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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

You are required to provide at least three evidence of identity documents, either one primary and two secondary documents or two primary and one secondary documents.

These documents together must show your:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Signature, and
  • Current South Australian residential address
  • Evidence of change of name if you have changed your name or your name is different to the documents presented

If the three documents you present do not provide evidence of your current South Australian address you must present a further document that does.

If your document(s) only show your middle name(s) as an initial(s), you must present another acceptable primary document which shows what the initial stands for.

Original Documents

You must provide original documents. Photocopies, certified extracts of original documents and commemorative certificates are not acceptable.

Translations from an approved translator based in Australia must also be presented if the documents are not in English.

Primary Documents (commencement of identity in Australia)

All primary evidence of identity documents must be in hard copy/physical format or presented with a hard copy/physical document
  • A current Australian passport or one that has expired within the previous three years;
  • A current New Zealand passport (where the Australian visa cannot be verified);
  • An Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages office issued full birth certificate showing parental details (a commemorative certificate, or extract is not acceptable);
  • A current Australian visa (with a foreign passport and accompanied by a visa grant notice) or an electronic travel authority (with a foreign passport);
  • An Australian Government ImmiCard (current or expired) (Evidence of Immigration Status or Australian Migration Status or Permanent Resident Evidence or Residence Determination) issued by the Department of Home Affairs;
  • Australian Citizenship Certificate, Certificate of Naturalisation; Declaratory Certificate of Australian Citizenship; Evidentiary Certificate of Australian Citizenship; Citizenship by Descent extracts (formerly Registration of Citizenship by Descent); or Adoption in accordance with the Hague convention on inter-country adoption certificate issued by the Department of Home Affairs;
  • A Document for Travel to Australia issued by the Department of Home Affairs;
  • A Certificate of Identity or a United Nations Convention Travel Document (Titre de Voyage) issued by the Australian Passport Office (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade);
  • Photograph and/or signature stored on the Registrar of Motor Vehicles’ database;
  • South Australian proof of age card (issued after 9 October 2006);
  • South Australian or Federal Police Officer photo identity card;
  • Current interstate photo driver’s licence or learner’s permit.

Secondary Documents (use of identity in Australia)

Secondary evidence of identity documents may be either in hard copy, physical or digital format.  Electronic statements accessed via your account on an app on your mobile phone or tablet and internet printed statements are acceptable.

  • A current credit or debit or account card from a bank, building society or credit union that shows your embossed or printed name and signature, or a passbook (up to twelve months old);
  • An account statement or a letter from a bank, building society or credit union on the institution’s letterhead or with the institution’s stamp (up to twelve months old);
  • Letter from the Australian Taxation Office (which includes your tax file number),Centrelink or Medicare on the institution’s letterhead or with the institution’s stamp (up to twelve months old);
  • Current Australia Post issued Keypass ID Card (issued on or after 2 October 2017 (i.e. must feature red and white Australia Post logo at top left);
  • Phone / internet, gas, electricity or water bill on the institution’s letterhead or with the institution’s stamp (up to twelve months old);
  • A council rates or land valuation notice (up to twelve months old);
  • A contract of sale, lease arrangement or rental receipt for your place of residence (up to two years old);
  • Australian Defence Force photo identity card (excluding civilian staff and family);
  • Current Defence Housing Agreement;
  • Evidence of enrolment to vote from Australian Electoral Commission (up to two years old);
  • Australian Taxation Office tax assessment (previous or current financial year);
  • Student identity document from an Australian educational institution with photograph and/or signature (current or expired up to twelve months);
  • Certificate or statement of enrolment from an educational institution (up to twelve months old);
  • A letter signed by the principal/deputy principal/head of school or a person with authority to sign for the principal/deputy principal/head of school of a recognised educational institution, on the institution’s letterhead (up to twelve months old);
  • School report, certificate of accomplishment or enrolment issued by a secondary school in South Australia (up to six months old);
  • Occupational licence (SafeWork SA or Consumer and Business Services) showing photograph;
  • An armed services discharge document (up to twelve months old);
  • Australian issued security guard or crowd controller licence showing photograph;
  • Australian issued firearms licence showing photograph.

The list of identity documents is correct at September 2018. 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.

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 photo points 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 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
  • hold a provisional licence
  • hold a probationary licence
  • hold a licence that allows you to drive and you are driving a vehicle with a GVM of greater than 4.5 tonnes
  • hold a interstate or foreign licence; or
  • are in the mandatory alcohol interlock scheme

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

You can now digitise your diver's licence or learner's permit and display it on your smartphone.  Visit mySA GOV for more information.

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