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Indian drivers must obtain a NSW driver’s license after six months

Under the new arrangements, temporary visa holders in NSW on or after July 1, 2023, must obtain a NSW driver’s license.

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Starting from July 1, 2023, temporary visa holders in NSW will need to convert to a NSW driver’s license if they have resided continuously in the state for six months and wish to continue driving. The move comes in response to concerns about increased road safety risks presented by overseas license holders, who can legally drive in NSW until a permanent visa is granted under the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, which can be renewed multiple times.

Sally Webb, Deputy Secretary for Safety, Environment, and Regulation, expressed her concerns about the challenges in regulating these drivers, saying, “This can present an increased road safety risk as there can be challenges with regulating these drivers.”

“Under the new arrangements, temporary visa holders will need to convert to a NSW licence if they have resided continuously in NSW for six months and wish to continue driving,” Ms Webb told Indian Link.

Under the new arrangements, anyone residing in NSW on or after July 1, 2023, must obtain a NSW driver’s licence. The requirements and the countries to which they will be applied reflect the current rules and testing regimes for people moving to Australia with permanent residency visas.

According to Austroads, which determines which countries are ‘recognised or ‘non-recognised’, the recognition is based on assessments of the overseas driver licensing standards compared to those adopted by Australia. Countries can apply to Austroads to have their licenses recognised in Australia. Currently, 44 countries are recognised under list A or B out of more than 190 countries in the world.

There are three categories of overseas licence holders: those with a licence from a ‘recognised’ country on List A or List B and those with a licence from a ‘non-recognised’ country. Overseas licence holders from a recognised country on List A or customers who are 25 years of age or older from a recognised country on List B can convert their current overseas licence to obtain an NSW licence without a knowledge or driving test.

However, an overseas licence holder from a ‘non-recognised’ country is required to undertake a knowledge test and driving test to obtain an NSW driver’s licence. An overseas licence holder is exempt from the learner driver logbook requirement.

The Austroads website lists most European countries, the USA, and Canada as recognised countries, while South Asian countries like India and Pacific countries like China are not recognised.

Additionally, new arrangements will begin from July 1, 2023, for everyone in NSW driving on an overseas driving licence.

Ms Webb says visiting driver privileges will be withdrawn if licence holders accrue 13 demerit points, are convicted of a serious driving offence, are disqualified from driving by a court, or commit certain speeding or drug and alcohol-related driving offences.

Previously, overseas licence holders who accrued 13 demerit points or who committed a serious driving offence could continue to drive on their overseas licence after serving any relevant suspension or disqualification period. Under the new rules, these licence holders will have their visiting driving privileges permanently withdrawn and will be required to apply for an NSW driver’s licence if they wish to drive again in NSW.

“A comprehensive communication campaign will be carried out before the changes commence, outlining how the changes will affect drivers. The information will be available in multiple languages,” said Ms Webb.

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