Canada is a vast country. In some areas of the country, it can be difficult to get around if you’re without a valid driver’s license and car. In this post, we’ll run you through some information to help you understand the process and steps for converting a foreign driver’s license in Canada.
If you’re planning to stay in Canada short term (1-12 months) then one option to consider before you leave your home country is to apply for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). An IDP is valid for a year and accompanies your local driver’s license.
For the countries below, you can convert your foreign driver’s license into a Canadian one without taking a knowledge or road test. You can do so at one of the registry offices available in Canada.
- Australia (Class 5 & 6)
- Austria (Class 5)
- Belgium (Class 5)
- France (Class 5)
- Germany (Class 5)
- Isle of Man (Class 5 & 6)
- Japan (Class 5)
- Netherlands (Class 5)
- Republic of Korea (Class 5)
- Switzerland (Class 5 & 6)
- Taiwan(Class 5)
- United Kingdom (Northern Ireland – Class 5 & 6)
- UK (England, Scotland & Wales – Class 5)
- USA (Class 5, 6 & 7)
Unfortunately for the remaining countries, there is a requirement to pass a knowledge and road test before you can convert your license. Below is a general outline of the process for converting your license. Make sure to confirm the specific requirements with your local registry office, as every province can have slightly different regulations. (see links at the bottom of article for further details)
Process of converting a foreign driver’s license in Canada:
- Locate a vehicle registry office when you arrive in Canada. Do a quick google search to find one near you. At the office, you will have to hand in your license so that you can book a knowledge test.
- Pass a basic knowledge test.
- To be recognized as an experienced driver, you will need to prove your driver’s history. Ideally, this will need to show a clean driver’s record.
- If your license is in a language other than English, you will be required to get a certified translation.
- If you can prove that you have been driving for more than 2 years, you can schedule yourself for an advanced road test in exchange for a full class license.
- In case you can’t prove your driver’s history, you will need to book a road test. Once you pass, you will be registered as a new driver.
Having car insurance is a legal requirement in Canada. To reduce the cost of your insurance, it will help if you can provide proof of insurance from your previous insurer. Without this, the cost of insurance premiums will significantly increase as you will be considered as a new driver. Many insurers tend to require a Canadian driver’s license in order to cover you but some will accept an International Driver’s Permit.
You can register your car at one of the vehicle registry offices nearest to you in Canada. If you’re buying a car, you will need to bring a bill of sale, car registration, confirmation of your car insurance, proof of identity, and proof of address. After registration, you will receive a license plate. Happy driving!
Check official guidelines for each specific province:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- NorthWest Territories
- Nova Scotia
That wraps up our tips on converting a foreign driver’s license in Canada. If you enjoyed this article then be sure to discover more tips here on how to make your transition to Canada easier, cheaper, and more convenient.