by Donna McFarlane
There is something symbolic about the driver’s licence we carry in our wallets. It’s a marker of who we are and where we belong. When you relocate to Perth, you will need to go through the rite of passage of posing for a new photograph and signing a new badge of identification that claims the West as your home. Even if you’re not particularly sentimental, transferring your driver’s licence within a certain time is a legal requirement.
Relocating to Perth from interstate
If you hold a driver’s licence and you relocate to Western Australia (WA) from interstate, you must apply for a WA driver's licence within three months of living in the State. There is no fee for this, provided your existing licence is still current. The sooner you transfer your license, the sooner you can use it whenever you need to prove your identity or your residency in Western Australia.
It is only possible to hold one current driver’s licence in Australia. Therefore, when you apply for a WA licence, you must surrender the licence you have previously held in another State.
In order to transfer your licence, you will need to attend one of the Driver and Vehicle Services Centres or regional Agents located in metropolitan Perth and regional areas. A list of these centres is published on the WA Department of Transport website (see below).
The process involves completing an application form, (which includes questions about traffic or criminal convictions and medical conditions), providing proof of identity documents, undergoing an eyesight test and having a photo taken for your new licence.
A temporary WA licence will then be issued and will be valid until the new WA licence arrives in the mail.
Relocating to Perth from overseas
People who relocate to Western Australia from overseas, or those on a permanent resident visa, will need to apply for a WA driver’s licence within three months of living in the State. Visitors to WA from overseas can drive on their current overseas licence as long as it does not expire during their stay in WA.
The requirements for obtaining a WA driver’s licence depend on several factors, including the country in which you hold a current licence and the age and experience of the driver. Some countries are classified as ‘recognised’ while others are ‘non-recognised’ or ‘experienced driver recognised.’
Depending on which country your driver’s licence has been issued in, you may be required to obtain a letter of verification regarding its authenticity. You may also be required to sit a practical test and/or a theory test to obtain your WA driver’s licence.
You will need to attend one of the Driver and Vehicle Services Centres or regional Agents located in metropolitan Perth and regional areas. Aside from any additional tests, you will be required to show your overseas driver’s licence (with official translation if not in English), proof of identity and proof of residency. You will also need to complete an application form, undergo an eyesight test and have a photo taken for your new licence.
There is a fee for people transferring their licence from overseas.
Avoiding the queues obtaining your licence
Department of Transport centres are open between the hours of 8.15am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). The West Perth office is extremely busy. On arrival to the centre, you will be required to take a ticket for your required transaction. It is advisable to be early to avoid long waiting periods.
Please note, this information is current as at June 2013. For more information about licensing and Western Australia’s road rules, go to the WA Department of Transport website or phone 13 11 56.