You must be 16 years old

This page tells you what to do to get a learner licence.

16 is the minimum age

  • You must be at least 16 years old before you can apply for your learner licence.

Learn the road rules

To keep everyone safe on the road, you need to learn the road rules before you can get your learner licence. You’ll need to pass a test to prove that you understand the rules for driving safely in New Zealand.

You can prepare for this by reading the New Zealand road code, or by working your way through Drive’s online road code.

Drive’s online road code(external link)

You can sit practice learner tests using the officially approved questions on the Drive website.

How to apply

When you feel you're ready, go to a driver licensing agent to make your application. 

List of driver licensing agents

You'll need to:

The application fee includes the cost of sitting your first theory test, and a second test if you need it. The more prepared you are for the test, the more likely you are to pass and not need to re-sit it. 

If you need 3 tests or more, you'll need to pay a test fee of $54.60 for each test. 

If you need to change or cancel your test, there may be a fee. If you change or cancel it at least 2 whole working days in advance, the fee will be lower. 

Fees to change or rebook a test

Changes to test fees for car licences from 8 July 2024

Make sure you've learned the road rules before you go, because the agent will book you in for your theory test. You might even be able to sit it straight away.

If you applied before 8 July 2024

If you applied before 8 July 2024, there's no fee to change, cancel or rebook your test until 7 October 2024. If you haven't passed the test by 7 October, you'll need to start paying the new test fees the next time you book a test from 8 October 2024. 

What is a theory test?

The learner licence theory test is a computer-based, 35-question, multi-choice test that assesses your knowledge of road rules and safe driving practices. You will need to get at least 32 questions right to pass.

When you sit your theory test

Make sure you've learned the road rules

Make sure you’ve prepared for your test by learning the road rules. If you fail your test, you’ll have to sit it again. If you fail twice on the same day, you’ll need to wait 10 working days before you can sit the test again.

It's a good idea to be early for your test

On the day of the test, plan to arrive at the testing agent early. If you’re late, you might not be able to sit the test that day. Try to avoid the stress by getting there at least 10 minutes before your test is due to start.

When you arrive, let the agent know you’re there for your test. They’ll guide you through the next steps.

Remember to take proof of your identity

Make sure you have your proof of identity with you to give to the person conducting the theory test.

Find out more about acceptable proof of identity

Find out more about the theory test

What happens next

If you pass the test

  • You'll be given a temporary learner licence.
  • We'll send your driver licence card to you in the mail.
  • Start thinking about who you'd like to coach you.
  • Make sure you understand the important conditions of driving on a learner licence and stick to them.
  • Learn to drive. You'll need lots of practice to become a good, safe driver. Use a lesson plan from our Drive website(external link) to map out your next driving lesson.

Lesson plans(external link)

Learner licence conditions

If you don't pass the test

You can book another theory test. There’s no fee to rebook or change the test.

If you fail the test twice on the same day, you’ll need to wait 10 working days before you can sit the test again. This is to give you more time to learn the road rules, and to make sure other people also have a chance to take their test.

Calendar showing 2 failed tests, then 10 working days in between, then the day you can sit the test again.

Your learner licence will expire

Your learner licence will expire after 10 years.

Check the expiry date on the back of your photo driver licence to see when it will expire. 

Note: if your learner licence was due to expire between 30 November 2019 and 1 December 2021, your expiry date may have been extended. 

More information about learner licence extensions

If you're ready for your restricted licence

If you’ve held your learner licence for at least six months and you’re a confident, safe driver, you can apply for your restricted licence.

Getting your restricted, if you’re ready, will give you a bit more independence. It shows that you’ve gained some driving experience and you’re becoming a responsible driver to help keep everyone safe on our roads.

How to get a restricted licence

If you want to stay on your learner licence

If you haven’t got your restricted before your learner licence expires, you’ll need to renew your learner licence if you want to keep driving. 

How to renew your licence

Resources to help you pass the test

There are plenty of resources you can use to study the road rules in preparation for your theory test:

  • Our Drive website is packed with useful tools and videos to help you learn safe driving skills.
    Drive website(external link)

  • The New Zealand road code is available online or from most bookstores and driver licensing agents.
    New Zealand road code(external link)

  • You can practise the official theory test online on the Drive website. By completing the chapters in the Drive road code you will be able to access official questions used in the actual test.
    Drive website(external link)

All of these resources are endorsed by Waka Kotahi.

Using the official resources will give you the best chance of passing your test and becoming a great kiwi driver.