Driving is essential to surviving daily life in Australia. How else would you get to work, run errands, and pick up your kids (if you’ve got them)? Thus, obtaining an Australian driver’s license should be one of your foremost priorities once you arrive Down Under.
Here’s the thing, though. Unlike in the Philippines, where you can pay off someone to get you a driver’s license without ever having to sit for an exam, the process of getting one in Australia is a lot more involved.
Now, do bear in mind that the finer points of the process, fees, and the lead times may vary from state to state. However, the general steps are more or less the same:
- Get your learner license or L-plate.
- Obtain your P1 provisional license.
- Upgrade to a P2 license.
- Apply for a full license.
First, you need to pass an eyesight test, followed by a Driver’s Knowledge Test (DKT). If you live in New South Wales, you can actually opt to take the DKT in Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Greek, Korean, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish, or Vietnamese. You can also request an interpreter beforehand if your native language is not on the aforementioned list.
The authorities will then issue you an L-plate or learner license after you pass the DKT. This will allow you to start taking lessons on the road. From here, you will need to log 120 hours of supervised driving practice to get to the next step.
Pro-tip: Enrolling in a driving school can help you accumulate 120 hours faster. One hour of supervised driving lessons is equal to three logbook hours. Just make sure your instructor signs your Learner Drive Log Book.
The soonest you can apply for this license is ten months after you get your L-plate. Assuming you already logged the previously-mentioned 120 hours, you will need to take the Hazard Perception Test (HPT). As its name suggests, this exam tests your ability to recognize potentially dangerous situations.
Once you pass the HPT, you can take a driving test. If you pass, you get your P1 license, which you need to maintain for at least twelve (12) months.
About a year after you get your P1 license, you can upgrade to a P2 one. You simply need to pay the license and test fees required, and then hold your P2 license for a minimum of twenty-four (24) months.
Two years after you get your P2 license, you can then apply for an Australian driver’s license in full. Depending on which state you’re in, you’ll need to take an eyesight test and pay any accompanying license and test fees.
Now, if your birth country is recognized by Australian authorities as eligible, you can convert your existing license to an AU one. You do have to do this within three (3) months after your arrival.
Unfortunately, the Philippines is not one of these countries, so our Filipino migrants will have to undergo the process in full.
All in all, it takes about four years to get a full driver’s license in Australia. *gulp* Still, it’s proven to be quite effective in cultivating a safe and cautious driving population so far.
Good luck! And do watch out for bizarre AU road rules while you’re at it.