FAQ on the change of Licensing Scheme for International Drivers in Victoria
Victoria is the first state in Australia to implement Austroads recommendation aligning temporary visas holders into line with requirements for permanent visa holders and interstate drivers.
Under new changes, temporary visa holders in Victoria will need to convert to a Victorian Driving Licence before the 29th of April, or within 6 months of their arrival or they will face severe penalties. Depending on where their licence is from, this may mean sitting theoretical and practical tests in Victoria. This law came into effect on the 29th of October, 2019.
The Driverli team answers most of your questions in this article.
Here is the original article published by Driverli on the Change of Driving Licensing Scheme for International Drivers in Victoria.
It depends on your situation. As an international driver, you need to understand what applies to you. Here the key steps to follow:
- Check if you need to pass the two theoretical tests (Road Law Knowledge Test and the Hazard Perception Test) as well as the practical Drive Test to convert your international licence. Use Driverli’s Licence Check tool here.
- If your driving licence is not in English, get is translated through an approved translator. You will need it to be done whether or not you need to pass the tests as well as during the first 6 months you are allowed to drive with your international driving licence.
- Start the process of converting your licence as explained by Driverli in the licence check tool. Give yourself plenty of time especially if you need to take the various tests.
It depends on where you got your international driving licence from as well your age.
Use Driverli’s international licence check tool to find out about whether or not you will have to take the driving test.
If you don’t convert your driving licence within the applicable timeframe, you will be considered as driving unlicensed, ie driving without a valid licence.
You could face a fine up to $9,500 or six months jail. The same penalty applies to the person who let you drive their car if you are driving unlicensed.
The second aspect is that if you get involved in an accident, your insurance company could refuse to pay their liability or property damage. This means that you will have to pay the costs. Obviously, if you are not at fault, you will not need to pay for the damage, but you will be fined for driving unlicensed.
The changes of driver licensing scheme implemented by the Department of Transport are aimed at improving Victorian road safety as “crash data indicates 2.7 percent of fatal and injury crashes in Victoria involve international drivers” (also Vicroads).
The overall objective is to bring international driving rules for temporary visa holders into line with requirements for permanent visa holders and interstate drivers.
Indeed, currently up to now, as a temporary visa holder, you were allowed to drive with your international licence as long as you stay on a non-permanent visa type. This meant that you could be driving with your overseas licences indefinitely The requirement to convert to a local licence applied only when you transfer to a permanent visa.
This means that some international drivers didn’t feel concerned with the local laws and could pose a safety risk to other drivers.
In an effort to standardize those requirements, this change was decided.
Unless you are planning to stay less than 6 months in Victoria, every international drivers are concerned by this new law and will be required to convert their international driving licence to a Victorian licence.
- If you have been living in Victoria before October 2019, you have until the 29th of April 2020 to convert your international driving licence.
- If you have just arrived or plan to move to Victoria, you have 6 months to convert your international driving licence.