Get your car licence
There are 3 stages to getting a car licence. At each stage you earn a new licence with fewer restrictions and more responsibilities.
With a car (class 1) licence you can drive:
- most ‘light’ vehicles, like cars, vans and utes — but not trucks
- all terrain vehicles (ATVs)
- mopeds — but not motorbikes.
You can apply for your learner licence once you turn 16.
To get your learner's, you'll have to pass a theory test to prove you know the road rules.
On your learner licence, you:
- can only drive with a supervisor sitting beside you — they have to have a current full NZ car licence without a supervisor condition that they've held for at least 2 years
- have to display learner (L) plates on the front and back windows of your car.
- can carry passengers if your supervisor agrees.
You can apply for your restricted licence if:
- you've held your learner licence for at least 6 months
- you're at least 16½.
The test for your restricted licence is a practical driving test.
On your restricted licence, you:
- can drive on your own — but not between 10pm and 5am
- can drive a manual or automatic car if you sat your test in a manual car — if you sat your test in an automatic car, you can't drive a manual car unless you have a supervisor with you who's held their full licence for more than 2 years
- can't carry passengers unless you have a supervisor with you who's held their full licence for more than 2 years. The only passengers you can carry without a supervisor are:
- your partner
- your parent or guardian
- a child who lives with you and is under the care of you or your partner
- a relative who lives with you and who receives certain benefits
- someone you look after as their primary caregiver.
You can apply for your full licence if you are 17 and a half years old.
If you apply before you turn 18, you must:
- have had your restricted licence for 12 months
- completed an approved advanced driving skill course.
If you are 18 years old, before you apply you must have had a restricted licence for at least 18 months.
The test for your full licence is a practical driving test.
Once you hold a full licence, you can drive either automatic or manual vehicles, regardless of the type of vehicle you sat your test in.