How to Get a New Zealand Driver License

There are many reasons to get a New Zealand drivers license

  • You are required to get one to drive
  • You are getting IDed for buying alcohol and do not want to carry around your passport
  • Your home country drivers license is going to expire
  • It is easier for entry to sites that give a discount/free entry for New Zealand residents
  • You want a New Zealand legal form of identification

Do You Need a New Zealand Drivers License to Drive?

Most people that move to New Zealand do not need to get a drivers license right away to drive. New Zealand has very reasonable rules with who can drive in New Zealand. You do not need a New Zealand drivers license if you meet all the following criteria.

  1. You have a valid overseas drivers license
  2. Your driver license is in English, or you have an accurate English translation
  3. You have been in New Zealand for less than 12 months.  This resets each time you leave the country. As long as you are not in New Zealand for longer than 12 months without leaving the country and have an active drivers license from another country, you never need to get a New Zealand drivers license.
  4. You haven’t been giving a driving disqualification or suspension in New Zealand

Converting your driver license to a New Zealand license

new zealand drivers license conversion application

  • You can directly convert your driver license to a New Zealand drivers license if you have had it for more than two years and it was issued by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, or the United States of America.
  • Go to an overseas drivers license conversion center. You do not need an appointment.  The wait time is normally minimal.
  • Bring a filled out application or fill one out at the center.
    • You do not need to put an address on your driver license.
  • Bring current home country driver license
    • If your license is less than two years old, bring old license or proof that you have had a drivers license for two years or longer
    • If your driver license is not in English, bring a translated copy.
  • Bring your passport.
  • Bring a color photocopy of your drivers license and passport or pay for one at the center.
  • Pass an eye site test at the driver license center.
  • You can pay for your driver license with EFTPOS or a credit card.

new zealand overseas conversion fee chart


Once you have your driver license make sure you check out our guide on driving in New Zealand.

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