How to Get Your Ontario Driver’s License For New Immigrants

Driver's License

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The purpose of the blog below is to allow young immigrants understand how to obtain a driver’s license

Every immigrant decides to embark on a new journey for the sake of their future generations living a better life than they had. This could come down to  better education, being politically safe, having a better healthcare system or embracing a better lifestyle for your future children.  With migrating a to a new country,   there comes a new system which requires immigrants to    adjust, whether its culture, provincial rules or by language.   With adjusting to a new country,  immigrants need to think about how they can keep some of their life skills strong and not get rusty,  one of those life skills can be a day to day activity such as obtaining a driver’s license. 

Living in Ontario,  it comes to no surprise that thousands of Ontarians drive to work daily, with companies  preferring candidates who are fully licensed drivers [ G-class drivers]. As a new immigrant who has decided to migrate to Ontario, the rules are not the same as the country you came from.  The process in Ontario is tad  bit different, and this varies from province to province.  

In Ontario, for residents to be permitted to operate behind a vehicle, they must be over the age of 16, having passed a knowledge test about safety issues behind the wheel, which road sign you should follow when applicable  and speed limits.  Once drivers have passed the knowledge test formally known as G1, young drivers  have the chance to  operate any vehicle under the supervision of an experienced driver, guardian or driving instructor.  

Ontario  requires drivers after their G1 to wait until 8 to 12 months to obtain their G2, permitting drivers to drive without supervision.  After obtaining your G2, drivers must pass their G-test  which is known to test drivers on their skill set for highways, allowing drivers to be fully licensed in Ontario, never having to take any other test in their lifetime while being in Canada. 

Though this  process may take a long time, there are alternative routes immigrants could explore as the process above may apply to  offspring of immigrants while immigrants themselves may  be able to become a fully pledged driver quicker.  Below are ways immigrants can obtain their drivers license in Ontario.

1.Your driver’s license is dependent on how many years you have driven in your home country

As a new immigrant arriving to Canada, you may think you may have to settle for doing the custom three part driving process [G1,G2 and G], but there are ways immigrants who hold a driving license from their own country can be a fully licensed driver in a shorter period of time.

According to research,  if you are travelling to Ontario  for less than three months, you only need  your drivers license from your  own country, if you are staying for more than three months, you need both your drivers license from your own country and an international drivers permit which  basically allows immigrants from other countries to travel for vacation purposes (Just For Canada,2022).  

If you are migrating to Ontario for education purposes, you must have your drivers license from your own country,  that will allow you to drive up to 60 days before you have to do your driving test ( your experience and your country will depend on whether or not you have to complete your G2 or G test) (Just For Canada,2022).  If immigrants are from select countries such as  Germany or Great Britain [ full list of countries are on the Ontario website ], they can go straight to G-test (Just For Canada,2022).  If  immigrants have  more than two years of driving experience, the eye exam is only needed,  if immigrants have less than two years of experience,  you are mandated to take both the vison exam and the G2 (Just For Canada,2022).

If you come from a country that is not approved on the Ontario website that is classified as “Class five”,  immigrants  are more than likely told to take the full three step process mentioned above  (more information could be found on the Ontario website for immigrants who do not come from the class five countries).

https://www.otip.com/Why-OTIP/News/Don%E2%80%99t-get-caught-without-a-valid-driver%E2%80%99s-licence!

2. Foreign  Driver’s License Exchange program

The second way immigrants could look to obtain their drivers license is through the foreign exchange program.  If immigrants are  migrating from countries such as the United States of America, France , Belgium, or Germany, they are eligible to exchange for an Ontario license [ More countries are eligible, see the rest on the hyperlink]  (The HumberviewGroup, 2022).

There are a few documentations that all immigrants must have to start the process of obtaining your Ontario license, all immigrants must have their current license on them, showing where they have completed their driving tests from (which country they got it from)  (The HumberviewGroup,2022), it has to be expired for no longer than  before one full year, it must have the expiry date on it (TheHuberviewGroup,2022). The second piece of information immigrants need for documentation is proof of who you are, it must show your full name, date of birth and  your signature. 

You can present your health card  from another country as it has your date of birth  and signature on it (The HumberviewGroup,2022). Drivers also need to make sure they have an official transcript of their driving history for the previous six months, also showing when your license was first issued .

If drivers do have more than one year of experience, they must  contact their local embassy/ consulate to have them create a letter that shows proof that they do have driving experience. The letter must be generated from the same area you got your foreign license from and it must be in English  (The HumberviewGroup,2022).

https://www.otip.com/Why-OTIP/News/Don%E2%80%99t-get-caught-without-a-valid-driver%E2%80%99s-licence!

As stated above, if immigrants do struggle with any of the two options listed above, immigrants can choose the same route young drivers do and take the knowledge exam, followed by the road test and the highway test to fully be recognized as an Ontario driver. Young drivers who are currently thinking of taking  driving school should seek more information about foreign drivers and their process to being recognized as a fully pledged driver by Ontario through local instructors/ the driving school itself.

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