Temporary extension period for overseas driver licence holders approved


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises Cabinet has approved the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) (COVID-19-Temporary Extension of Deemed Licences) Amendment Rule 2020. The Amendment Rule comes into effect today and temporarily extends the period that overseas driver licence holders can drive in New Zealand from 12 to up to 24 months.

The temporary extended period is up to a maximum of 24 months after arrival into New Zealand and will expire on 31 March 2022.  At that time the eligibility period will revert to 12 months. 

Due to the closure of international borders as a result of COVID-19, many people on overseas licences are unable to leave New Zealand and are fast approaching the end of their 12-month period of being able to drive on their overseas licence.

“Data shows at least 20,000 overseas workers in New Zealand who are currently driving on overseas licences may be affected within the next six months,” says Kane Patena, General Manager Regulatory Services.

Extending the eligibility period for overseas licence holders allows those who hold a valid overseas licence to continue to drive legally.  This means they can continue to travel to employment and access services while in New Zealand.  This is particularly important for the horticulture and viticulture sectors that employ a significant number of overseas workers, especially over the coming months.

“The Amendment Rule provides overseas licence holders with more time to apply to convert to a New Zealand licence, helping manage the numbers and flow of applicants – both domestic and international – to the driver licensing system,” Mr Patena says.

You can view the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) (COVID-19-Temporary Extension of Deemed Licences) Amendment Rule 2020, together with information on the rule change at https://www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licences/new-residents-and-visitors/extension-overseas-licences/(external link).