Getting your licence - Graduated Licensing Scheme

Find out how to get your NSW driver licence through the Graduated Licensing Scheme.

What is the Graduated Licensing Scheme

The Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS) is the process you follow to go from your learner driver licence through to your full licence. Through experience, restrictions, conditions and tests, the GLS prepares new drivers to be safe and low risk drivers.

We know that the first 6 months of driving solo is the highest risk period for novice drivers. P1 drivers are 10 times more likely to be in a crash than learner drivers.

The GLS takes drivers from their learner licence to full licence with restrictions and conditions that are designed to ensure they build their skills and knowledge so they understand risks and are safer on the roads. Since its introduction on 1 July 2000, there’s been a 50 per cent reduction in the number of young drivers killed on NSW roads.

Graduated licensing schemes are one of the most effective ways to reduce youth road trauma. These evidence-based schemes help reduce the number of young drivers in crashes. They provide a staged approach to driver licensing and reduce the impact of risk taking behaviour associated with younger drivers. The GLS is one of the key road safety measures that help drive the road toll towards zero.

Changes to the GLS

On 20 November 2017, NSW made further changes to the GLS to better prepare novice drivers for real world hazards.

The changes included:

  • Moving the Hazard Perception Test to the Learner phase to ensure they have these skills before the progress to solo driving
  • Removing the requirement to pass the Driver Qualification Test before progressing to a full licence. Instead, the time a P2 driver spends on their P2 licence will be extended by 6 months each time they receive a licence suspension. This will only apply if they receive a demerit point suspension or a suspension for committing a higher risk road traffic offence (such as exceeding the speed limit by 30km/h or more). Find out more about the extension for P2 drivers who receive a suspension.

The changes align the NSW GLS system with the Australian GLS Policy Framework - a best practice model for graduated licensing - endorsed by all Australian states and territories.

Overview – learner to full licence

There are 6 key steps that need to be achieved to progress from a learner to a full licence:

  1. Pass the Driver Knowledge Test to get your learner licence.
  2. If you're under 25, start supervised driving practice to work towards the 120 hours driving experience you need before you can sit your driving test. You also need to hold your learner licence for at least 10 months before progressing to step 3. If you're 25 or over, you can go straight to step 3.
  3. Attempt the Hazard Perception Test (HPT). This is a computer-based touch screen test that measures your ability to recognise potentially dangerous situations on the road and respond appropriately. If you're under 25 you need to hold your learner licence for at least 12 months and complete your 120 hours of supervised driving practice, including 20 hours of night driving, before moving to step 4. If you're 25 or over you can go straight to step 4 after you pass the HPT.
  4. Book and pass the driving test to get your provisional P1 (red) licence. You will need to hold your P1 licence for at least 12 months before you can progress to step 5.
  5. Apply to upgrade to a provisional P2 (green) licence. You need to hold your P2 licence for at least 24 months before you can progress to step 6. Provisional P2 drivers who receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour must stay on their P2 licence for an extra 6 months for every suspension they receive.
  6. Apply to progress to a full, unrestricted licence.

Converting an interstate or overseas licence to a NSW equivalent

If you hold a licence from another Australian state or territory, or from another country, you may be able to convert it to a NSW equivalent. See Moving to NSW for information.

Getting a motorcycle rider licence

See Rider licences for information.

Getting a heavy vehicle licence

To drive a heavy vehicle you need a licence of the appropriate class. The main way to get a heavy vehicle licence is to complete Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment with a registered training provider. See Heavy vehicle licences for more information.

Getting a taxi driver licence

Taxi drivers in NSW must hold a NSW driver licence and a Taxi Driver Authority. For information, visit the Transport for NSW website.

Taking your photo

Transport for NSW is authorised under NSW law to take and use your photo when we issue you a licence. See Taking your photo for more information.


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