Immigrating to Newfoundland: How to Get Your Newfoundland Driver's Licence

Published on Jul 09, 2012

Immigrants arriving to take up residence in Newfoundland as well as Labrador will have a total of 3 months to apply for a Newfoundland drivers licence. Immigrants from a few countries are eligible to exchange their licence directly for a Newfoundland licence of the same class, while those from other countries will have to take driving tests in order to get their new licence here. Aside from the testing, the process for licence application is quite similar.

Countries With Licence Exchange Privileges

The countries that have licence exchange agreement with Newfoundland are as follows:

  • United States
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom (Northern Ireland excluded)
  • Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  • France

If you come from one of these countries, you are eligible to exchange your licence without having to take either the written test or the road test. You will still have to present all required documentation and fill out a licence application, as well as pay all the fees associated with your licence application. Immigrants from all other nations will have to take the appropriate tests and may be subject to graduated licensing rules.

How to Get a Newfoundland Driver Licence

In order to obtain your licence in Newfoundland, you must present the appropriate documents. These are to prove your identity, your legal status in Canada, your residency in Newfoundland, and your past driving experience.

The identity documents you can provide to prove who are include a passport, and permanent resident card. See the full list of acceptable documents here. Remember that anything not in English or French, Canada’s official languages, must be accompanied by a translation.

In order to prove your previous driving experience, you will need to present the following documentation:

  • Your current licence
  • A translation of your licence or an International Drivers Licence
  • Other documentation such as a certification or letter of experience from your licensing jurisdiction

Your permanent resident card or other proof of legal status in Canada will also be required, along with proof of residency in Newfoundland or Labrador, showing your new address in the province.

With all of the documentation ready to go, you can proceed to the application process. If you are part of the exchange program, there will be no testing. If not, you will first have to pass a written test, and the road test. In addition to this drivers licence testing, you will also have to pass a vision screening test. There are fees for testing as well as to apply for your licence, which must all be paid in full to complete the process.

Graduated Licensing in Newfoundland and Labrador

If you cannot prove enough driving experience, or if you do not have enough experience, you will have to go through the graduated licence system to obtain a full licence. This has three steps:

  • Novice, Level 1: Learners permit, requires at least 12 months at this level before you can take the road test
  • Novice, Level 2: This is a licensed driver having passed the road test but still under restrictions. Another 12 months are required here
  • Full Class 5 Licence: Upon successful completion of the full 24 months at level 1 and level 2 of novice driving.

A full explanation of the levels and of the restrictions and rules for each can be located here. Those who have a full licence in their home country will still take the tests but are not required to go through the levels.

The use of the Newfoundland driver handbook, available online here, is recommended to pass the tests, whether or not you go through the levels.

If you have questions about the system or the application process, you can call 1-877-636-6867.

Newfoundland and Labrador Car Insurance

In order to drive legally on the roads of Newfoundland and Labrador, you must carry a legal minimum insurance policy. Newfoundland offers private insurance, so you can compare car insurance quotes to select the policy that is best for you.

Rates are higher for new drivers, so it’s best to provide proof of prior experience and a clean driving record if you can. Obtain a letter of experience from your previous insurance company or a clean driving abstract to show your status as a good driver, and you may qualify for better rates on your insurance.


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