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Driving in British Columbia

Getting your Driving Licence in British Columbia

The local licensing authority is called the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). New arrivals may drive on their foreign license for up to 90 days after arrival. After this point, only a driving license in Canada issued by British Columbia may be used.

You can exchange your foreign license for a British Columbia equivalent right away if your license is from one of the countries which the province has an agreement with. These countries are:

  • Austria
  • Australia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Guernsey
  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea (not motorcycles)
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (for passenger vehicles only, not motorcycles)
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

 

Holders of licenses from these countries will need to bring identification (including permanent resident card, or work / study permit). They will need to surrender their existing license, and answer some basic questions about road safety in order to get a British Columbia license.

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2 Years driving experience or more

Those with more than two years of driving experience will get a full, ‘Class 5’ license right away. Those with less than two years of experience will receive a ‘Class 7’ novice license, and may then apply for a full ‘Class 5’ license when they have accumulated two years of experience. Foreign experience will be credited towards the two-year total.

If your country is not listed above, then you will need to sit a full knowledge and road test in order to receive your driver license in Canada. The first step is to sit the knowledge test at any ICBC office, and answer at least 40 of the 50 questions correctly. Then, you will need to sit your road test(s). If you already have more than two years of driving experience, you can apply for a full ‘Class 5’ licence. If not, then you’ll need to apply for a ‘Class 7’ novice licence.

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