Immigration and Citizenship

How to Get Canadian Driving License -for Newcomers

How to obtain Ontario Driving License
with our Home Country’s D/License

Dear all,

Let me address another query which getting repetitive here. The procedure of obtaining a Canadian driving license is pretty much simple within our 1st few days [max a week]. Remember, this is ‘easy’ if we are coming from countries which has a similar driving & road management conditions [read ‘left-hand drive’]. If not, we may have to undertake some training before we apply.

Pre-conditions / Which License:
1. If we have over 24 months ‘overseas’ driving experience -we get the Ontario G2 Driving License.
2. If we have over 12 months [but less than 24] driving experience -we get the Ontario G1 Driving License.
(Details below)

Direct Swap of Licenses:
If our home country doesn’t have a *reciprocal licence exchange agreement with Ontario, we cannot Swap our current D/License to get a Toronto-ON D/License.
*Reciprocal License Exchange Agreement exists between Ontario and: US, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Germany, France, UK, Austria & Belgium.

What is the Procedure then:
But, in that case do we have to START all over Again? No… We can immediately apply & get a Toronto (Ontario) Driving License thru the following procedure:

Step-1 -Before we ‘Land’:
1. We must obtain a ‘Letter of Authentication’* from the country’s Roads & Transport Authority, explaining** our D/License.
2. Take also a ‘True Translation Copy’* of our D/License from Road & Transport Authority. Both 1 & 2 maybe clubbed in one.
3. Obtain an International Driving License/Permit*** (IDL / IDP).
stating “more than 24 months” driving experience in our country.
*In English or French, the 2 Canadian Official Languages.
**The explanation should include 24 or 12 months driving experience [the Pre-conditions will apply].
***This is nothing but a translated copy of our present D/license. (it can be used in lieu of point-1 & 2 above).

Benefits of the IDL / IDP:
With the foregoing, we can drive a car abroad for three [3] months (2 months, in Ontario). Within that time apply for the Ontario Driving License. This International Driving Licenses [IDL/IDP]are issued against our original D/Licenses by the Automobile Associations or [sometimes] the RTA/RTO of our home country. Check them for more details.

Step-2 -After you ‘Land’:
In such cases we are called ‘Out of Country Drivers’ and we can skip the G2 ‘waiting period’ and get the G2 license immediately [with that 24 months letter] or a G1 driving license [if we only have the above 12 months letter].

Now for the Ontario driver’s licence are required to;
1. Present a valid foreign Driver’s License*,
2. Provide an acceptable Proof of Identity [SIN, PR card etc.]
3. Pay all applicable Fees,
4. Pass a Vision Test
5. Pass the Written Knowledge Test -regarding Ontario’s traffic rules.
*If it is not in English or French, it is to be accompanied by a written translation from a qualified translator; [we got that, as the Authentication Letter]

Note: Applicants are required to provide adequate proof of foreign driving experience. However, if it is not there, the ministry will accept applicants’ declaration of their foreign driving experience on the driver’s licence application for up to a maximum of 12 months experience. In that case we get the G1* license only.

Step-3 -The Tests to take:
Based on the 24 months Authentication Letter the ministry will recognize the applicant’s foreign driving experience as certified on the authentication letter AND,

1. After Step-2, we can attempt the G2*Exit Road Tests (mandatory wait times are waived).
2. Upon successfully passing the G2* Exit Road Test, we get the G2* license.
3. After few months of driving under G2* we can apply for a G*Licence.
4. If we ‘only’ have the 12 months letter & not the 24, we qualify for G1* Road Test & the G1* driving license only.
5. If we don’t provide any letter, we must pass the G1* road test and have a 12-month wait period for taking G2* road test.

*The License Grading Explained [G1, G2 & G]:
G1 License has certain limitations like we have to always drive alongwith a G license holder. It is thus, useless for us, who have good & adequate driving experience under similar driving conditions & system as that of Canada [read ‘left-hand drive’ experience & similar road/traffic management conditions].
G2 License is as good as G, except that we cannot drive on the Highway at certain times (Midnight Rush Hrs. when truck movement starts).
G License is the ‘full fledged’ driving license.


1. The above procedure is mainly addressed for the Ontario (ON) province.
2. The procedure is pretty much similar with all other provinces as well [BC, NS, NB etc.].
3. If we are not coming from a similar driving condition country, we must take some training before we proceed.
4. Usually we can get the G2 driving license quite easily [with the foregoing steps].

Hope that helped…

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