We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

Ballarat, Australia
Level Contributor
1,318 posts
Save Topic
Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

Hi all, just thought I'd share a little gem for ex-pats. I just found out I was technically unlicensed on our recent trip around NZ. I have a current Victorian licence, which I thought was valid in NZ for up to 12 months. Apparently this is true if you've never held a NZ licence, but if you have ever had a NZ licence the NZ licence takes precedence, and mine was expired, so technically I was driving on an expired licence. Eek! Now I'm sure if you were pulled up on it you'd get a warning or at worst a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket, but if we'd had an accident our insurance might have been voided. Not good!

I'm planning on taking a quick trip to Auckland later this year to renew it before it's been expired for five years - after five years expired you have to resit the driving test. I have friends to catch up with there anyway, but eek!

Mentioned in this post
Auckland
Auckland
North Island, New Zealand
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

Oh well - I was then driving on my expired NZ licence for over 20 years when home for visits - while I thought I was driving on my perfectly valid NY licence.

And yes, I had to sit the full NZ licence when I came home - I was worried that I would have to use the L plate!! But thankfully not.

Ballarat, Australia
Level Contributor
1,318 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

I was shocked, I'm normally a very law-abiding person. :(

Western Victoria
Level Contributor
421 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

I would be very surprised at this.

NZ Law allows you to drive on a valid Australian license, your now defunct NZ license doesnt even rate a mention in any conversation.

Ballarat, Australia
Level Contributor
1,318 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

This information is from my SIL who works in a licensing centre. I believe her.

Queenstown, New...
Level Contributor
4,028 posts
58 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

And, technically, my sister had to give up her nz licence when she got english licence!

Western Victoria
Level Contributor
421 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

there would be conflict if you had both NZ & OZ licenses at the same time, the NZ license would hold priority.

you cannot believe that if you left NZ 50 years ago and drove around NZ on my OZ license I would be in trouble.

Wellington, NZ
Destination Expert
for Wellington
Level Contributor
2,345 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

Jean, sorry but your SIL is wrong. You are allowed to drive on an overseas licence for up to 12 months.

From the NZTA website: …govt.nz/resources/factsheets/65/overseas-tr…

What if my photo licence expires when I'm overseas?

Driver licences can only be renewed in New Zealand. If your licence expires while you're overseas, you may find it difficult – if not impossible – to drive legally in another country. For example, you may not be able to convert to an overseas driver licence or rent a car.

If you only have an expired New Zealand driver licence (booklet, paper or photographic) you cannot use it to drive in New Zealand. However, if you also hold a current and valid overseas driver licence you may be able to drive on your overseas driver licence for up to 12 months from your last date of entry.

If your New Zealand licence has been expired for more than five years, you will have to sit tests to renew it before you can use it to drive in New Zealand. However, you will not need to sit any tests if you can provide evidence of being legally entitled to drive either in NZ or overseas within the last five years (eg an overseas driver licence).

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

Thanks Weta - I thought Jean's info didn't seem quite right.

Oz
Level Contributor
14,135 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

HI,

That's a WAFTAM here in Oz where I'm sure most found their Drivers Licence in a box of Wheaties.

My older son (a police officer here in Oz) tells me that nearly 1/3 of traffic stops, other than random breath tests, reveal the driver is either unlicenced (suspended or expired), never held a licence, or the vehicle is unregistered.

Cheers,

Ballarat, Australia
Level Contributor
1,318 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Ex-pats! Got an expired NZ driver licence?

Well my SIL was describing the nightmare rush they had of ex-pats coming in to renew their licences in a hurry when they hit the ground in NZ so they could get around. You don't have to believe it, but I'll be getting my licence renewed!