As a migrant, spouse or international student who is new to Australia, it is important to have the means to commute from home to work or university; especially for those who do not have convenient access to a public transport service. The need to have a driver’s license is therefore quite crucial.
The following list of Q&As tries to answer some of the questions persons who are not yet permanent residents or citizens of Australia may have regarding acquiring a driver’s license in Australia.
Q. Can an International student in Australia drive on their Indian license?
Provided you have a valid Indian Driver’s license; you are permitted to drive in Australia until you obtain your permanent residency. Upon receiving your PR, you have three months to change your Indian driving license into an Australian one.
Q. Are the rules the same for people who come on a permanent residency to Australia?
They too can drive using their Indian license for three months. However, they are required to change their license into an Australian one within the three months. If you are on a spouse visa, the same rules apply.
Q. Do residents have to sit for all driving tests to get an Australian driving license, or Can they get their license changed through a formal procedure at the transport office?
The process is more complicated than merely exchanging an Indian driving license for an Australian one. The Australian license is considered to be of a higher standard, and you have to sit for a driving test which includes theory, practical and a hazard perception test.
Q. What type of questions do you expect in the driving test?
In South Australia the criteria include:
- The ‘Give way’ rules test comprising eight questions in total. You must pass all eight questions; failure to do so results in a re-sit of the exam.
- A multiple choice section that tests you on general traffic rules. It contains 42 questions out of which you must get a minimum of 32 correct to pass the test
- A hazard perception test which includes questions that test how you respond to hazards while driving. It tests a driver’s practical skills.
- A practical test where the student is required to demonstrate on a road test how good his driving skills are. If the examiner is confident of the student’s ability they pass him; if not he fails the practical test.
Q. What aspect of the driving test is usually the most challenging for foreign learners?
Most students cope well with the theory test; however, some face language barrier problems and sometimes need help reading and understanding the questions. Those with a language problem can hire an interpreter which is free in some driving schools.
Q. How many driving classes should a person take before sitting for a test?
Everyone learns at a different pace, so it depends on the student. On average, someone who just wants to brush up on their driving skills requires eight to ten hours of classes.