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Exemption from driver licensing requirements

If you want to apply for an exemption from driver licensing requirements, make sure you read the information on this page first. 

What we'll consider

You’re applying for an exemption from the law under s 168D of the Land Transport Act 1998.

The things we have to consider are set out in s 168D. These include:

  • Would granting this exemption maintain or improve land transport safety?
  • Would it contribute to an effective, efficient and safe land transport system in the public interest?
  • Does it support the response to an emergency or other event?
  • Is there any other matter we consider relevant in the circumstances?

We’ll also take into account your driving record, and any other related information.

  • Having a clean driving record can show us whether you’ll continue to follow the road rules and drive safely.
  • Having traffic offences on your record, or not driving for long enough to establish a record, is relevant to whether we grant your application or not.

We may also look at other aspects of your land transport compliance.

Exemptions are not automatically granted. We’ll consider all the factors above before deciding whether to approve or decline your application.

We’re not obliged to grant an exemption if we don’t think it’s appropriate to do so.

The fee is non-refundable - even if we decline your application. It covers the cost of processing your application. 

What we need from you

Think about all the factors we’ve listed in the section above, and if you can, include them in your responses to our questions.

You’ll need to show us that granting your exemption won’t increase risk to any other road users. Give us specific examples of how you intend to reduce risk: simply promising that you’ll follow the road rules doesn’t show us this.

Make sure you fill in all the relevant fields for your application type: we won’t accept applications if they’re incomplete.

Don't apply

The law doesn’t allow us to grant an exemption just on the basis of inconvenience or hardship. We won’t generally grant an exemption if:

  • you’ve bought a vehicle you’re not yet licensed to drive
  • you have other means of transport
  • you can comply with the law by getting a full licence but choose not to.

It’s unlikely that we’ll grant an exemption if you:

  • hold a learner car or motorcycle licence (class 1 or class 6)
  • have held a restricted licence for six months or less.

You can't get an exemption for anything that is set out in the Land Transport Act 1998, for example you can't get an exemption to get a driver licence if you're under 16. 

False or incomplete information

We may decline your application or revoke your exemption if:

  • you provide false or misleading information, or
  • you don’t give us all the information relevant to your application.

It’s also an offence to supply false or misleading information and may lead to court action. This could result in a conviction and/or paying a fine.

We’ll closely examine any document you provide to make sure it’s authentic, particularly overseas documents. We won’t return documents which are clearly fraudulent or tampered with, or where we have any significant doubt that they’re authentic.

How to apply

You can make your application online. First, you'll need to do these things. 

Make payment

You'll need to call us to pay the exemption application fee of $27.20.

Call us on 0800 822 422 to pay by Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card. 

We'll give you a reference number to include with your application. 

Gather your evidence

For most exemption types, you'll need to provide us with documentation or information. 

If you need to provide us with documents like overseas licences or certificates of particulars, you'll need to upload certified copies of these documents with your application. 

See the exemption type section for what you'll need to provide for the type of exemption you're applying for. 

These documents can be certified by a:

  • lawyer
  • solicitor
  • notary public
  • court registrar
  • embassy official
  • justice of the peace, or 
  • police officer. 

Original documents

If you don't want to get your documents certified, you'll need to make your application by mail so you can send us the original documents. You'll need to print and complete the Application for an exemption form (DL4) to send to us with your documents. 

If you want us to return your original documents by courier, you'll also need to include a pre-paid courier bag with your application. If you don't provide a courier bag, we'll send your original documents back to you in the standard mail. 

Exemption type

Check below for the information you'll need to provide for each type of exemption. 

  • Drive unsupervised on a restricted licence between 10pm and 5am

    You'll need to tell us:

    • Why do you need to travel unsupervised outside the normal hours of a restricted licence?
    • What other travel methods are available to you?
    • What travel arrangements did you have before applying for an exemption? 
    • Why are these travel arrangements no longer appropriate?
    • The addresses you want to travel to and from
    • The times you need to travel between
    • The days you want to travel on

    You'll also need to provide:

    • A letter of authority from your parent or guardian if you're under 18 and live at home
    • A letter from your employer confirming your start and finish times (if your application is to travel to and from work)
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  • Carry passengers on your restricted licence

    You don’t need to apply for an exemption if you only want to carry:

    • your spouse (a person you live with in the nature of marriage)
    • children who live with you and who are under you or your spouses care (you or your spouse support them financially)
    • your parent or guardian
    • relatives who live with you and who receive a social security benefit (eg the jobseeker support, sole parent or support living payment benefits)
    • someone you look after as their primary (main) caregiver.

    If you want to apply for an exemption to carry someone else, you'll need to tell us:

    • Who are the passengers you want to carry?
    • Why do you need to carry them?
    • What other travel methods could apply to these passengers?
    • The address you want to travel to and from
    • The times you want to travel between
    • The days you want to travel on

    You'll also need to give us: 

    • A letter of authority from your parents or guardians if you're under 18 and still live at home
    • A letter of authority from the parents or guardians of any passengers that are under 18
    • A letter from the doctor of the person you're wanting to carry, if it's for medical reasons.

     

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  • Recognise overseas driving experience

    You'll need to give us: 

    • your overseas driver licence
    • a Certificate of particulars if your overseas licence doesn't have an issue date
    • An approved translation if your overseas licence or Certificate of particulars isn't in English. 

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload certified copies of these documents. 

    A Certificate of particulars is an official document from your licensing authority which includes all details that would be contained on your original driver licence card.  

    Copies of your original documents can be certified by a:

    • lawyer
    • solicitor
    • notary public
    • court registrar
    • embassy official
    • justice of the peace, or 
    • police officer. 

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide certified copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

    Note: if we grant this exemption, it doesn't guarantee that we'll approve any endorsement applications afterwards. 

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  • Convert an overseas driver licence without having the original licence

    You'll need to give us: 

    • a Certificate of particulars from the overseas driver licensing authority that issued the driver licence
    • An approved translation if your Certificate of particulars isn't in English
    • Confirmation from the licensing authority that they won't issue you a replacement overseas licence while you're in New Zealand. 

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload certified copies of these documents. 

    A Certificate of particulars is an official document from your licensing authority which includes all details that would be contained on your original driver licence card.  

    Copies of your original documents can be certified by a:

    • lawyer
    • solicitor
    • notary public
    • court registrar
    • embassy official
    • justice of the peace, or 
    • police officer. 

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide certified copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

    Note: if we grant this exemption, it doesn't guarantee that we'll approve any endorsement applications afterwards. 

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  • Convert an overseas special-type endorsement (eg forklift)

    You'll need to give us:

    • Evidence of the overseas endorsement (eg course certificate or qualification certificate)
    • Evidence of any overseas driving experience you've had (eg a letter from your employer). 

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload certified copies of these documents. 

    Copies of your original documents can be certified by a:

    • lawyer
    • solicitor
    • notary public
    • court registrar
    • embassy official
    • justice of the peace, or 
    • police officer. 

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide certified copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

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  • Recognition of an overseas driving instructor qualification

    You'll need to give us:

    • Evidence of the overseas endorsement (eg course certificate or qualification certificate)
    • Evidence of any overseas driving experience you've had (eg a letter from your employer). 

    If you're applying for your exemption online, you'll need to upload certified copies of these documents. 

    Copies of your original documents can be certified by a:

    • lawyer
    • solicitor
    • notary public
    • court registrar
    • embassy official
    • justice of the peace, or 
    • police officer. 

    If you're going to send your application in the mail, you can provide certified copies or your original documents. If you send the originals, we recommend you also send us a pre-paid courier package so we can return them by tracked courier. 

    Close Back to top

Apply online

If you've read all the information above, and you still want to apply for an exemption from the law, you can apply for your exemption application online: 

Apply for an exemption from driver licensing legislation

If you don't want to apply online, or want to send us original documents, you'll need to print out an Application for an exemption form (DL4). You'll need to fill it in and send it in to us with your supporting documents. 

Download an Application for an exemption form (DL4) [PDF, 168 KB]