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The Driver's Handbook

Obtaining a Licence

Learner's permit or licence

Application forms can be obtained at any Customer Service Centre and some remote country police stations. The locations of Customer Service Centres are listed on the inside back cover of this handbook.

Proof of your identity and address

You must provide evidence of your identity and address when applying for:

  • a licence or learner's permit in South Australia for the first time, or
  • a replacement licence or learner's permit if you cannot supply your current photographic South Australian licence or permit.

You must produce your driver's licence when applying for:

  • a renewal of your licence
  • a change of licence class to drive other classes of vehicles.

unless your photograph and signature has already been digitally stored in the South Australian Licensing System; otherwise evidence of identity (including your current address) is required.

You must produce your current driver's licence or learner's permit when undertaking a practical driving test, hazard perception test or Competency Based Training & Assessment (CBT&A) course.

Identification documents

At least three documents are required to provide evidence of identity including:

One document from category A and two from category B; OR
Two documents from category A and one from category B

The three documents together must provide proof of your full name, signature, date of birth and current South Australian residential address. If the three documents presented do not verify your current residential address, a fourth document must be provided from the "Evidence of residential address for registration and licensing purposes" category below.

Documents must be originals and issued within the allowable time.  Photocopies/extracts or commemorative certificates are not acceptable.

Category A

  • an Australian full birth certificate showing parental details (a commemorative certificate, certified copy or extract is not acceptable)
  • an overseas birth certificate showing parental details provided a passport or an official Australian travel document is also shown
  • a current Australian passport or one that has expired within the last two years
  • a current overseas passport (with or without visa) or an overseas passport that has expired within the last two years (provided it is accompanied by a current Australian visa). (Note: Both a visa label or an electronic visa are acceptable)
  • A Certificate of Identity (COI) or a United Nations Convention Travel Document (CTD) issued by the Australian Passport Office (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) 
  • an Australian naturalisation or citizenship document or immigration papers issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) including an Evidence of Australian Citizenship certificate or a Citizenship by descent (Extract from Register of Citizenship by Descent) document or an Adoption in accordance with the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption document
  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) document for travel to Australia (DFTTA) (Valid up to five years after issue) 
  • A current or expired Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Immicard (Either Evidence of Immigration Status (EIS) or Permanent Residence Evidence (PRE) or Residence Determonation (RDI))    
  • A current Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) visa evidence card (PL056)
  • an "Extract from Register of Citizenship by Descent" (issued by an Australian embassy where the parent(s) are Australian-born)
  • photograph and/or signature stored on the photographic licence database
  • South Australian or Federal Police Officer photo identity card
  • South Australian proof of age card (issued after 9 October 2006)
  • Australian photo driver's licence or learner's permit (current or expired up to two years)

Category B

  • A proof of age or photo ID card issued by an interstate government authority
  • A current Medicare card, pensioner concession card, Department of Veterans' Affairs entitlement card or any other current entitlement card issued by the Australian Government;
  • A telephone, gas or electricity bill up to six months old;
  • A water rates, council rates or land valuation notice up to twelve months old;
  • Australian Defence Force photo identity card (excluding civilian staff and family);
  • An electoral enrolment card or other evidence of enrolment up to two years old;
  • Student identity document from an Australian educational institution with photograph and/or signature (current or expired up to twelve months);
  • Australian issued security guard or crowd controller licence showing photograph;
  • Occupational licence (Consumer and Business Services licence) showing photograph;
  • an armed services discharge document up to twelve months old;
  • Australian issued firearms licence showing photograph;
  • A current credit card, or debit card, that shows the embossed name, or printed name, and signature, or account card from a bank, building society or credit union, or a passbook up to one year old.
  • a completed "MR1418 Confirmation of Residential Address and Signature to Enrol a Client with The Registrar of Motor Vehicles" form (Available from a Service SA customer service centre) or a letter from a bank, building society or credit union (up to one year old) that shows your full name and demonstrates that your signature has been verified by the bank, building society or credit union.

The list of identity documents is correct at time of publishing in March 2014. The acceptable evidence of identity documents may change from time to time and an up to date list can be found on the following URL www.sa.gov.au/driverslicences or by phoning 13 10 84.

Evidence of residential address for registration and licensing purposes

If not already established by Category A or Category B documents one of the following documents is also required:

  • current South Australian vehicle registration certificate
  • South Australian driver's licence or vehicle registration renewal for the coming period
  • a contract of sale, lease arrangement or rental receipt for your place of residence up to two years old
  • last or current financial year Australian Taxation Office tax assessment (note: you must black out your tax file number before presenting)
  • a letter signed by the principal/deputy principal/head of school, or a person with the authority to sign for the principal/deputy principal/head of school of a recognised educational institution, on the institution's letterhead, which verifies your address (up to one year old).
  • a completed "MR1418 Confirmation of Residential Address and Signature to Enrol a Client with The Registrar of Motor Vehicles" form (Available from a Service SA customer service centre) or a letter from a bank, building society or credit union (up to one year old) that shows your full name and demonstrates that your residential address has been verified by the bank, building society or credit union.

Medical fitness to drive

Any illness, disease or disability that could affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle must be truthfully declared on any application or renewal form for a South Australian driver's licence or learner's permit.

If you have a condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, arthritis, hypertension, limb disability, a sleep disorder, blackouts, vertigo, frequent fainting or dizziness, a stroke, psychiatric illness, severe coronary or cardiovascular disease or you require glasses when you drive, it may be necessary to have a Medical Certificate completed by a doctor. In some circumstances a specialist report may be required.

If your only problem is that your eyesight does not meet the minimum standard for a driver's licence unaided, it will be necessary to have an Eyesight Certificate completed by your doctor, or similar type medical professional, before your permit or licence can be issued. If the doctor states that your eyesight is satisfactory while wearing spectacles or contact lenses, the permit or licence will be endorsed to say that corrective lenses must be worn at all times when driving. 

A Medical Certificate/Eyesight Certificate is also required if an applicant has had eye surgery or has lost sight in one eye.

If you develop a medical condition that can affect your ability to drive and you already have a permit or licence, you must advise the Registrar of Motor Vehicles in writing at GPO Box 1533, Adelaide SA 5001, as soon as possible.

In the majority of cases, where a person is required to take medication for the treatment of a condition that can affect their fitness to drive, a Medical Certificate will need to be produced periodically depending on the type of the condition and how it is controlled.

Depending on the type and seriousness of the condition, medical evidence and a practical driving assessment may be required when determining if a learner's permit or particular class of licence should be issued or retained.

If you think you may need to submit medical evidence, the appropriate Medical and Eyesight Certificates are available from any customer service centre or can be downloaded from www.sa.gov.au.

see fitness to drive for more information

Photographs for permits and licences

New applicants seeking a learner's permit or driver's licence must be photographed before the permit or licence is issued. Once taken, in most cases, a new photo is not necessary for another 10 years.

Applicants who live in the metropolitan or country areas where there is a customer service centre must attend the centre personally with their application form for the photograph to be taken. However, there are services available for clients living in more remote areas. Contact 13 10 84 for more details.

Licence Renewals

Licence renewals can be made on-line (except when a new photo is necessary), at Customer Services Centres and selected Australia Post Offices.

To pay at Australia Post the licence must not have expired for more than 6 months and the renewal notice and appropriate evidence of identity must be produced.

Where it is not practical for applicants to attend a Customer Service Centre or selected Australian Post Office, they will need to forward their application with the appropriate fee to a Customer Service Centre. A temporary licence valid for a calendar month will be returned to the applicant together with a notice outlining the location of South Australian 'photo points'. A photo should be taken before the temporary licence expires. For a list of South Australian photopoints see: www.sa.gov.au/photopoints

Conversion of an interstate or overseas driver's licence

The holder of an interstate or overseas driver's licence must obtain a South Australian driver's licence:

  • in the case of an interstate licence holder, within three months of residing in South Australia
  • in the case of a foreign licence holder, who becomes a permanent resident or citizen of Australia, within three months of becoming a resident of South Australia.

When converting an interstate driver's licence, the driver is generally entitled to a licence of the same class and conditions as the interstate licence without undertaking any theory test or practical driving test.
 
The holder of a licence from a recognised country that has similar licensing practices to South Australia may exchange their overseas licence for a South Australian licence. In most instances the conversion of the overseas driver's licence is limited to classes C (car) and motorcycle only.

Learner's permits/licences are not able to be converted to a South Australian Learner's Permit.

A licence holder from a country not recognised as having similar licensing practices to Australia must pass a theory test and a practical driving test. A sample of people who have taken a practical driving test will be subject to a further validation assessment with a Government Auditor before a South Australian licence will be issued.

More detailed information on converting your licence from overseas, including a list of recognised countries, can be found on sa.gov.au

Penalties for committing offences

If you commit a minor offence, you will generally receive an Expiation Notice ('On-the-Spot' fine) from the Police, which must be paid by the date shown on the Notice. If you pay by the due date, you will not be required to attend Court. If you decide to contest the offence in a Court, you may receive a summons to go to Court where the offence will be heard. You may also incur demerit points for some offences.

Generally, if you commit a serious offence, you will receive a summons to go to Court. In this case, you may wish to seek legal advice. For many serious offences you may be disqualified from driving and lose your licence or permit (have it suspended or cancelled). See losing your licence or permit for more information.

Lapsed licence

Anyone who has not held a driver's licence within the previous five years (either in South Australia or elsewhere) must obtain a learner's permit (a theory test must be undertaken and passed before a learner's permit is issued) and pass a Vehicle On Road Test (VORT) or Competency Based Training & Assessment (CBT&A) before obtaining a driver's licence.

Change of address

You must notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles within 14 days if you have changed your residential or postal address. You can do this by:

  • writing to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles at
    GPO Box 1533, Adelaide SA 5001
  • telephoning 13 10 84
  • going to www.ezyreg.sa.gov.au.

Carrying your licence

If you hold a:

  • learner's permit
  • provisional licence
  • probationary licence
  • a licence that allows you to drive and you are driving a vehicle with a GVM of greater than 4.5 tonnes
  • interstate or foreign licence.

You must carry your licence when driving and show it to a Police Officer when asked.

If you are in the mandatory alcohol interlock scheme you must also carry your licence at all times whilst driving.

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