International driver’s licenses

Written by Jack Parsons, Lawyer, Doogue + George Defence Lawyers

Overseas travel and road trips. You know what I’m talking about. 21 years old, a new found freedom and sense of purpose reduced to couple pals in a crummy car listening to a crummy stereo, driving to the Gold Coast.

Or maybe you’re a little more adventurous driving across the Nullarbor. Or down the South Coast of NSW or down the mighty Great Ocean Road in the middle of Winter.

Maybe you’re coming here to study or live.

Whatever category of young Kerouac you are, if you’re planning on doing some driving while you’re in Australia there are some things you should know.

Temporary Visa

If you have a temporary visa you can use your overseas license. You are not required to sign up for a Victorian license. BUT you will need to make sure that your license has been translated to English by an accredited and official body. There can be a charge attached to this process.

This is good news for any students as a student visa is considered a temporary visa. The length of your stay is dictated by the length of your course. You can travel. You can work. You can drive. You can damn near do whatever you like. The freedom available to those on this visa may almost have you thinking this is an area our nation manages well!

Perhaps a topic for another blog, but one should never miss an opportunity to remind lucky Australians that modern Australia (don’t get me started on colonisation) was built and accentuated by post war immigration.

From the charming inner suburbs of Carlton, Brunswick, Coburg and Richmond to the bold outer burbs of Templestowe, Springvale, Reservoir and Preston. Character and diversity built on desperation and understanding.

Whoa – Back on track – or should I say… back on ROAD!

Permanent Visa:

You can drive for 6 months from when you arrive in Australia or 6 months from when you are granted a visa. You will then need to sign up for a Victorian license. Some countries will not be required to take driving tests and can simply transfer their license over. Those countries include, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, UK, USA, Greece, Austria, Finland, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Malta, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland.

Age:

This is a big one and I believe an area where some people are becoming unstuck. I have had several clients who have been confused about how and why their licenses had been suspended. They were young, on student visa’s and believed that they had 12 demerit points available to them. In fact, the amount of demerit points available to you will depend on your age.

If you are a holder of an overseas license BUT you are UNDER 22 you have 5 points available over a 12 month period or 12 points over a 3 year period. SO if you lose 5 demerit points in 12 months, you will lose your license for a period.

If you are over 22 years old then you have 12 points available over a three year period like any other full license holder.

So key thing to remember – if you’re under 22 you are on your P Plates.

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