Visiting from overseas

Find out about using your overseas driver's licence while driving in Western Australia.

  Driving with an overseas licence

If you are a visitor to Western Australia (WA), you may drive only those vehicles that you are authorised to drive on your overseas driver's licence, for as long as it remains valid in the country of issue.

If your overseas driver's licence ceases to be valid, you must apply for a WA licence if you wish to continue driving (refer to the PDF below - Overseas drivers: How to get your driverís licence in Western Australia).

Visiting drivers include:

  • Overseas Defence Force personnel and their families. 
  • People on business trips.
  • People with working holiday visas. 
  • People working temporarily in WA. 
  • Students studying in WA.
  • Tourists.

If your overseas driverís licence is not in English, you must carry an English translation of your driverís licence with you when you drive. The translation must be performed by an authorised NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) translator.

Once you hold a permanent resident visa granted under the Migration Act 1958 you can drive in WA provided you hold a valid overseas licence until you have resided in WA for 3 months since the granting of the visa. During this time, you can apply for a WA driver's licence using the procedure outlined on our Transferring your overseas licence page.

Once have held a permanent visa for 3 months whilst residing in Western Australia, or your overseas driver's licence has expired or been disqualified, you cannot drive on your overseas licence.

For information on translation services refer to our Other languages page.

To be able to drive on WA roads with your overseas driver's licence you must:

  • Carry your driver's licence with you at all times while driving and show it to a police officer if asked to do so.
  • Comply with any other conditions of your driver's licence.
  • Drive only those vehicles that you are authorised to drive.
  • Hold a current driver's licence that is not suspended or cancelled (you cannot drive on your overseas licence if you are disqualified from driving or your driving privileges are withdrawn).

Note: If you require an International Driving Permit (IDP), contact the relevant issuing authority in your country of origin before you leave.

Opens in a new window Road Safety Commission: Visitors to WA

  Members of diplomatic missions and career consuls

Career consuls

Members of the Diplomatic Service and consular officers, and their families, who are posted to Western Australia for a specific period are not required to obtain WA driver's licences.

They can drive as visiting drivers, provided that they hold a current overseas driver licence. If the licence is not in English, an English translation which has been certified by the mission or post as being genuine, must also be carried with the licence when driving.

To drive or ride with a current overseas licence during the relevant periods:

  • The licence holder must not be disqualified from driving or riding.
  • The licence must not be suspended or cancelled.
  • The visiting driver or rider privileges must not have been withdrawn.

If the licence holder obtains a permanent resident visa after they have arrived in Australia, he or she will be required to apply for a WA licence within 3 months of the residency status being granted.

If you held a permanent resident visa before you arrived in Australia, you can drive on your overseas licence until you have resided in WA for 3 months. You should apply for a WA driver's licence during this time, as you will not be able to drive on your overseas driver's licence after the 3 months has finished.

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provides certain exemptions for consular officers and consular employees, and members of their households, including the payment of a fee for a driver's licence.

The following are exempted from the payment of fees when applying for or renewing their driver's licences.

  • Career consular officers.
  • Career consular employees.
  • Spouses of a career consular officer.
  • Eligible dependants of a career consular officer.

Service staff, including their spouses and dependants, are required to pay for licences and permits, and must undertake a written theory test and a practical driving test before being issued with a licence if they do not hold a licence from a recognised country.

When applying for a WA licence, people eligible for the above exemptions need to:

  • Present their current overseas licences. If the licence is not in English, a letter (in English) from the consulate or diplomatic office can be provided to confirm licence details and status.
  • Produce their current diplomatic (red) or consular (dark green) photograph identity cards issued by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Satisfy proof of identity requirements.
  • Satisfy other normal licence requirements.

Additionally, if you are a Spouse or family member of a Career Consul, in order to be granted a WA driver's licence you must provide evidence that you are the spouse or a dependent with your application, this may include:

  • an official Consulate ID Card issued by Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT); or
  • a copy of the VISA GRANT NOTICE that confirms the Spouse and any dependents or; 
  • a letter from the Consulate/Embassy on their official letter head that identifies that you are the spouse and/or are a dependent.

Members of Consulates and Embassies (Consular Posts) must attend the West Perth Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) Centre for any assistance with driver and vehicle licensing matters.

Diplomatic and consular staff may apply for unrestricted WA licences provided they hold an unrestricted overseas licence. If they hold the overseas equivalent of a WA provisional licence, only a WA provisional licence can be issued.

Applicants who have never been licensed to drive or ride (or whose licences have been lapsed for 1 year or more) must comply with all normal age, tenure and testing requirements. No licence fees are payable.

Applicants who are applying for an additional licence class must pay the appropriate licence fee.

Declared missions

A few overseas and international organisations have been declared missions (e.g. Taipei Economic and Cultural office) for the purpose of the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 (Commonwealth) and representatives are entitled to diplomatic privileges and immunities.

Representatives of these missions may drive in Western Australia as visiting drivers, provided that they hold a current overseas licence. If the licence is not written in English, an international driving permit or an English translation must also be carried with the licence when driving.

When applying for a WA driver's licences with the same classes as held on your overseas licence, representatives of such missions are exempted from a knowledge and driving assessment provided that they hold a current overseas licence from a recognised country. They may apply for an unrestricted licence provided they hold an unrestricted overseas licence. If they hold the overseas equivalent of a WA provisional licence, only a WA provisional licence can be issued.

Representatives eligible for the exemptions must:

  • Pay the prescribed fee.
  • Produce their current overseas licences. If the licence is not in English, a letter (in English) from the mission can be provided to confirm licence details and status.
  • Produce their current photo identity cards (dark pink for overseas missions and green for international organisations) issued by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Provide a letter (original copy only) prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, indicating that the applicant is a representative of a declared mission under the International Organisations Act.
  • Satisfy proof of identity requirements.
  • Satisfy other normal licence requirements.

Members of Consulates and Embassies (Consular Posts) must attend the West Perth Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) Centre for any assistance with driver and vehicle licensing matters.

Related links

For more information on driving legally in Australia if you are a member of a diplomatic mission or career consul, please go to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website.

Opens in a new window Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 (Commonwealth)
Opens in a new window Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Opens in a new window Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT): Western Australia State Office
Page last updated: Mon Jul 10 2023 9:32:29 AM