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Licence Exchanges & Foreign Licence Applications

Any new resident with a driver's licence from another province or country must apply for an Ontario driver’s licence within 60 days.

Overview – Licences for Out-of-Province and Out-of-Country Drivers

In Ontario, you must be at least 16 years of age to drive legally. No matter what your age or driving experience, we highly recommend reading the relevant driver’s handbook prior to driving on Ontario’s roads. Each driver’s handbook contains information on the rules of the road and safe driving practices for that vehicle type.

You may exchange or apply for an Ontario licence at any DriveTest Centre. Because of the tests required, ServiceOntario does not issue licences to new Ontario residents.

The driver’s licence application process for newcomers to Ontario varies depending on:

  • Your place of origin.
  • The type of licence.
  • The documentation and/or identification you have.
  • The number of years of experience you have driving.

If you have previous driving experience outside of Ontario, that experience may be acknowledged through licence exchange privileges or through foreign licence experience credits.

Cars driving on Ontario highway

Note to Visitors:

If you are visiting Ontario for less than 3 months, you can use a valid driver’s licence from your own province, state, or country. You do not need to visit a DriveTest Centre while you are here, but you must have a vehicle permit and insurance and must follow Ontario’s rules of the road. The Official MTO Driver’s Handbook explains Ontario’s traffic laws and driving customs.

If you are visiting from another country for more than 3 months, you should get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from your own country to accompany your driver’s licence before you arrive in Canada. DriveTest does not issue International Driver’s Permits.

Licence Exchanges

Ontario has licence exchange agreements with certain provinces, states, and countries. If you are from one of these jurisdictions, you may be eligible to do a direct licence exchange for an Ontario licence without all the required testing. However, if you have a probationary licence (e.g., learner’s permit), you may be entitled only to have driving experience credited.

Canadian military DND 404 permit holders (both active and retired members) may have driver’s licence testing requirements waived. Drivers with a DND 404 permit and a valid licence (within the last 3 years) issued by another Canadian licensing jurisdiction may be eligible, with appropriate ID and documentation, for Ontario licence classes A, C, D, F, G, and Z endorsement without testing and without surrendering their permit. See the Waived Testing Requirements for DND 404 Holders page for details.

Foreign Licence Applications

If you have a licence from a country that does not have a licence exchange agreement with Ontario, you may be eligible to receive credit for your foreign driving experience. However, you are still required to pass all applicable tests to earn your Ontario driver’s licence.

Driving Experience for Protected Persons, Refugees and People from Ukraine

Ontario will credit foreign driving experience for protected persons, refugees, and people from Ukraine to help them get their driver’s licence sooner.

Protected persons, refugees from non-reciprocating jurisdictions, and people from Ukraine may present a photocopy of their foreign driver’s licence (DL) bearing a stamp from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) or a Border Services Officer as acceptable proof of their foreign driving experience when applying for an Ontario driver’s licence. If individuals are unable to present their foreign DL, they may also complete a self-declaration to state the amount of their foreign driving experience, which will be applied to their new Ontario driver record. Drivers with 24 months or more driving experience will be exempt from the mandatory time periods required under Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System. If less than 24 months is self-declared, wait times between testing will be reduced accordingly based on driving experience.

If the foreign driver’s licence, or the stamped photocopy is used to apply experience, it can be expired up to one year at the time of application and must be in English or French or must comply with current document translation requirements. The foreign driver’s licence must be from the country of citizenship.

At the time of application, the applicant must provide one of the following original documents in order to be eligible to present a stamped photocopy of their foreign driver’s licence or self-declaration:

Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview

Refugee Protection Claimant Document

Notice of Decision

Verification of Status

Ukrainian Passport and valid Visa

All other identification requirements proving the applicant’s legal name, date of birth, and signature must still be met.

Identification, Drivers’ Abstracts, and Letters of Authentication

When you visit a DriveTest Centre to apply for a licence, you must bring your current driver’s licence, acceptable ID, and possibly a letter of authentication or a driver’s abstract issued within the last six months to confirm the status of your licence and length of driving experience.

To be eligible for an exchange or credit towards an Ontario licence, an out-of-province or out-of-country driver’s licence needs to be in English or French, original, and valid. Ideally, your licence will also display an issue date or visible expiry date; however, an applicant who does not have an issue date or an expiry date (not both) is still able to receive up to 12 months of driving experience credit upon application. If your driver’s licence is not in English or French, it must be accompanied by a written translation from a qualified translator.

Your application must show proof of your legal name, date of birth (must state the day, month, and year of birth), and signature. If there is any variation in the names on the legal identification you present and the name that appears on your licence, you will need to provide acceptable ID or documentation (e.g., marriage certificate; change of name or divorce certificate; or court order) to link your records.