Applying for a driving instructor (I) endorsement

Current application processing times

To help minimise delays, please ensure you submit your application as early as possible.

Standard applications are more likely to be processed without delay, and meet the following criteria:

  • Application completed correctly
  • All required documents are attached
  • No fit and proper check issues
  • No prior Waka Kotahi concerns related to driving.

Check the table to see how long it will take us to process your application.

Who needs a driving instructor endorsement?

Teaching people to drive for your business, or any kind of payment, requires you to have a driving instructor (I) endorsement on your licence.

Any space the public can access, even if they aren’t supposed to, can be considered a road. This includes parking, fields and beaches if the public could drive there.

If you’re not sure whether you need an I endorsement, please call us on 0800 822 422.

What do I need?

How do I apply?

  1. Complete an Application for new V, I or O endorsement application form (DL20B) [PDF, 472 KB].
  2. Take the completed form and the above documents to a driver licensing agent.
  3. Pay the application fee.
  4. The agent will take your photo and signature. 

How much does it cost?

You can choose to get your endorsement for 1 year or 5 years. The application fee is the same no matter which term you choose.  

 Term Application fee Vetting fee Total Practical test1
1 year $188.90 $9.70 $198.60 $59.90
5 years $48.50 $237.40

1 The full licence test isn’t required if you’ve passed a class 1 full licence test in the last 5 years. This is a one-off fee you pay when you book the test for the first time, there are no fees for changing, cancelling or rebooking a test.

What happens next?

Your application will be sent to Waka Kotahi for processing and for the fit and proper person check to be done.

If you’ve given us all the information we need and you meet all the endorsement requirements, your application will be processed within 15 working days.

If you haven’t given us everything we need, or you haven’t met some requirements, your application will take longer to process.

Use our online tracking tool(external link) to view your application status:

Status What does this mean?
Received We’ve got your application, but we haven’t started working on it yet. We’ll send you an email to let you know it’s been received.
Gathering information

We’re waiting for something.

For example, we could be waiting for vetting information from the police or reviewing your medical certificate.

We’ll contact you if we need more information from you.

Processing We’ve got all the information we need, and we’re now assessing your application.

We’ve finished processing your application.

  • If your endorsement is approved, we’ll send you a new photo driver licence within 7-10 days.

  • If your endorsement is declined, we’ll send you a letter explaining why, and what you can do.

Requirements for an I endorsement

You must have held a full licence for two years

You must have held a current New Zealand full licence for at least two years.

An equivalent overseas licence doesn’t meet this requirement. If you’ve held an overseas licence, you may be able apply for an exemption to get your overseas driving experience recognised. You'll still need to sit a practical driving test (see below).

Class requirements for an I endorsement

You’ll also need to get an I endorsement for each class of driver licence you want to teach. For example, you’ll need an I(1) endorsement to teach people how to drive light motor vehicles (class 1), and you’ll need an I(6) endorsement to teach people how to ride motorcycles (class 6).

You must have held a full New Zealand driver licence for each class you want to teach for at least two years.

Practical driving test

As part of getting your I endorsement, you’ll need to sit a full licence test, unless you’ve already passed one in the last five years.

We’ll check if you’re a fit and proper person

To ensure people are safe while under your supervision, we'll do a fit and proper person check. This looks for things like transport-related offences, criminal convictions and past complaints about you.

Once you have your endorsement, we use real-time data to make sure you continue to meet our fit and proper person criteria.

Medical certificate

Commercial drivers must be in good health. We want to make sure you won’t cause a crash through health-related issues when you’re responsible for the lives of passengers or driving large vehicles on public roads.

Ask your doctor to complete a Waka Kotahi medical certificate for you.

If you need a medical certificate, you must provide it when you apply for your endorsement at the agent. If you don’t, your application will not be accepted.

Eyesight requirements

Good vision is essential to driving a vehicle safely. You’ll need to provide proof your vision meets the standards for safe driving.

You’ll need to complete a course

You'll need to provide a certificate showing that you've successfully completed an approved I endorsement course.

Approved courses cover the specialist knowledge and skills that driving instructors need. You also need to show that you’re a safe and responsible driver.

Everyone who applies for an I endorsement must meet the fit and proper person requirements. You may want to make sure you meet the fit and proper person criteria before doing the required course.

When you apply, you can either:

  • include a certificate showing you’ve successfully completed an approved course, or
  • apply without completing an approved course and either:
    • wait for the result of the fit and proper person check before doing a course, or
    • complete an approved course while you wait for the result of the fit and proper person check.

Find an approved course provider in your area

You can't teach until you have the endorsement on your licence

Having a course certificate doesn’t mean you can work as a driving instructor. You must also successfully apply and get the I endorsement on your driver licence.

What happens once everything is complete?

If you don’t meet the fit and proper person requirements, we’ll tell you in writing and give you a chance to explain before we make the final decision. If we decide to decline your application you can appeal our decision to the District Court.

Endorsement granted

If you meet the fit and proper person requirements, and you’ve already completed the course and passed the practical test, we’ll approve your application and send your new licence to you.

If you’re waiting for the fit and proper result and haven’t completed the tests or course yet, we’ll send you a Notice of determination which is valid for 90 days. You can then complete your course and go back to the agent to book your practical driving test. If the notice expires before you finish the relevant courses or tests, call us on 0800 822 422.

After you’ve got the endorsement on your licence

Instructors are responsible for making sure people become safe and confident drivers. Your students have the right to expect high-quality training and service.

Waka Kotahi may audit you at any time to check you’re delivering a suitable service. You must also keep records of any driving instruction you’ve done for at least 12 months after the training is completed.

Download Factsheet 5: I endorsements – how to become a driving instructor [PDF, 241 KB]

Download Factsheet 66: Driver licensing courses for licence classes and endorsements [PDF, 236 KB]