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 what steps are required 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 listed below, you can get your driver’s license exchanged into a Canadian license at one of the registry offices available in Canada without being required to take a knowledge or road test.
- 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)
- United Kingdom (England, Scotland & Wales – Class 5)
- United States (Class 5, 6 & 7)
Unfortunately for the remaining countries, you are required to pass a knowledge and road test before you can get your license converted. Below is a general outline of the process for converting your license. Make sure to confirm what is required with your local registry office, as every province can have slightly different regulations.
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 be required to hand in your license so that you can book a class 7 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 an advanced road test in exchange for a full class 5 license.
- Without proof of your driver’s history, 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, you will be registered as a new driver, which will significantly increase the cost of insurance premiums. 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, a license plate is issued to you.
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.