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NSW Transfer of overseas licence rules

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by JR Bronco, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    As mentioned in my introductory post, I just migrated permanently from France, I live in Sydney metro, and as per RTA licensing regulations, I have been required to get a NSW licence within 3months of securing a permanent visa (I was on a WHV+intl licence for a year prior to that).

    I've had my French full licence for 18 months but I just got boned by those RTA pikers : before Oct 2011, I only needed to have held my licence for a year to be eligible for a full NSW licence; now guess what: the period has just been brought up to 3 years!!! :furious:

    As a result I gotta ditch my ER6n full power and brace myself for a long boring 1.5 year on a LAMS tractor (unless I can derestrict the sucker and make sure I don't get caught)!

    Does anyone know about the rules outside NSW? I've been trying to look them up on the web but I couldn't get a straight answer and I can't be bothered calling them up : for instance, in Victoria, the 3-year period rule applies to overseas driver's licences but what about riders?


  2. Check my response on your other intro post
  3. Hi everyone,

    My first post here, but hopefully far from the last.

    I'm an American citizen but Cambodian resident (3 years), 27 years old, in the process of planning a 12-month Work and Holiday visa for Australia. Once I get to Oz I'm hoping to buy a small bike and use it to propel me around farm jobs, hopefully seeing as much of your vast, gorgeous country as possible in the process. I'm open to buying and registering in any territory and would appreciate advice on the easiest places to do so.

    My situation is that I'm an experienced rider but unlicensed (in Cambodia the cost of a motorcycle license is literally 6x the cost of the fine for being caught without having one and you have to renew it every 12 months, so...). I've looked into new rider licensing in Australia, and - digging only into the requirements of NSW - I'm confused by all of the novice-riding stipulations. Class, road test - fine, small bike - I can deal with that, no passengers - fine (though this being Cambodia, I do have experience carrying as many as three at once...), no alcohol, etc. - but if there is any kind of supervisory requirement (unclear) or boundary/distance limit, those would be dealbreakers for me since I'm coming solo and don't want to be confined to one territory.

    Alternatively, could I side-step all of the red tape by buying myself a Cambodian riding license before I leave? I've read that non-resident foreigners may use foreign licenses (with an official English translation, if required) for up to 3 months, but since I'd be in Oz for 12 months and my "residence" status is somewhat opaque, I'm not sure how this law would apply to me.

    Can anyone offer me any advice? I don't think it makes a difference, but I do have a valid U.S. car driver's license and 11 years of clean, (legal) driving experience.

    Thanks very much.
  4. Hi Seidier

    If you are not a permanent or citizen of Australia, then your foreign car and motorcycle license is valid as long as it doesn't expire.

    The 3 months validity limit only applies to new permanent residents.

    However you will need to get a Cambodian riding license, and even then, I am not 100% certain if a Cambodian license will qualify as a "valid" license.

    There is a list of "recognised" countries which they will accept as a valid license, but again it is different from state to state. The rules I mentioned are specific to NSW, not sure how the others operate and will depend on where you will be residing.

  5. Hi, thanks for your reply.

    Well, the residence status is a bit confusing because I've read that when Visa 462-holders apply for a tax number in order to legally work, their residency status is basically evaluated on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether their intention is to emphasize the work or the holiday aspect of the visa. I'm unabashedly in the former category; I'm going to Oz to work and save money. My understanding is that if you can register as a resident, your income is taxed at around 21% as opposed to 32% for non-residents, which provides the incentive for me to try to get residency.

    I'm not sure what information is available to traffic police, but I think there is potential for a conflict if I'm stopped, especially after month 3, I flash my foreign license and they find out that I have been in Oz for more than 3 months and have residency status. (Nothing I've read has stipulated the residency must be permanent?)

    How easy is it to transfer a foreign motorcycle license to a state-issued one? Is it a matter of payment and paperwork, or are there road tests and learning periods and graduated privileges?
  6. If its a recognized license, its simply pay and get you get issued a local one. However, there is a difference between resident for tax purposes and permanent resident.

    A permanent resident is granted a specific permanent residence visa, and that is a subject on its own. If you are on a 462, you are considered a temporary resident, but a resident for tax purposes.

    Based on this, until you get a "permanent resident visa" you are a temporary resident and can use your foreign license as long as it hasn't expired.

    I arrived from South Africa on a 457 visa over 3 years ago, and my foreign license was accepted here as it falls within the "recognized list". After I got permanent residence I had 3 months to transfer to a NSW license, however I was a resident for tax purposes since I arrived in Oz, but that was purely for earning a salary and paying taxes.

    Hope this helps clear things up.
  7. I know university students here who've been studying for 5 years, and they only drive on their home country licence. In at least one case, that's Malaysia. No road test here, nada. Not saying it's right, mind, but that's the way it is.

    In fact, one US citizen I know claims that they can't lose their licence here, as it 's a licence from the US, not here, and as long as they are on a 457 it's only the US that can take it away (they can be fined but no points to be lost - apparently).

    So... get yourself a licence from a recognised country. At least in Australia, if you did have to go under the Australian rules a decent LAMS bike would be quite sufficient to go round the block.
  8. There are two things:

    1. A Cambodian driving licence is a driving licence. It is valid around the world, so long as you meet the (non) residence requirements of the countries which you use it. By way of example, I have used my Vietnamese driving licence to rent vehicles off Avis in Australia many times (I don't have an Australian licence; I have a British, Vietnamese and Hong Kong licence).

    2. While legal to ride around Australia as a short term visitor on a Cambodian licence, you do actually learn something when you train to pass a driving test in most developed countries (some parts of the US where there is minimal training being the notable exception!). For your own safety, it would be much better to obtain adequate training before riding a bike.