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Last updated Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018 04:39 PM

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 your valid licence to a B.C. driver’s licence.

The 90-day rule does not apply if you:

  • are visiting as a tourist for up to six months
  • have a valid student exemption due to full-time enrollment at a designated educational institution in B.C.
  • are temporary foreign worker with a federal work permit designating that 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. If you’re staying longer than 12 months under SAWP and want to continue driving then you will need to get a B.C. driver’s licence.

Getting a B.C. driver's licence

What driving experience is required?

Your current driver's licence or driving record must prove at least two years of driving experience. 

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

Getting documents translated

If your licence or driving record is in a language other than English, an ICBC-approved translator located in B.C. will need to translate your documents. 

Giving up your previous licence

If you qualify for a new B.C. driver's licence, you will need to surrender your previous licence to ICBC. 

B.C. law requires that you only have one driver's licence. This includes surrendering your previous licence if you are required to take a road test with us. If you do not pass the road test, you will be issued a B.C. Learners licence, and your previous licence will not be returned to you.

Reciprocal licence exchange requirements

Driver licensing requirements are based on where your current licence is from.

B.C. has reciprocal licence exchange agreements with many jurisdictions. If you have at least two years driving experience, you may be able to exchange your current driver's licence for a new one from B.C.

B.C. has reciprocal licence exchange agreements with:
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • France 
  • Germany
  • Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey
  • Ireland
  • Japan 
  • Netherlands
    • Except former territories in Antilles: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten.
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea (not motorcycles) 
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (not motorcycles)
    • If you're from Taiwan you will 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.
  • United Kingdom (includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • United States (includes Washington DC and Puerto Rico)

If you qualify for the reciprocal licence exchange agreement

If you’re from one of the countries listed above then follow these steps to exchange your licence.

Steps for passenger vehicle licences (class 5) or motorcycles (class 6).

Come to an ICBC driver licensing and bring the following to apply for your licence:

Steps for 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.

All other countries (not part of the licence exchange agreement)

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 will need to take a knowledge and road test.

You have up to 90 days to complete the process of exchanging your licence, but we recommend doing it as early as you can as you will need to book a road test and may have to wait for the next available appointment.

What to bring to your appointment

Step 1: Take the knowledge test at any driver licensing office.

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

With two years' of non-learner driving experience, you'll need to take the Class 5 road test. Note: Bring another qualified driver with you for your test in case you don't pass.

  • More information about getting your N (Class 5 road test)
  • Book a class 5 road test

If you don't have two years of non-learner driving experience, you'll need to go through the graduated licensing program. You will get credit for any non-learner driving experience you can provide.

If you are moving away from B.C.

Any driver with a current B.C. licence that moves to another jurisdiction should check with their new licensing authority about the requirements needed to obtain a new driver's licence.

If you have current Autoplan insurance with ICBC, learn more about what you need to do when you're moving away from B.C.

New to B.C.?

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