Moving to B.C.

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Moving from outside Canada

Welcome to B.C.! After moving here, you have 90 days to switch over your valid licence to a B.C. driver’s licence.

Your current driver's licence and/or driving record must show at least two years of driving experience. If your licence is not in English and you don't have an international driving permit, you’ll need to get a translation of your driver’s licence from an ICBC approved translator

If you don't have two years of driving experience, you'll receive a Class 7 or 8 licence (with graduated licensing restrictions).

Exemptions

The 90-day rule does not apply if:

  • you're visiting
  • you have a valid student exemption
  • you're a temporary foreign worker with a federal work permit designating you are in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Workers in the SAWP may drive for up to 12 months on a valid licence from their home jurisdiction.
Where are you from?

There are different licensing requirements depending on where you’re from. If you have a driver’s licence from any of the countries or regions where BC has a reciprocal licence agreement in place and at least two years of driving experience, then you can usually just exchange for a B.C. driver’s licence right away.

BC has reciprocal agreements with:

  • Austria ​
  • Australia ​
  • France ​
  • Germany
  • Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey 
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Netherlands*
  • New Zealand ​​
  • South Korea (not motorcycles)
  • Switzerland ​
  • Taiwan (not motorcycles)**
  • United Kingdom (includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • United States (includes Washington DC and Puerto Rico)
 

* Except former territories in Antilles: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten.

** For passenger vehicles only; requires additional documentation from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Vancouver.

Can't find your country or region? See all other countries or regions.

All other countries

If you’re from any other country not listed as “reciprocal”, you can still apply for a B.C. licence. But in addition to the application, you’ll need to take a knowledge and road test.

You have up to 90 days to apply, but we recommend doing it as early as you can—you’ll need to book a road test and may have to wait for an available appointment.

Applying for a B.C. licence

Bring the following to apply for your licence:

Steps for getting your licence

If you have two years of non-learner driving experience:

Step 1:

The knowledge test is a multiple choice quiz that tests your knowledge of road signs and the rules of the road. You’ll need to get 40 out of 50 questions right to pass.

Step 2:

  • Take the Class 5 road test. Note: Bring another qualified driver with you for your test in case you don’t pass.

If you don’t have two years’ of non-learner driving experience:

You’ll need to go through the graduated licensing program. You’ll get credit for any non-learner driving experience you can provide.

Learn more about proving your driving experience.

Reciprocal licence agreement

Reciprocal licence agreement

To exchange your reciprocal licence for a B.C. driver's licence, go to any driver licensing office in B.C.

Bring the following to apply for your licence:

Don’t have two years of driving experience?

If you don’t have two years’ driving experience with a non-learner licence or can’t prove it, you can still get a B.C. licence by going through the graduated licensing program (GLP). You will receive credit for any time you have driven.

Commercial licences

If you have a commercial licence and want to drive a commercial vehicle in Canada, you'll need to take a knowledge test and a road test. If you won't be driving a commercial vehicle, you can exchange your commercial licence for a regular passenger vehicle (Class 5) driver's licence.

If you’re from Taiwan

You’ll be able to exchange your licence for a passenger vehicle licence only. You must provide the following documents:

  • Taiwanese driver’s licence card,
  • Verification certificate of driver’s licence with red seal stamp (available in Taiwan only), and
  • A translation of your driver’s licence by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Vancouver. You can get an ICBC translation form at any driver licensing office.

Additional information

Non-English documents

If your licence or driving record is in a language other than English, they must be translated by an ICBC approved translator or consulate located in B.C. The fees and services vary for each translator. Please contact them for more information.

An international driving permit may be used as a translation of the licence it represents. Our staff will determine if it's acceptable.

Choosing the right translator

Not all translators are able to translate in both directions (for example, from English to Arabic, and from Arabic to English). Please ensure that the translator is approved to translate in the direction required. 

Giving up your previous licence

When you qualify for your new B.C. driver's licence, you’ll need to surrender your previous licence to ICBC. B.C. law requires that you only have one driver's licence.

Just visiting or going to school?

If you're just visiting here up to six months or you're a full time student at a designated institution you may not have to switch your licence. For more information, see our FAQ or contact us.

Questions

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. It could save you an extra trip to the driver licensing office.​

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