Motoring in Sydney and New South Wales

Driving in New South Wales

Permanent Resident

A Permanent Resident is normally allowed to drive for 3 months before needing an Australian Licence, after that period they would be classed as driving without a valid licence.


A person on a Temporary or Visitors Visa is allowed to drive a private vehicle on a valid CURRENT driving licence from their own country, for as long as they have a valid visitors visa.

These visiting motorists are required to carry their licence (and English translation if applicable) at all times while driving and produce it to Police on request.

Production of their temporary visas may also be required as evidence of their temporary residential status.

Driving Licences
    New arrivals from the UK, and other selected countries

    No Theory Test, or Practical Test, is required for UK Car Drivers.

    A fully licensed, newly arrived migrant, can now visit the local RTA and obtain an equivalent NSW Drivers licence on production of their UK licence together with the relevant forms and payment, without taking any tests, other than an eyesight test.

    This MUST be done within THREE MONTHS of arrival, otherwise you would be classed as “Driving without a valid licence” and subject to Police Prosecution if caught.

    Temporary overseas visitors obtaining a NSW licence

    From 18 April 2008, all new NSW licence applicants identified as temporary overseas visitors will be subject to the following licensing rules:

    As a temporary overseas visitor, you will only be eligible to apply for a NSW licence once you have been in Australia for a continuous period of at least six months immediately prior to licence application.

    Licences will be marked with the one letter code Q in the conditions area on the front of the licence, with the accompanying text Evidence of permanent resident status not provided to the RTA appearing on the back of the licence.

    Licences issued with a Q will only be valid for 12 months.

Learner Drivers

If you hold a current learner licence from your country of origin, you can continue to learn to drive in NSW.

If you have held your driver licence for less than 12 months, you will be issued a NSW provisional P1 licence. If you have held your driver licence for more than 12 months but less than three years, a provisional P2 licence will be issued.

If you hold a Learners Licence, you will need to take a Knowledge Test and pay a licensing fee.

Learning to Drive in New South Wales

There are seven steps in progressing to a full licence in NSW:

  • Pass the Driver Knowledge Test (Theory Test) – and then get your learner licence.
  • Drive on your learner licence at least 12 months, if under 25, and complete 120 hours of supervised driving practice including 20 hours of night driving. You keep records in an official log book.
  • You then take the Driving Test, and progress to a P1 Provisional Licence, after passing that test.
  • Drive on your P1 licence for a minimum of 12 months.
  • You then take the Hazard Perception Test, and on passing that test, you get the P2 Provisional Licence.
  • Drive on your P2 licence for a minimum of 24 months.
  • You then take the Driver Qualification Test, and on passing that test, you then get a full licence.

NSW Licence Fees July 2010

Vehicle Roadworthy Certificates (MOT)

New South Wales requires many vehicles to undergo an Annual roadworthy test, similar to the British MOT

New Light vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles and caravans, will not need an inspection until they are over five years old.

The vehicle registration renewal notice will indicate if an inspection is required.

All e-Safety Checks (previously called pink slips) are now sent to the RTA electronically, from the testing station, so that the Car Registration can be completed with a valid roadworthy certificate.

Buying a Vehicle in NSW

A vehicle’s existing CTP insurance will be automatically transferred when the registration is transferred.

You don’t need to do anything about CTP insurance until the registration is due for renewal.

Buying an Unregistered Vehicle in NSW

Buying a Vehicle in NSW without a Roadworthy Certificate

Buying a Vehicle in NSW – is any finance still outstanding on it

When buying a car privately, you should have a REVS check carried out on it to see if any finance on the car is still outstanding. The vehicle may still be secured to the finance company and could be repossessed, in some cases.

Pets in Cars
    NSW – July 2009

    Legislation introduced in NSW which stipulates that motorists must not drive a vehicle with an animal on their lap or preventing them from having proper control of the car.
    Three demerit points and $338 fine, rising to $422 in a school zone.

Speeding Fines in New South Wales

2010 Penalties for speeding in NSW

  • Less than 10 km/h over the limit: $84 + one point.
  • 11 to 20 km/h over the limit: $197 + three points.
  • 21 to 30 km/h over the limit: $338 + four points.
  • 31 to 45 km/h over the limit: $647 + five points and three months suspension.
  • More than 45 km/h over the limit: $1,744 + six points and six months suspension.

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