Driving in Canada on a non-Canadian driver’s license or an IDP

There is a lot of confusion on whether you can drive in Canada on a non-Canadian Driving License and if yes, then how long? The short answer is yes but the duration depends on what kind of visa you are landing upon and also if you have cared to get yourself an International Drivers Permit. Read to avoid some common mistakes.

Those having an International Drivers Permit (IDP)

International Drivers Permit is an official travel document authorised by the United Nations issued to tourists travelling to other countries. It is generally valid for one year from the date of issue of the document. For those coming from India, please read this link to find out how to apply for one. Please be careful to get this document in English if you are coming from any other country. 

Those having home country Driving License and Tourist Visa

If you are a visitor to Ontario, you are allowed to drive for a period of 90 days on your home country's valid driving license. To drive for more than 90 days, you would require an IDP. Driving permissions differ in different provinces so please research that carefully while planning.

You will also need to:

  • be at least 16 years old
  • have proper insurance coverage for the vehicle you will drive
  • carry an original (or exact) copy of the vehicle ownership permit
  • obey traffic laws, drive safely and avoid collisions when you drive

Those having home country Driving License and Resident Visa

If you are a landed permanent or temporary resident you are ONLY ALLOWED 60 DAYS driving in Ontario provided your license is in English. A permanent resident must apply for an Ontario Driver's License. Those who are considered temporary residents like Students may also be allowed to apply for Ontario driving license. 

You will also need to:

  • be at least 16 years old
  • have proper insurance coverage for the vehicle you will drive
  • carry an original (or exact) copy of the vehicle ownership permit
  • obey traffic laws, drive safely and avoid collisions when you drive

Also read: How to get you G1, G2 and G Driving License in Ontario.

Always read the fine print

It pains me to see that it is commonly misunderstood that permanent residents are allowed 90 days of driving and they unintentionally become vulnerable to being prosecuted by law if caught. You will land into a very complicated situation if you happen to get involved in an accident on your 61st day. Please use your judgement and don't endanger your future.

Also, a lesser known fact is that once you take the G1 Test in Ontario, by default your home country's driving license is no longer considered valid. Because you become a learner again. Once you get your G1 License, you are only allowed to drive if you are being accompanied by another driver who must have a valid Class G (or higher) licence, at least four years of driving experience and a blood-alcohol level of less than .05 per cent when accompanying you. Read the entire list of restrictions here.

Questions!!

In case you have any questions which have not been adequately addressed above, please join our Facebook group Helping Newcomers to Canada and ask them. There are a lot of experienced folks in the forum who may be able to guide you. Thanks for reading.

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Experli

Experli aims to provide expert local insights to newcomers to Canada in their employment and settling related needs. The idea is to build a central resource repository for newcomers to help them integrate well into the Canadian society. Lets us pave the way for a happier society and help unlock the potential of youth to support Canadian economic prosperity.

Experli

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