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What do you need to know about driving with an international licence in NSW?

Driving Across Borders: What You Need to Know About International Licences in NSW

If you are planning to drive in New South Wales (NSW) and hold an international driver’s licence, it is essential to understand the legal requirements and implications involved. Navigating the intricacies of driving across borders can be challenging, especially regarding the legal aspects. That’s why seeking professional legal advice ensures you are well-informed and protected.

In this blog, we will dive into the topic of international licences in NSW and explore possible defences to police charges. We’ll also explain how Repute Law, one of Australia’s premier criminal law firms, can help you navigate this complex area.

International Licences (not including NZ licences) – Arrivals pre 1 July 2023

Gary – here is the link for the act below
In accordance with the Road Transport Act 2013, if you arrived in Australia before 1 July 2023, you can use your valid international driver’s licence as long as you:

  • remain a temporary overseas visitor
  • have a current overseas licence
  • have not accrued 13 demerit points
  • have not been disqualified from driving in NSW or anywhere else
  • have not had your licence suspended or cancelled, or your visiting driving privileges withdrawn
  • carry your overseas driver or rider licence with you
  • have not been convicted of a drug or alcohol-related driving offence.

If your licence is not written in English, you must also carry an English translation or an International Driving Permit. This is issued by the motoring association or embassy of the country where you are licensed to drive.

You don’t have to get an NSW licence if you meet these conditions and can prove your visitor status to the police if asked.

However, effective 1 July 2023, your driving privileges will be withdrawn if you:

  • accrue 13 demerit points, or
  • are convicted of a serious driving offence (listed under section 224 of the Road Transport Act 2013), or
  • are suspended or disqualified from driving a motor vehicle in any part of Australia or another country; or
  • are convicted of a drug or alcohol-related driving offence.

If you wish to drive again in NSW, you will be required to obtain an NSW driver’s licence once you have completed your suspension or disqualification period (whichever is applicable). You will not be permitted to drive again in NSW using your overseas licence.

International Licences – Arrivals after 1 July 2023


If you arrived in Australia after 1 July 2023 and have been a resident of NSW for a continuous period of six months, you must obtain an NSW driver’s licence to continue driving legally in the state. Failure to do so can result in penalties of up to $2,200 in fines as well as other legal consequences such as withdrawal of your licence.


Several defences can be explored when facing a charge related to driving without a valid NSW licence. One common avenue is establishing that you were not a resident of NSW at the time of the alleged offence. Another frequently used defence is to argue that you did not receive the ‘Notice of Withdrawal of Visiting Driver Privileges’ (Notice).

It is critical to note that each case is unique, and the specific circumstances will determine the most effective defence. Therefore, seeking guidance from experienced criminal law professionals who can assess your situation and provide tailored advice is highly recommended.

When it comes to international licences in NSW, getting the right legal advice is crucial. Repute Law’s Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers possess a wealth of knowledge and skill in this area, enabling them to provide tailored advice and effective representation. Our track record of success speaks volumes, and we have helped numerous clients navigate the complexities of the legal system.


If you are facing or have been charged with criminal law offences related to international licences in NSW, Repute Law is your trusted partner. Our team of Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers and dedicated Case Concierge® will ensure you receive the highest quality legal representation and exceptional client service throughout your case.

Remember, driving across borders can be a complex legal matter, but with Repute Law by your side, you can rest easy knowing you have experienced professionals fighting for your rights.

Repute Law, with its team of Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers, is the ideal choice to handle your case. Unlike other firms, Repute Law consists solely of lawyers who are senior legal experts with extensive experience in criminal law. With no junior lawyers going to Court, you can rest assured that seasoned professionals will handle your case.

Furthermore, Repute Law assigns each client a dedicated Case Concierge. These qualified lawyers act as your personal guide throughout your legal process. They are there to provide invaluable support and expert advice, helping you make informed decisions about your options. They ensure you are Court Ready® by thoroughly preparing you for your Court appearance. This unique process includes guidance on Court proceedings, how to address the Court and more.

At Repute Law, we understand the significant consequences that criminal law charges can have on your life. We are committed to protecting your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case. Our legal team stays up to date with the latest developments in criminal law, including relevant guideline judgments that may impact your situation.

By engaging Repute Law at the earliest opportunity, our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers can promptly gather evidence, interview witnesses and prepare the best possible defence. Our team will negotiate with the police, aiming to minimise reputational loss by seeking to have the charges reduced or even dismissed without going to court. Early representation could mean the difference between keeping or losing your licence.

Don’t leave your future to chance – contact Repute Law today to get started on building a strong defence and securing the best possible outcome for your situation.

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