When you first arrive in South Africa, you are allowed to drive using your foreign drivers licence. However, as a permanent resident, you must have a South African driving licence.
The information below on converting a foreign driving licence in South Africa is thus for you if you’re on the brink of becoming a permanent resident or have recently become one.
When must you convert your drivers licence?
You must convert your foreign drivers licence to a South African licence within one year of obtaining permanent residence. Should you fail to do this, your foreign licence will be regarded as invalid.
What are the requirements?
There are a couple of requirements to meet before converting your foreign driving licence in South Africa. Your foreign licence will only be converted if:
- The licence is valid.
- The licence is accompanied by a letter of validity obtained from the relevant embassy and a translation of the licence is not in one of South Africa’s 11 official languages.
- It has your photo and signature.
What is the application process for converting your foreign driving licence in South Africa?
You must make the application for the conversion of your foreign driver’s licence at a driving licence testing centre (DLTC) in the province you were granted permanent residence.
Here you’ll complete a DL1 form, which the Application for Exchange of a Driving Licence form. At the same time, you’ll complete the notification of change of address of particulars of person or organisation
To complete your application, you will submit documents as required by South African law for converting your foreign driving licence. These documents include proof of permanent residency in South Africa and proof of residential or postal address. Please speak to the DLTC you’re applying at for a full list of documents.
When will you get your South African driving licence?
Unfortunately we can’t give you an answer, as processing times vary from one testing centre to the next.
What we can tell you is that you should be granted your South African driving licence if the DLTC is satisfied that:
- You are the valid holder of the foreign driving licence.
- You will hand over your foreign driving licence when you receive your South African licence.
- You have passed the eye exam.
We urge you to make the switch to a South African driving licence as soon as you can after becoming a permanent resident. You don’t want to get hefty fines for using the incorrect licence when driving!