisor" until the practical exam is passed....but if we stagger our conversions, the other one of us should be able to drive in the interim. Thank you, thank you, thank you for pointing me in the right direction!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    California to Tasman Bay
    Posts
    1,135

    Default

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding but, you've been here 8 years? I thought you can only convert license 12 months after your arrival?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    36,087

    Default

    I think the 'here' is Bermuda.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Bermuda
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Yes, sorry - we've been living in Bermuda for the last 8 years...moving to NZ in October.

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