Australia (WA) Driving Licence
Coming to Australia on a Work and Holiday Visa 3.5 years ago, a Road Trip adventure around Australia was one of my ultimate goals. I couldn’t drive back then, and my cool travel buddy told me that she was only keen to do it if I would share the driving duties with her… Hmmm…. So half a year before my departure date I took a driving course and got my Indonesian licence sorted. A few days before my departure date I got an International Driving license.
It was ok… until my work and holiday visa turn into Permanent Residency… dudududu… here are some facts that I learnt:
- It is ok to drive in Australia with an Indonesian driving licence if you stay in the country less than 12 months. However the Indonesian driving licence need to be accompanied either with a certified translation by the Indonesian consulate / embassy OR an International Driving licence that is based on that particular class of driving licence.
- If you stay in Australia with a Temporary Resident permit, the same conditions apply like what I have mention in number 1 (above), but it will cover your whole stay.
- If you have become a Permanent Resident, you need to convert your Indonesian Driving licence to an Australian one. In my case, because I live in Perth, I had to apply for a Western Australia driving licence. Legally you have to do this within 3 months of getting your residency! Oooo… I just realized this 5 months later…!?!? *panic panic panic*
I went to the Department of Transport in West Perth. The kind officer told me it is ok, I will not get fined; however I needed to do it as soon as possible! Soo, the next question was what are the necessary steps to convert your country’s licence to a Western Australian driving licence?
On this point.. I will say it sucks to be a third world country citizen! >.< Different from my partner who is Irish, my process was rather long and ‘deg-deg’ an. When he converted his licence few years ago, he just simply brought his Irish driving licence to DoT office, filled in the paperwork, picture taken…. And wallaaa… he got his WA driving licence straight away! This was because Ireland is one of the countries that is acknowledged by the Australian government as having equal road safety standards.
Since Indonesia is not on that list, these are the step that I took:
- Went to DoT office. Filled in the form and brought the necessary documents for identity verification. There are options of which documents you should provide. I will share what I submitted later in this article. At this point you need to pay a fee for taking the theory test ($18.80).
- On the same day I submitted the form I sat down for Theory Test and Eye Sight Test. I passed the tests; thus DoT took my picture and released a Learner Permit under my name. Since then I was registered as an ‘Active Learner’. It meant that until I passed my driving test and get a full licence, I could only drive when supervised by another experienced driver and with L-plate stickers put on the vehicle. The Lerner Permit Card was mailed to my home a week after that.
- Because I wanted to do the practical test as soon as possible, I directly paid for my practical test ($77.20).
- The day after I booked an appointment for a Practical Driving Assessment (PDA) test online. You can chose to do your PDA at any test centre, so I chose West Perth because it was closer to where I lived at the time.
- I did my PDA a week after my booking. The examiner will let you know directly after the test whether you passed or failed.
- I passed my test so he gave me a form that I needed to process at the counter. I paid $133.50 for a licence valid for 5 years. The counter officer processed my form and took a picture. DoT then mailed the Driving Licence within a week. Because I had my Indonesian license for more than 2 years, then they give me a full driving licence. If you have had your home country license for less than 2 years, they will give you a Provisional licence instead.
How much does it cost?
There were 3 stages of payment:
- Theory Test and Active learner $18.80 /test attempt – if you fail you need to pay for another test
- Practical Driving Assessment (PDA) $77.20/test attempt – if you fail you need to pay for another test
- New License $133.50 valid for 5 years or $42.50 for 1 year
In total I spent $224.50 when I got my licence last year. For details and updated prices you can check on the DoT website.
What documents do you need to provide?
Well, there are some options for the documents that you can provide for DoT, but here is what I submitted:
- Original home country driving license. In my case this was my Indonesian driving licence
- The certified translation of home country driving licence from your country’s consulate. You need to go there with your current driving licence and Passport. The fee is $25. The consulate will email the certified copy to DoT email address and give you the print out on the next day.
- Original Passport
- Copy of Visa Grant
- WA’s Proof of Age care
- Australian Bank Card (can be debit or credit card)
- Letter from my employer confirming my employment and home address
It costs a lot of money to transfer a licence, so you better prepare yourself! DoT provides a guidance book for free.
- For your theory test I suggest you read ‘Driving Safe’ booklet and practice the sample questions on DoT website over and over again… I did my test in less than 10 minutes and got 30/30. You can do it too if you practice enough 🙂
- For your PDA read the PDA booklet. It will help you understand what the examiner will expect from you during the test, sample tasks that they will ask you to do, and also how they score you. I did my test at the West Perth test centre, and passed at the first attempt!
- Some people say to avoid certain test centre due to low passing grade, however a wise man told me… first, if you fail your test, no matter which centre you go to, it means you are not ready to be on the road for everyone’s sake… and secondly, don’t rely too much on other people’s testimony, they fail because of their performance… you will have your own performance.. Before I was afraid to take my test at the West Perth centre because of what people said, but I proved them wrong. The officer and Examiner at the West Perth centre were friendly and professional. I highly recommend them 🙂
Australia is beautiful and big country to explore, drive around is long journey yet worth it! Have car and the right licence means freedom to travel!
There might be some update that worth to double check. Here is the link to Department of Transport about transferring international licence.
I wrote this article to give you an idea of what to do if you want to convert your licence. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions. And… feel free to share this info with others who need it, but please don’t copy and paste :p