One of the many challenges that all immigrants face upon migrating to a foreign country is updating their documents to fit that nation’s requirements. Among the most necessary personal documents that need to be updated immediately are our driver’s licence.
Luckily, Ontario has specific and effective procedures when it comes to obtaining a Canadian licence. Any valid non-Ontario licence may be used for the first few days of your visit or residency as you get settled into the province. However, this privilege does expire after 60 DAYS and you will need to get a licence issued in Ontario.
If you are a new immigrant or are preparing to move to Ontario, there are many ways to get a valid driver’s licence. It’s all a matter of where you are coming from and how much experience you have, plus owning the documents and skills to prove them.
Here are the different ways you can get a new driver’s licence in Ontario:
Under the Ontario driver’s licence exchange, you can simply swap your existing licence for an Ontario driver’s licence if you are an immigrant from the following territories:
Coming from these countries is the surest and easiest way to get a new licence. To proceed with the exchange, you will need to visit the Ontario DriveTest centre. Here, you will:
These documents are accepted as proof of identity in Ontario:
3. Present your valid non-Ontario licence.
4. Present an original documents, on official letterhead, printed in English or French, issued within 6 months and provided by originating jurisdiction, Embassy, Consulate or High Commissioner’s Office representing the jurisdiction that authenticates your driving experience either in years (e.g. 2001) or directly (e.g. October 1, 2002).
5. Supply an Ontario residential address (including street name and number, lot, concession, township, mining location, etc.) and a postal code.
6. Provide payment for applicable fees
7. ____Fill out an application form, supplying necessary details such as how long you have been driving
The driver’s licence and authentication document must be printed in English or French otherwise it must be translated by a Ministry of Transportation approved translator. A-Translation by a non-Canadian embassy, consulate, or high commissioner’s office is acceptable, but not translations by other translators from the country where the licence was issued.
The licence you will automatically be exchanged come in different levels based on your years of driving experience :
To book a road test, you will need the following:
You can book your road test online at www.drivetest.ca or via phone through these numbers: 647-776-0331 or 1-888-570-6110. You may also book a road test in person at any Drive Test Centre.
To prepare for the written exam, you will need to obtain the Ontario Official Driver Handbook at a cost of $16.00. This is something you can purchase online, from a DriveTest office or from certain retail stores. The MTO handbooks can be purchased through this link http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/handbooks.shtml.
Some important reminders to keep in mind when assessing your level and applying for a Canadian licence:
Immigrants from countries not part of the Ontario LicenseLicence Exchange program need not worry about getting a licence . Ontario has an effective policy that might even make it easier to acquire an Ontario licence, at least faster than having to start at a G1 level .
Again, your years of driving experience matters greatly for your eligibility to use your foreign licence credit. Proving your experience with supporting documents will allow you to skip more of the waiting period and get your Ontario licencefaster .
In order to apply for foreign licencecredit , you must be 16 years old or older. You will also need to complete your application at your chosen Ontario DriveTest location with the following:
Please note that the Letter of Authentication will be your primary proof of experience. This letter must come from the same region where your foreign licence was issued. This letter must also be from the official letterhead, from an embassy, consulate or High Commissioner's Office of your home region. The letter also needs to be dated within 6 months of your application, and translated into English or French.
For those who do not have copies of the documents that will prove your driving experience at the time of your application, you are allowed to proceed with the application and have the proof of experience added later on. This enables you to start the application process sooner, therefore finishing the process earlier than you would have if you waited on those documents.
We know all this sounds quite complicated, so allow us to break this down for you:
“I have less than 1 year of driving experience. What do I do?”
“I have been driving for over a year, but less than 2 years. What do I do?”
“I have proof that I have been driving for over 2 years. What do I do?”
Now that you know how to apply for a licence exchange or for foreign licence credit, here are some additional information regarding the different driving levels in Ontario:
A G1 or beginner’s licence in Ontario allows you to drive under the following restrictions:
A G2 or intermediate licence allows you to:
However, a G2 licence still requires:
If you are 19 or under, you can only have one passenger who is 19 or younger with you in the car between the hours of 12 AM and 5 AM. This applies for the first 6 months of your G2 licence.
After those months, you are then allowed to drive with up to 3 passengers of those ages in those hours. However, if there is a fully licenced driver with at least 4 years driving experience, or if there are family members with you in the car, this rule no longer applies.
Isn’t it great to know that Ontario has such specific measures in place for everyone’s protection? Rest assured, obtaining a licence in Ontario will be well worth it with the beautiful roads and destinations that you can enjoy.
Following these rules ensures a hassle-free process, one that you will be grateful for as you cruise through the streets knowing that every driver is responsible for their behavior on the road.