Converting Foreign Drivers Licences to SA licenses | ExpatCapeTown | Last updated 10 March 2020
Driving with a foreign drivers license in South Africa is easy to do, if you stick to the rules. We will share here our experiences and tell you what to do to get it right...
Here we share our latest experiences regarding driving with foreign licences in South Africa and converting your licence into a South African one.
Important! The Department of Transport only will exchange your foreign licence to a South African driving licence once you are permanent resident. Otherwise you must your driver's licence test in South Africa if your overseas driver's license expires and you cannot renew it while living in South Africa.
Foreigners are allowed to drive in South Africa without a South African drivers licence when you stay or visit the country with a temporary residency visa, a study/exchange or visitor visa when you are in possession of either:
The temporary residency holders needs to renew their foreign licences in their home country or in the country they received the drivers licence from or they need to apply for a new SA drivers licence, including writing the test and doing the practical driving test.
Temporary Residents with foreign drivers licences, no matter how many years they stay in the country, can not apply for a transfer to an SA licence!
These are the latest regulations regarding the conversion of foreign drivers licences:
As stated by the Western Cape Government 'According to the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 of South Africa you have to convert your foreign driving licence within 5 years from obtaining your permanent residency or resuming your residency in South Africa'.
This means all PR holders need to convert their foreign driver's licence within the prescribed five years. South African citizens who received a foreign drivers licence while overseas also will need to convert their license to a South African one once back.
Contrary to the practise upheld until last year, one does not need to surrender foreign drivers licences; you can keep your foreign licence.
We were advised that if someone had to surrender the foreign licence before, this licence can be claimed back at the Driving Licence Testing Station where the licence was surrendered.
Let me know if you need help with this, as I have received a letter signed by the Directorate of the Western Cape Government Transport and Public Works, that 'the foreign driving licence should not be retained by the authorities when applying for a South African driving licence.'
This means you will now be able to have two licences, your national licence AND get a SA licence.
There are two steps in converting your license:
Important Note: Please make sure that the category awarded for your SA licence correlates with your foreign licence before you leave the Department of Transport's office! It took us several attempts to sort out the mismatch and needed lots of persistence to get the correct category awarded.
The required documents to take to the Western Cape Government's Traffic Department for getting the confirmation letter are:
The required documents to take to the Traffic Testing Centres (DLTC) are:
As with all things you need to be patient and persistent when applying for the conversion of your drivers licence.
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Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. The information was provided and deemed correct at time of first publication. The author, editor and publisher of this site, accept no responsibility for any consequence, damage or inconvenience sustained by any person using this article as reference. We would be grateful if notified of any corrections and changes to the legislation referred to in the article.