Get a Driver’s Licence: Australia and Around the World

J. Richards

August 25, 2021

The driver’s licence process is not easy (or cheap), unless you’re the Queen who doesn’t need a driver’s licence to get behind the wheel.

OnlineLoans takes a look at the process of getting a driver’s licence in Australia and around the world.

Some processes boggle the mind in comparison to Australia’s driving tests.

Get the gist in 30 seconds
  • Different states and territories in Australia have slightly different processes, although they share many similarities.
  • Driving tests and processes weren’t always as strict and rigorous as they are now.
  • Expect to pay top dollar to drive in Norway
  • Don’t expect to pay top dollar in India
  • Some states in the USA allow drivers to start the licence process at just 14
  • You likely won’t need to do a test at all in Honduras
  • Get a car to go with your licence
Firstly, what’s the process in Australia?

Over the decades, tests and processes have become much stricter.

As many new drivers in Australia discover, getting behind the wheel unrestricted and unsupervised is a long and expensive journey. But it’s worth it.

Here are the driver’s licence processes and requirements per state / territory.

ACT

Min Start Age: 15 years and 9 months

Learner’s: Complete ‘Road Ready’ safety program, pass a computerised road rules test, complete and pass minimum eyesight requirements.

P1: Provisional licences are issued for a period of 3 years. Must be at least 17 years old, and have held a Learner Licence for at least 6 months. Complete a competency-based scheme with a driving instructor and complete a logbook containing 22 driving proficiencies. P1 may also be obtained by recording driving experience with a supervisor who has held a full licence for 12 months.

P2: Displayed for the remaining 2 years. If 25 or older when issued with a provisional licence, drivers will be a P2 for the entire 3-year provisional licence period.

Full Driver’s Licence: Drivers can apply for a Full Licence after holding a Provisional Licence for three years.


NSW

Min Start Age: 16 years

Learner’s: Pass a computer-based test and eyesight test. Learner drivers 25 years old and over are not required to complete a learner driver log book

P1: Min 12 months of holding a learner licence, 120 hours (20 hours night driving) of on-road driving experience, pass a computerised hazard perception test. Must hold the licence for one year before progressing to the next stage.

P2: Gained after one year on P1. P2 drivers must hold the licence for two years.

Full Driver’s Licence: Gained after two years without suspension on the P2 License.


VIC

Min Start Age: 16 years

Learner’s: Pass a computer-based test and eyesight test.

P1: Must be over 18 and pass a computerised test, a practical driving test and an eyesight test. Pass a driving test and 120 hours of supervised driving (including 20 hours at night).

P2: P2 licences last for 3 years, making the minimum age for a full licence 22 years. P2 is provided after 12 months while holding the P1 Licence.

Full Driver’s Licence: Obtained after the probationary period.


QLD

Min Start Age: 16 years

Learner’s: Pass a written road rules test, those under 25 must hold the licence for at least one year and record a total of 100 hours of driving experience (with 10hrs night driving).

P1: For applicants 25 years old or younger. Must be at least 17 years old, held a Learner Licence for min twelve months and 100 hours driving experience in the learner logbook. Pass a practical driving test

P2: Drivers over 25 years of age who pass the practical driving test can skip the P1 licence and progress to the P2 licence stage.

Full Driver’s Licence: Must be at least 20 years old, be medically fit to drive the class of vehicle, hold a provisional licence for the required period.


SA

Min Start Age: 16 years

Learner’s: Pass a theory test, often computerised.

P1: Hold a learner’s permit for at least 12 months, be at least 17 years of age, log at least 75 hours of driving experience (including a minimum of 15 hours of night-time driving), pass a vehicle on-road driving test or complete several points with a driving instructor in a competency-based training course.

P2: P2 plates are not displayed on a vehicle. Gained after 12 months on P1.

Full Driver’s Licence: Must be at least 20 years old, gained after provisional licence (P1 and P2) for three years (one year on P1 and 2 years on P2). 


WA

Min Start Age: 16 years

Learner’s: Pass a theory test, often computerised and an eyesight test. 

P1: Pass a computerised hazard perception test, be age 17 or older, pass a practical driving assessment. Complete 50 hours of driving experience in the log book.

P2: Held for the last 18 months of the 2-year provisional period.

Full Driver’s Licence: P2 converts into a full driver’s licence after the 2-year period. 


NT

Min Start Age: 16 years

Learner’s: Pass a theory test and an eyesight test. Held for at least 6 months.

P1: Held for at least two years for drivers under 25, one year for those over 25. Pass a practical driving assessment. 

P2: None

Full Driver’s Licence: P1 (provisional licence) converts into a full driver’s licence after the required period. 


TAS

Min Start Age: 15 years and 11 months

Learner’s: Pass a ‘Plates Plus’ course and then a driver knowledge test.

P1: Log 80 hours driving (including 15 at night), hold learner licence for a minimum of 12 months. Pass a driving test.

P2: Gained after 12 months on P1. 

Full Driver’s Licence: Drivers under 23 must hold a P driver’s licence for 2 years. Drivers 23 or older but under 25 hold a P licence for 12 months or until age 25 (whichever of these is longer). Drivers over 25 need to hold a P licence for 12 months.


Note that the above information is a guide only and is subject to change. For detailed information, check with your state or territory government.

Costs can also vary per location as drivers need to pay for instructors and other fees.

Although it may seem long and tedious (and expensive), the benefit is road safety

Australia has some of the safest roads in the world (but definitely not the safest), and can, in part, thank the rigorous licence tests.

But it wasn’t always like this

Learner and provisional licences were introduced in Australia in the mid 1960s. New South Wales was the first state to issue these licences.

Back then, police officers took new drivers for practical tests and issued licences.

New drivers were required to complete various maneuvers with a police officer in the passenger seat. The pass or fail result was up to the officer.

Over the decades, tests and processes have become much stricter.

How about the rest of the world?

“Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t need any form of licence to drive a car on public roads in the UK nor does she need to display number plates on her vehicles.”

In many countries, the minimum age to get behind the wheel is 18, unlike in Australia where it’s typically 16. That’s not the case for some states in the USA though.

Norway

drivers linence in norway

A little searching online reveals that Norway is one of the most (if not, the most) expensive places in the world to get a driver’s licence. Expect to pay around A$4,500 to $5,000.

Thailand

drivers linence in bangkok

It costs around A$25 to get a driver’s licence in Thailand and, depending on queues and waiting times, takes less than a day. No learner or provisional licences either. You can also use it in the 10 ASEAN countries.

USA

drivers linence in nyc streets

Minimum ages for a learner’s permit vary by state with most around 16 but in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, North and South Dakota, you can get one at age 14.

In South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana, drivers can be issued a full licence at 16.

Mexico

mexico

Until 2014, anyone over the age of 18 years with US$50 in pesos and proof of residence could be issued a full driver’s licence. 

Now, however, you’ll need to pass a written and practical test.

South Korea

seoul

If you’re like most people and not very confident in tests, South Korea might be a good option. If you fail the written driving test, you’ll be able to reattempt it the next day.

Fail the practical test and you’ll only need to wait three days before trying again.

UK

london

Getting a driver’s licence in the UK isn’t too dissimilar to Australia, you’ll need to get a provisional licence and pass theory and practical tests. The minimum starting age is 15 years and 9 months. Drivers must also be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away.

Unless you’re the queen. 

Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t need any form of licence to drive a car on public roads in the UK nor does she need to display number plates on her vehicles.

She doesn’t even need a passport to travel.

India

drivers licence in india

Fees for driver’s licences are well priced in India. At the time of writing, they average around the following (in Australian dollars);

  • Learner’s licence form fees: $1.30
  • Permanent licence test fee: $1.86
  • Forms and licence grant fee: $4.46

And the practical test takes around 5 minutes to complete.

Egypt

egypt

If you like easy tests, Egypt may have been for you. Until a few years ago, new motorists only had to drive six metres forward and reverse six metres back as a practical “test”.

The test has since been revised. Now candidates must answer 8 / 10 questions correctly in a computer test and have their parking skills assessed.

Honduras

honduras

No tests required a driver’s licence here. Although this depends on where in the Central American country you are, drivers’ licences can be obtained with only two requirements – you pay and are over 18.

No tests needed, theory or practical.

Get your driver’s licence and a car to drive

Getting a driver’s licence is something to be proud of in Australia. Although the process can be long and expensive, the ability to safely drive on our roads means exploring new places and travelling to and from work and/or study.

If you need a car to compliment your licence, start with an OnlineLoans quick quote. The process is simple, plus, you can start, stop and continue as you see fit.

Getting a car loan isn’t like it used to be, it’s easier and done all from your device.

Other common car loan questions that might help

Can I Get a New Car Loan if I Already Have One?

Can I Get a Car Loan If I Already Have a Personal Loan?

Am I eligible for a car loan?

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