NL Driver’s License

If you live in NL and want to drive a motor vehicle, you must have a valid NL driver’s licence. Always carry your driver’s licence with you when you drive.

The number of years your NL Driver’s Licence will be valid depends on whether you are a novice or experienced driver. The licence is usually set to expire on your birthday and it can be renewed up to five months before the expiration date.

How to get a NL Driver’s Licence

Driver’s Vehicle License

Driver Examination Offices are located in various regions of the province. If you live in a remote area, visits by Driving Examiners are scheduled on a regular basis. Information on these times can be obtained from the Regional Office in the area.

Step 1: Requirements

You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a Novice Driver’s License (Level 1). A parent or guardian must give permission if you are less than 19 years of age. Two pieces of identification are needed to apply for a Driver’s License. At least one must be an original primary document.

Step 2: Written Test

You have to complete a written test. It consists of questions about the rules of the road, safe driving practices and how to recognize road signs. You must get a passing grade of 85 percent. To prepare for the written test, you must buy the Road User’s Manual for $2.00 plus HST. You can also download it for free from the Internet. You can make an appointment to write the test once you have studied the materials. You will also have to take an eye exam. This is done in the same building as the written test.

Step 3: Learner’s Permit – Level 1

If you have passed the written test and eye exam, you will receive a Learner’s Permit. You may now drive a car under the following conditions:

  • There must be a licensed driver with you;
  • You must have a sign on the back window saying “Novice driver”;
  • You may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

There are some other restrictions that you can find out about on the Motor Registration Division Website.

Step 4: The Road Test

You can apply for a road test after 12 months (8 months if you have successfully completed an approved Driver Education Program).

You must make an appointment for a test date and time. Your vehicle will be checked for mechanical fitness on the day of your road test. You must also present the following:

  • Receipt for payment of your road test. (Try not to leave payment of your road test until the day of your appointment as delays in processing your receipt may result in the cancellation of your appointment);
  • Valid Class 5 or 6 Level 1 Driver’s Licence;
  • Valid insurance policy and vehicle registration permit for the vehicle in which you are to be road tested.

Step 5: Learner’s Permit – Level 2

Once a person has passed the road test, he or she may drive a vehicle for 12 months under the following conditions:

  • Be accompanied by a licensed driver between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • Continue to show the “Novice Driver” sign

Step 6: Regular Class 5 License

You will automatically receive your regular Class 5 Driver’s License in the mail if you have completed driving for 12 months at Level 2 and if you have not had any traffic violations.

Valid Driver’s Licence Holders

The information on Driver’s Licenses in this Guide is limited by space. It is important to visit the Motor Registration Division’s offices to obtain their information packages. You can also go to their website to get more information.

Car owners must have a vehicle permit certificate of insurance for the vehicle. Take your vehicle permit and proof of insurance with you whenever you drive the car.

If stopped by police in one of their routine traffic checks, you will have to show your driver’s license, vehicle permit and insurance certificate.

Experienced Drivers from Other Countries

You must exchange your existing driver’s licence to a Newfoundland and Labrador Driver’s Licence within 3 months after coming to this province. There are different rules for getting a local license.

If you are coming from another province or territory in Canada or from the United States, Germany, Austria, Switzerland or the United Kingdom can exchange their license for a Newfoundland and Labrador Driver’s License without taking a written, vision or road test, if:

  • You are 17 years of age or older
  • Your existing licence is valid (not suspended, cancelled or revoked)
  • Your licence is expired for no more than 5 years

Other licensed drivers taking up residence in the province will have their experience rated against the Newfoundland and Labrador system and will be placed in the appropriate phase. Age, driving experience and class of licence currently held will determine placement.

If you have moved from a country other than the United States, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom, you must apply as a new driver. There will be recognition of your driving experience if:

  • You at least 16 years of age
  • You have completed a written, vision and road test
  • You have spent time as a licensed driver

Roads and Road Conditions

The road system consists of two major highways and a network of smaller highways and roads. Some secondary country roads are not paved. The highest allowed speed on NL roads is 100 kilometres per hour, on some highways.

Driving conditions change with seasons on NL roads. In winter, during heavy snowfall, roads may be blocked at times. In summer there is lots of construction on the roads, and traffic may be slowed down or completely blocked at construction zones. It is a good idea to stay informed about the road conditions before going on a long drive.

Encountering Emergency Vehicles on the Road

If you are driving and see or hear an emergency vehicle (police vehicle, ambulance, or fire truck) driving with flashing lights and/or sirens, slow down carefully, pull over to the right shoulder of the road and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.

If you see an emergency vehicle parked at the side of the road with emergency lights on, slow down to half the posted speed limit and safely move to the left passing lane (if there is one) or safely pass the vehicle being mindful of oncoming traffic.

If a police vehicle turns on their lights and/or sirens behind your vehicle, signal and pull over safely to the shoulder of the road and stop. Wait in your vehicle while the police officer approaches to speak with you. Do not get out of your vehicle unless asked to do so. Follow the officer’s instructions.

Owning a Vehicle

If you own a vehicle, you must register it at your local MRD office. To register your vehicle you must:

  • Every vehicle has to be insured with an insurance company.
  • Vehicles have to be registered every year on or before the owner’s birthday.
  • Inspections are only valid for thirty (30) days if you wish to make a complaint.
  • Be a resident of NL
  • Have the bill of sale (a document stating the price, make and model of the car, the serial number of the car, and the seller’s information)
  • Show proof of current motor vehicle inspection report
  • Unless under extraordinary circumstances, there is no refund once a car has been bought

Photo Identification Card (ID Card)

The Motor Registration Division is the agency responsible for issuing photo identification cards. The identification card is accepted for all purposes for which proof of identification is required under any act of this province, such as purchase of liquor, cigarettes, etc.

Contact: Motor Registration Division 1-877-636-6867 or [email protected]

In order to qualify for a photo identification card, you must be a resident of this province.

Any person who is taking up residency in Newfoundland & Labrador, who originates from outside of Canada, and who is applying for an identification card must provide proof of their legal presence in Canada, with one primary proof of legal presence and one secondary document or two primary documents (one of which must be an acceptable document for proof of legal presence) as listed within each category below.

Proof of Legal Presence and Primary

  • Valid Foreign Passport with appropriate immigration documents
  • Permanent Resident Card or Immigration papers – Record of Landing
  • Study or Work Permit
  • Canadian Citizenship Card
  • Temporary Resident Permit
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status Card (with photograph)
  • Valid Canadian Passport

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