Getting Your Driver's License


If you are new to Canada, you may find that driving in Canada is quite often different than driving in the country of your origin. Depending on the country that you came from, it may be quite easy to transfer your license of origin into a valid BC driver's license. In addition international driver's licenses will allow you to legally drive in Canada for a short period. But most individuals who come from other countries are required to take an ICBC road test to be legally able to drive in Canada.


Getting a Canadian Driver's License

If you have moved to BC, and are a new driver in Canada, but have been driving for over two years in either Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Austria, or the United States you can simply exchange your current license from your country for a Canadian drivers license without having to take the road test. However, you will be required to take the vision and knowledge test for the province. If you have had a license for less than two years you will have to pass an ICBC road test to exchange your homeland license for a full license in Canada.

If you have never held a driver's license and wish to become a new driver in Canada, the protocol and the requirements for obtaining a new license will vary from province to province.

A new driver in Canada may have to take driver's lessons in order to begin driving in Canada. Some provinces require this while others do not. All provinces will require a new driver in Canada to take both the knowledge and vision test. Knowledge tests will evaluate how much of the traffic and road regulations that you understand. The vision test ensures that you can see good enough to be considered safe while operating a vehicle.

Transferring Your License

If you have moved into Canada from another country and have been driving for a number of years, there are a few things that you should know when driving in Canada as well as how to transfer your license to a new Canadian license.

The first thing you need to know is that if you have a current driver's license from a different country, state, or province you are allowed to drive with that particular license for the maximum of 60 or 90 days depending on the territory or province. If you wish to continue driving past this time, then you will be required to obtain a valid Canadian license in order to do so.

If your license originated from one of the countries that is listed above you will be able to obtain a full license as long as you have at least 2 years of experience. If you have less than 2 years experience you have to obtain a license by taking and passing an ICBC road-test.

If you are a new driver in Canada that does not originate from one of the listed countries, you will be required to present a foreign driver's license that is valid, pass a knowledge and a vision test, pay fees, and provide a proof of identity that is acceptable in order to receive a Canadian license.

Canadian Driver's License Requirements:

Once you become a new driver in Canada and obtain the proper license, either 7 or 5, you will be required to obtain auto insurance if you drive or own a vehicle. Insurance rates will start at 100% for new drivers; discounts have to be earned through years of accident free driving.


  • The first stage is the learner’s L stage (L) license with restrictions to help reduce the risks while learning to drive.
  • After 12 months of prohibition-free driving, you qualify to take your first road test—the Class 7 road test. You can stay in the learner’s (L) stage as long as you need to. Your learner’s (L) license is valid for 2 years, but can be renewed by re-qualifying on the knowledge test in the learner’s (L) stage. Once you pass the road test, you will receive a novice (N) license.
  • To obtain a BC driver’s license, you must be 16 years old. If under 19, bring your parent or legal guardian to sign for your application


  • For the novice (N) stage some of the learner's (L) license stage restrictions are removed.
  • You will be eligible to take the second Class 5 road test to exit the Graduated license program after 24 months of prohibition-free driving in the Novice (N) license stage. Once you pass this test, you will graduate to your full-privilege driver's license.
  • By successfully completing an ICBC approved driving course, you could get a) A six-month reduction in the novice stage of graduated licensing, and b) Two credits towards your high school graduation.
  • The approved course must be taken while you are still in the learner's (L) stage and you must a) Be prohibition free, b) Not get any violation tickets, or c) Have any at-fault crashes
  • In Class 5 road test, you will perform maneuvers that show you are now a safe, experienced driver with excellent vehicle control.
  • Your See-Think-Do skills are assessed and you are expected to use the key driving skills. See-Think-Do is a driving strategy to help you scan for hazards, decide on safest solution and perform maneuvers to road safety.
  • At times during the test, you will be tested for hazard perceptions you see while driving. The class 5 road test and examiner feedback takes about 1 hour