Immigrating to Northwest Territories: How to Get Your Northwest Territories Driver's Licence

Published on Jul 09, 2012

Getting a licence to drive in the Northwest Territories is a straightforward and relatively simple process, as long as you have all of the required documentation to prove your eligibility for a licence. This means you need to prove your identity, your age, your legal status in Canada, and finally your status as a resident of the Northwest Territories. Some of these documents you will need to obtain before you land in Canada, and others you will obtain after you arrive.

Steps to Getting a Northwest Territories Drivers Licence

If you hold a current, full licence in your home country, you can get your Northwest Territories licence easily and without going through the licencing steps. You will need to go to a licensing office and present the following documents to identify yourself and your right to hold a licence to drive I the Northwest Territories:

  • Identification that meets the territory’s requirements to prove your name and date of birth
  • Proof that you are in Canada legally and eligible to apply for a licence (see the list of acceptable documents here)
  • Proof that you are a resident of the Northwest Territories such as rental agreement, utility bill or similar documents

Additionally, you will need to prove that you hold a current licence and how long you have held it in your home country. You can do this by presenting:

  • Your current licence
  • A translation of that licence into English or French, or an International Drivers Licence
  • Certification or a letter of experience from your home country’s licence issuing office

You will be required to fill out the application forms as required to apply for a licence, pay the appropriate fees for the licence, and pass a vision screening test before you can qualify for a licence. You will be given a temporary licence one everything is approved, and then a full licence will be mailed to you in a few weeks.

Driver Testing and Graduated Licencing

As a newcomer to the Northwest Territories, you may be asked to prove your driving skills by taking a road test. You may also be required to sit a written driving theory test to prove your understanding of the rules of the road in Canada.

All new drivers in the Northwest Territories, including those who are immigrants unable to prove prior driving experience, will go through the graduated licencing program. This program has three stages:

  • Class 7: Learner’s Permit. Requires that you pass a written test, and must remain at this stage for 12 months
  • Class 5P: Probationary Licence. Requires that you pass a road test, and lasts for another 12 months
  • Class 5: Full Licence. You will graduate to a full licence after 12 months without any strikes against your driving record such as a ticket.

Most immigrants presenting proof of prior driving experience will be able to bypass this system, although testing may be required. It is recommended that all immigrants should read the driver handbook and learn as much as they can about the laws that relate to drivers in the Northwest Territories in order to ensure safe driving and avoid tickets.

Details on the stages of the Graduated Licensing System in the Northwest Territories can be found here.

Questions regarding the driver licensing system and process can be directed to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office at 1-800-803-8773.

Car Insurance in the Northwest Territories

As a driver in the Northwest Territories, you are a required by law to have an insurance policy that meets the provincial minimums. In the Northwest Territories, car insurance is administered by private insurers, competing for your business. This means that you can save money by comparing car insurance quotes from multiple companies.

Car insurance companies may sometimes treat an immigrant driver as a new driver, which can mean higher rates. There are ways to help alleviate this problem. Before you leave your home country, request a letter of experience from your insurance company, and obtain a copy of your driving record from the licensing authority. These documents can help to prove that you have a safe, clean driving record and have not made any claims, which can help you to get lower car insurance rates in Canada.


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