Get Me Downunder

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Hi! After reading several pieces of information and other peoples comments, it appears that you have to switch your British Driving Licence to Australian within 3 months of obtaining your visa. Can anyone shed some light on this information please? What happens if you can't get over there in the 3 months, or your house hasn't sold, or the timings not right to leave within the 3 months stated? What happens then? Would you have to complete a full driving test again then if its over 3 months??? I'm confused!!!!

Steph x

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Comment by Ged on September 13, 2009 at 12:28
Hi Stephanie, you can obtain an "International Driving Permit" from the RAC in the UK. This gives you the ability to drive in several countries, including Australia, for 12 months. However, I've never heard of anyone relying on it so it's probably best to get an Aussie driving licence as soon as you arrive. The other benefit of having a proper driving licence is that it is used widely in Australia as a form of identification for all sorts of transactions (e.g. opening a bank account). In Queensland, the licence not only has your current address but also a photograph, and it's handy to carry with you everywhere as it is the size of a credit card.
Comment by Vicky Gray on September 11, 2009 at 5:07
Hi Stephanie!

Yep, there's no need to panic... the government changed the rules in March 2006, so that the Brits no longer have to take the theory test - although I didn't know that when I arrived in May 2006... and obviously neither did the employees in the transport department - as I took the test (and failed!) and then re-took it (and passed!) then got a letter a few months later and a reimbursment cheque from them 'cause I didn't need to do it in the first place...

Hmm, so it all seems pretty straightforward now!
Good luck with it all

Vicky Gray
author 'Didgeridoos & Didgeridon'ts' - A Brit's guide to moving your life Down Under'
available online at, tescos, borders, waterstones etc....
Comment by Ken Fayers on September 8, 2009 at 20:29
First off the rule is you need to get your Australian Licence within 3 months of moving to Australia. The date you got your visa nor the date you entered Australia to activate your visa (if you were then returning to the UK) don't count for anything. If you don't get your licence within 3 months of actually moving then you are not allowed to drive in Australia until you do get an Australian licence. You can convert your UK driving licence long after the 3 months if you want (no need for a test) but between 3 months and doing the conversion you will be breaking the law if you drive a car in Australia.

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