Kiwis driving overseas

Get an international driving permit to go with your driver licence

An international driving permit (IDP) is an internationally recognised translation of your current driver licence. It isn't a licence in its own right, so you must also carry your New Zealand driver licence with you when driving.

Follow the process on the AA website to get an IDP(external link)

There is a limit for using your New Zealand driver licence and IDP

All countries have limits on how long you can use your New Zealand driver licence or IDP before you must get a local driver licence. In most countries, you’ll need to get a local licence if you're staying for over 12 months.

Contact the appropriate country’s driver licensing authority for details.

Renewing your New Zealand driver licence while overseas

You can’t renew or upgrade your driver licence from overseas.

If you're still overseas 

In some cases, you may be able to extend the expiry date of your New Zealand photo driver licence if it expires while you’re overseas. Your licence expiry date can be extended only once, for a period of no more than 12 months from the expiry date.

If you want to have your driver licence expiry date extended, you’ll need to make an Application to replacement driver licence and/or extension of licence validity (DL2A).

Application for replacement driver licence while overseas (DL2A)

Before you make your application, you’ll need to call us to pay the fee of $27.60 over the phone with a Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card. You can call us on +64 6 953 6270 to make payment: we’re open Monday to Friday 8am to 5:30pm (New Zealand time).

How to get a replacement driver licence from overseas

If you have a RealMe verified identity you can apply for a replacement licence online and have the licence card sent to your overseas address.

Apply for a replacement driver licence card online using RealMe(external link)

If you don’t have a RealMe verified identity, you can still apply online, but it'll take longer for us to process your application.

You'll need to provide certified copies of your evidence of identity. You'll also need to call us prior to making your application to pay the fee by credit card. 

The fee for replacing your driver licence is NZ$26.30

Apply for a replacement driver licence if you don't have a verified RealMe identity

Converting to an overseas driver licence

Once you've stayed in a country longer than the time limit, or you're moving to a country permanently, you may be able to convert your New Zealand driver licence to an overseas driver licence.

Contact the appropriate country’s driver licensing authority for details. If you haven’t left New Zealand yet, you could try contacting the country’s embassy for more information.

Find the embassy of the country you will be travelling to(external link)

You may need a certificate of particulars when converting to an overseas driver licence. This certificate isn't a driver licence but will confirm:

  • the classes of licence you hold
  • the date your licence was issued
  • whether your licence is current.

How to apply for a certificate of particulars

You can apply for a certificate over the phone on 0800 822 422, or +64 6 953 6270 if you're calling from overseas. 

You'll need to provide:

  • the driver licence number (if you know it)
  • licence holder's full name (as shown on the licence)
  • licence holder's date of birth
  • email address to send the certificate to
  • mobile phone number to send the security PIN number to

We'll email the certificate of particulars straight away.

Download Factsheet 65: Overseas travel by New Zealand driver licence holders [PDF, 225 KB]

Once you’re back in New Zealand

If your New Zealand driver licence is expired (either booklet, paper or photo licence) you can’t use it to drive in New Zealand.

However, if you also hold a current and valid overseas driver licence you can drive on your overseas driver licence for up to 12 months from your last date of entry.

If your licence expired more than 5 years ago, you may have to pass theory and practical tests to requalify your licence. However, if you can produce evidence you’ve been licensed to drive during the past 5 years (for example with an overseas driver licence) you may not need to sit the tests.

Licence expired more than 5 years ago