I currently have a visitor visa for 8 months. I have never gotten a license in my own country as I never needed it, but in NZ it's a bit tricky to get around without one, so I'm considering studying/applying for one.

I'm not sure if this is possible on a visitor visa though. The NZTA website doesn't seem to mention much about this.

I am from the Netherlands.

  • I can't seem to find any obvious information about this either - if you had a current overseas license, it looks like it would be much easier. I would call NZTA on their 0800 number, they should be able to give you a straight answer. – Greg Hewgill Nov 13 '18 at 1:14
  • Actually, I know somebody who was here in NZ on a long visitor visa, and they were able to swap their overseas license for a NZ license with no problem. So it's certainly possible for a visitor to hold an NZ license. – Greg Hewgill Nov 13 '18 at 1:45
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    New Zealand has a graduated driver licence system; the first step, a learner's licence, doesn't allow you to drive without adequate supervision, and must be held for 6 months, before being able to sit the test for the next licence (which itself has some restrictions). So, assuming you are allowed to get a learner's licence, it might not actually be very useful for you. – walter Nov 13 '18 at 2:01
  • Yeah, I read about that @walter, but for me the waiting period is only 3 months if I do a defensive driving course (as I'm over 30), so while not optimal, it's probably better than not getting a license (even a provisional one would be useful, so my girlfriend won't have to do 100% of the driving). Either way, I'd like to know what my options are. – Martin Tournoij Nov 13 '18 at 2:14
  • As I read it @MartinTournoij, the waiting period learner - restricted is always 6 months, and for a someone over 25 with a defensive driving course, the period restricted - full is 3 months. – walter Nov 13 '18 at 3:49

I contacted the NZ Transport Agency to ask them if there was any residency requirement for obtaining a driver license. They said anyone can apply for a license while visiting New Zealand.

If they are wanting to apply through the New Zealand Driver Licence system and are not going to be converting an overseas licence the following applies:

  • Provide ID such as Overseas Passport and a supporting ID (Bank statement, Utility Bill, IRD letter with IRD number, overseas licence)
  • Complete the DL1 application form through AA or VTNZ
  • Sit and pass the Learner licence theory test
  • Once the licence has been obtained the licence holder will need to remain on that licence for a minimum of 6 months
  • Once 6 months has elapsed the licence holder is able to apply for the New Zealand Restricted licence
  • Sit and pass the Restricted licence practical driving test

I suppose in theory you even obtain a license in multiple visits if you desired, although this would be an expensive exercise.

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