Restricted Licence Restricted Licence

Restricted Licence

The second stage in getting your Car Licence is to get your Restricted Licence. This involves sitting a practical driving test.
Take a look at our handy guide to prepare for your Restricted Licence test.

Prepare for your Restricted Licence test in four easy steps

1. Get a driving coach

You must have a driver with a Full Licence (for a minimum of two years) in the car with you at all times while you are driving on a Learner Licence. When selecting your coach, pick someone who will be supportive and help you learn.

Drive has resources for coaches who are teaching or are going to teach learner drivers. Let your coach know about these as it will help both of you get the best out of the experience.

2.  Practice for your test

There is no absolute rule about how many hours of driving practice you should have done before you are ready to sit your test. The NZ Transport Agency recommends around 120 hours, but depending on how your skills have progressed you and/or your coach may feel that you need slightly longer.

In addition to using your coach it is a good idea to book in a few lessons with a driving instructor. Using a driving instructor while preparing for your test can increase your likelihood of passing.

There are some great resources available to help you to develop your practical driving skills. Drive is a free website for young drivers that has video driving lessons and an insider guide to help you pass your restricted test.

While you are on your Learner Licence there a few rules to be aware of:

  • You are legally required to have a driver with a Full Licence in the car with you at all times (your coach)
  • You must display ‘L’ plates on the front and rear of your car at all times
  • You may only carry passengers if your accompanying coach agrees
  • Your coach is responsible for everyone in the vehicle, and for what happens when you’re driving, so they must be fully awake, fully attentive and sober

How do I know when I am ready to book my test?

You should be ready to take the test when you can confidently:

  • Reverse parallel park (in no more than four movements, forward and back) or do a three point turn within two minutes
  • Change lanes safely at high speed (70km/hr or greater) while signalling correctly and performing mirror and shoulder checks
  • Turn right crossing two lanes of incoming traffic, including choosing a safe gap, moving to the correct lane, and positioning the car correctly within the lane throughout the turn
  • Drive in traffic without stalling
  • Drive at an appropriate speed at all times. This means never going over the speed limit and not driving too slowly (i.e. 10km/h or more below the speed limit) when it’s safe to drive at the speed limit
3. Apply to sit your practical test

You can complete your application and make a booking for your practical test:

  • At one of our driver licensing branches or at the premises of any other authorised driver licensing agent.
  • Online at NZ Transport Agency’s website
  • Over the phone at 0800 822 422

Before your test, you must also come to one of our driver licensing branches to do the following:

  • Fill out the application form (if you haven’t already)
  • Complete an eyesight screening check or present your eyesight certificate
  • Have your photo taken and sign your licence
  • Book a time to do your practical test (if you haven’t done so already)
  • Pay for your test (if you haven’t done so already). View current costs

What you need to bring with you:

  • Your photographic Learners Licence or, if you are on a Temporary Licence, you will need to bring your current New Zealand passport or two other approved forms of identification
  • A medical certificate (if required)
  • The filled out application form (DL1) – you can do this ahead of time
  • Any prescription glasses or contact lenses you currently wear (if applicable)
4. Sit your test

The Restricted Licence practical driving test takes about an hour. This time includes checking your car at the beginning and receiving feedback at the end. Before you arrive to sit the test, make sure you have done everything on our pre-test checklist.

The testing officer’s feedback will include whether you have passed and an explanation of any errors made. This means that you know what to look out for when preparing for your Full Licence test.

What you need to know about your Restricted Licence

The NZ Transport Agency sets the following conditions for a Restricted Licence.

  • You must be at least 16½ years old to get your Restricted Licence.
  • You must also have held your Learner Licence for at least 6 months.
  • You can drive on your own between 5am and 10pm.
  • Between 10pm and 5am you must have a supervisor.
  • If you sit your test in an automatic vehicle, you will only be allowed to drive automatic vehicles. This doesn’t apply when you have a supervisor.
  • You must not carry passengers unless you have a supervisor with you. There are a small number of circumstances where you may carry passengers without a supervisor. See our frequently asked questions.

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Pre-test checklist

Six must do’s before you arrive to sit your Restricted car licence test

  1. Have you completed all the booking process requirements?
    - Completed your application form?
    - Sat an eye exam or provided a relevant certificate?
    - Paid for your test?
  2. Do you have your Learner Licence with you for the test? You need to bring your photographic licence in with you or, if you’re on a temporary licence, you’ll need to bring your current New Zealand passport or two other approved forms of identification.
  3. Does your vehicle have?
    - A current Warrant of Fitness (WoF)
    - A current rego (Vehicle Licence)
    - A current Road User Charges (RUC) Licence (if you are using a diesel car)
    - Approved L-plates displayed front and rear
    - A clean and tidy passenger seat for the testing officer
  4. Have you practised? You’ll probably need at least 120 hours driving practice before your test. Drive is a free website for young drivers that has video driving lessons and an insider guide to help you pass your restricted test.
  5. Have you double-checked when and where your test is? Make sure you know how to get to your test location and how long it takes to get there. It’s a good idea to arrive at least 30 minutes before your test. If your test is the first of the day, check what time your location opens as you may not be able to get into the branch.
  6. Have you checked your fuel? Make sure that the car you’re doing your test in has enough fuel to get to your testing location, complete the test and then get you back home.

Bringing along a support person

You can bring a support person with you as long as they meet the requirements. If you are feeling very anxious about sitting the test and you think bringing a support person will help you relax, then we encourage you to do so. Remember that your support person must not distract you or your testing officer or you will have to re-sit the test.

Re-sitting your test

Don’t worry if you don’t pass on the first go – you can always try again. Your testing officer will explain why you weren’t successful and what you should work on before you re-sit.

They will then hand you back your Learner Licence so that you can continue practising. When you’re ready to re-sit your Restricted test you will need to make another booking and pay the additional test fee.

What happens when I pass?

You should feel great – you would have worked really hard to get your Restricted Licence! You will be issued with a temporary licence and your photographic licence will be posted in the mail.
You are now able to drive between 5am and 10pm without passengers. If you wish to drive with passengers, make sure you are familiar with the Restricted Licence conditions.

Preparing for your Full Licence test

You have six to 18 months to prepare for your Full Licence test – or up to five years if you need more time. We encourage you to go for your Full Licence as soon as you are ready, so that you can get full freedom when driving – including driving with passengers. Go to Full Licence to find out more about the final stage.

Any further questions?

  1. Check our frequently asked questions to see if your question has been answered
  2. Visit the NZ Transport Agency or call their Driver Licensing helpline on 0800 822 422.

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