How to Get a Driver’s License in Canada

In some Canadian cities, public transport might not always be as widely available or convenient as major cities like Toronto or Vancouver. Therefore, driving your car is the most common method to travel in Canada. But, before you can drive on the road in Canada, you need to have a Canadian driver’s license or an international driver’s license recognized by the Canadian government.

Different Levels of B.C. Driver’s License

In BC, there are 3 levels of driver’s license. For people who have no driving experience or not enough driving history, they will start with the Learner’s Licence passing the Knowledge test and vision test.

After 1 year of driving with a qualified driver as a supervisor, you may book a class 7 driving test with ICBC. If you pass the test, you will receive a novice driver’s license.

After at least 2 years of safe driving, you may book for a class 5 driving test. If you pass the test, you will finally get your full driver’s license.

How to Get a Canadian Driver’s License in B.C.

Please note, each province is different in the licensing procedures. This blog is focused on the province of BC. We will publish how to get a driver’s license in other provinces in the future.

I have a driver’s license in my home country or another province in Canada 

According to ICBC (2021), as a new B.C.resident, you have 90 days to switch your valid license to a B.C. driver’s license. If you are an international student in B.C., attending a designated learning institution as a full-time student, you can also switch to a B.C. driver’s license. The 90-day rule does not apply to international students if they hold a student exemption from the institution they are attending.

The 90-day rule also does not apply if visiting BC Canada for up to 6 months.

 Reciprocal Licence Exchange 

The province of B.C. has reciprocal exchange agreements with every province in Canada and the following countries: 

  • Australia
  • Austria 
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea (not motorcycles)
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (not motorcycles)
  • United Kingdom 
  • United States (includes Washington DC and Puerto Rico)

If you have a driver’s license from the above countries or another province in Canada, you will need to book an appointment to visit an ICBC driver licensing office. And bring the following documents with you 

 Non-reciprocal License

In addition to bringing the required documents listed above. You will also need to take a knowledge and road test.
The knowledge test is a multiple choice quiz that tests your knowledge of road signs and the rules of the road. You’ll need to get 40 out of 50 questions right to pass. I highly recommend you to take the practice test online, before booking an appointment with ICBC.
For the road test, you will need to book another appointment. On the test day, please bring another qualified driver with you for your test in case you don’t pass.

If You Are a New Driver

You will start with the Learner’s Licence passing the knowledge test and vision test.

After 1 year of driving with a qualified driver as a supervisor, you may book a class 7 driving test with ICBC. If you pass the test, you will receive a novice driver’s license.

After at least 2 years of safe driving, you may book for a class 5 driving test. If you pass the test, you will finally get your full driver’s license.

Check out Must Visit Islands in British Columbia

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