If you are visiting from overseas, or you've recently moved here permanently, make sure that you are driving legally and safely.
On this page:
Short term visitors
If your visit is temporary, you may drive the equivalent vehicle in Australia as authorised by your current licence issued to you in your home country. You must not have been disqualified from driving in any country and you will also need one of these:
- a licence issued in another country that is written in English
- a licence written in a language other than English, along with an English translation or an international driver's licence.
You must carry your licence (and translation or international driving permit) at all times when driving. You must produce these and your temporary visa to police on request.
If your overseas licence expires while you are in Australia, you must obtain an Australian licence.
International driving permits
An international driving permit (IDP) is a special permit for tourists that allows motorists to drive in other countries without further tests or licence applications. An IDP is proof that you hold a valid driver's licence in your home country. In many countries it is required in you want to rent a motor vehicle.
Foreign licence holders
Foreign licence holders cannot obtain an IDP in Australia - you should obtain one in the country where the original licence was issued.
An IDP is valid for 12 months and must be accompanied by the licence issued in your home country.
Australian licence holders
Refer to the section on South Australians driving interstate or overseas.
If you are issued a permanent visa and become a resident of South Australia, you must obtain a South Australian driver's licence within three months and you may be required to surrender your overseas driver's licence. Once you are issued with a South Australian learner's permit or driver's licence, your overseas licence is invalid.
Applying for a South Australian driver's licence
You may be eligible for the equivalent class of licence as your foreign licence. Minimum age requirements apply.
Go to any Service SA customer service centre and present the following documents:
- your current driver's licence - if this is not written in English you must bring an approved English translation or your international driving permit
- evidence of identity - proof of your identity, signature, age and address
- payment for your written test, if required
- your medical certificate, if required
- concession card, if entitled.
Recognised overseas licences
South Australia recognises the driver licensing and testing standards in the countries listed below. If you hold, or have held a driver's licence within the last five years you are not required to undertake equivalent driving tests in South Australia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ireland (Republic of)*
Isle of Man
* Please note; a provisional licence in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom is equivalent to a South Australian learner's permit and cannot be transferred.
If your foreign licence is for a class other than a car or motorcycle, and you wish to keep that class of licence, you must undertake a practical driving test in a vehicle of that class (excluding road trains and B-doubles).
New Zealand licence holders will be issued with the equivalent South Australian driver's licence for all licence classes.
Under the age of 16 years:
- If you hold a full (unrestricted) foreign licence and are under the age of 16 years you are not eligible to hold a South Australian learner's permit or driver's licence.
- If you hold a full foreign licence but are under the age of 16½ years, you may be issued a learner's permit.
- If you hold a full foreign licence but are under the age of 19 years, you may be issued a provisional licence.
'Experienced Driver' recognition
South Australia also recognises driver experience from the following countries:
Republic of Korea
A person aged 25 years or older with a driver's licence from one of these countries is treated the same as someone who holds a licence from a recognised country and is not required to undertake any driving tests.
If you are aged under 25 years and hold a licence from a country where "driver experience" is recognised, you will be required to pass a theory test and practical driving test, with an Authorised Examiner, in order to obtain a South Australian driver's licence.
Refer to the "Non-recognised overseas licence" topic below for details on this process.
Overseas licences that are not recognised
- If you hold a full (unrestricted) foreign licence and you are under the age of 16 years you are not eligible to hold a South Australian learner's permit or driver's licence.
- If you hold a full (unrestricted) foreign licence and you are under the age of 16½ years, you may be issued a learner's permit after passing the necessary tests.
- If you hold a full (unrestricted) foreign licence and you are under the age of 19 years, you may be issued a provisional licence after passing the necessary tests.
You must comply with all of the conditions of the licence or permit and the requirements of the graduated licensing scheme.
If you hold a full foreign licence and are aged 19 years or over you will be required to pass a theory test and practical driving test, with an authorised examiner, in order to obtain a South Australian driver's licence.
If you do not pass the practical driving test, or you fail a validation assessment, you must then apply for a learner's permit.
As part of the government audit process, sometimes after passing a practical driving test with a private authorised examiner a further practical driving test with a government assessment officer (known as a validation assessment) is required before a South Australian licence is issued. There is no charge for this test.
When you have passed these driving tests you will receive a certificate of competency.
Present your certificate of competency at a Service SA customer service centre and apply for a South Australian driver's licence.
After you have paid the fee and had your photograph taken, a temporary driver's licence will be issued and your photo licence will be posted to you.
English translations and language services
Translation services are available through:
The Interpreting and Translating Centre
24 Flinders Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: 8226 1990
Alternatively, you can contact the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters NAATI on (08) 8410 5233 or visit www.naati.com.au for a list of translators.
When driver's licence translations are accepted
Driver's licence translations will only be accepted if they are:
- an original document (photocopies, faxes and certified copies are not acceptable)
- from a consulate office in Australia, signed by a consulate officer, and on official consulate letterhead, or
- authorised by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
Translations are also acceptable if they have been provided either directly by or with the endorsement of the South Australian Government Interpreting and Translating Centre or interstate equivalent or the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
Travel safely in Australia - Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure
Travel safe map - Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure