Obtaining an Australian Driving License for International Student


Navigating the pathways to obtaining a driving license in a new country can be a complex journey, especially for international students in Australia. However, to explore the vast landscapes and vibrant cities across Australia, getting an Australian driver license is a wise choice. This comprehensive guide is tailored to help international students understand the step-by-step process of acquiring an Australian driving license, from determining eligibility based on your home country’s license agreement to mastering local road rules and understanding state-specific regulations. 

How to get an Australian driving license for international students?

To get an Australian driving license as an international student, you need to follow a process that varies slightly from state to state. However, there is a general pathway that applies across Australia: 

Step 1: Determine if Your Home Country License is Recognised 

  • Recognised countries: If you have a valid license from certain recognised countries, you may be able to convert it to an Australian license without taking a driving test. The list includes the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and several European countries. 
  • Recognised countries for experienced drivers: Some states in Australia have a list of recognised countries for drivers who are 25 years old or above, which includes nations like South Korea and South Africa. 
  • If you’re from a recognised country, you may convert your license without testing, subject to age restrictions. If your home country license is not in English, you will need a certified translation into English.  

 Step 2: Apply for a Learner’s Permit 

  • Age requirements: Usually, you must be at least 16 years old. 
  • Knowledge test: You’ll need to pass a knowledge test on the road rules of the state or territory. Once you have the learner’s permit, you can start practicing.  
  • Required documents: You’ll typically need your passport, student visa, and proof of your address in Australia to register for this test.  

Step 3: Practice Driving 

  • Supervised driving: You must accumulate a certain number of supervised driving hours. This varies by state but is typically around 120 hours, including nighttime driving. This means that you need to practice your driving skills under the supervision of a driving instructor or an experienced driver. In most of Australian states and territories, the experienced driver is defined as those who have a full driver license in Australia.  
  • Logbook: Some states require you to maintain a logbook of your driving hours to demonstrate that you already took all the required supervised driving hours.  

 Step 4: Obtain a Provisional License 

  • Practical driving test: After the learner period, you will need to take a driving test. You must drive in real situations, and the driving assessor will examine if your skills are good enough to have a driver license.  
  • Hazard Perception Test: In the New South Wales driving license procedure, you must also pass a computer-based hazard perception test. This test assesses your ability to recognize and respond to hazardous situations on the road. 
  • Provisional restrictions: There are usually restrictions on provisional licenses, such as driving curfews and zero blood alcohol content. 

Step 5: Upgrade to a Full License 

  • Time on provisional license: You need to spend a certain time on a provisional license before you can apply for a full license, typically 12 months for P1 and 24 months for P2.  
  • Driving test: You may need to pass another driving test to upgrade to a full license. 

Step 6: Get an Insurance 

  • At a minimum, you need Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance. This insurance normally covers the cost for the hospital if an accident occurs.  

Step 7: Renewal and Validity 

Licenses must be renewed periodically, with the duration varying by state. 

  • Australian Capital Territory: A full driving license is normally valid for 10 years or 5 years, depending on your choice. You must renew it before the expiration date.  
  • New South Wales: When registering for a driving license, international students can choose its validity period, either 10 years, 5 years, 3 years, or 1 year. 
  • Northern Territory: 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, or 1 year 
  • Queensland: From 1 to 5 years 
  • South Australia: From 1 to 10 years 
  • Tasmania: From 1 to 5 years 
  • Victoria: 10 years or 3 years 
  • Western Australia: 1 year or 5 years 

State-Specific Resources on driving rules and procedures

By visiting the official transportation websites of each Australian state or territory, you can access the most accurate and updated information, including any changes to the process, fees, and documentation requirements 


Gaining a driving license in Australia as an international student is not just about passing tests; it’s a rite of passage that unlocks a new level of independence and integration into Australian life. By following the structured steps laid out in this guide, from your learner’s permit to a full license, you can navigate the process with clarity and confidence. Remember that the journey doesn’t end with a piece of plastic in your wallet; it’s about becoming a safe and responsible member of the Australian driving community, fully versed in the rules and customs of the road. Whether you’re cruising along the coastal roads or commuting to campus, your Australian driving license is your ticket to truly experiencing the diverse and scenic splendor of the land Down Under.