A person who has a foreign driving licence, be it a foreign national or a citizen who obtained a licence from another country is able to convert their foreign licence to a South African licence.
In the case of a foreign national, the applicant should have been granted South African permanent residence. The applicant must convert their foreign driving licence to a South African one within a year of receiving the permanent residence permit.
Failure to convert the licence within one year of getting permanent residence will render it invalid.
You can also apply to convert your driving licence to a South African one if you hold a diplomatic permit but don’t have a permanent residence permit.
A South African national who may have obtained the licence while living abroad can also convert their foreign driving licence to the local one.
Which foreign driving licence can be converted
If your licence is not in one of the official languages of South Africa, you must get a letter of translation of the licence by a competent authority.
Your foreign driving licence will be converted if the licence:
- is valid in the country of issue
- translated into one of the official South African languages
- is accompanied by a letter of validity obtained from the relevant embassy and a translation if the licence is not in an official language of South Africa
- has your photo and signature.
Process of converting your foreign driving licence
Go to the driving licence testing centre (DLTC) in the province where you obtained your permanent residence (For foreign national).
Complete the Application for exchange of a driving licence form (DL1) at any driving licence testing centre.
Complete the notification of change of address or particulars of person or organisation (NCP) form.
- An acceptable identification as required by South African legislation (e.g. identity document (ID), temporary ID, valid South African passport, or foreign passport with permanent residence permit)
- Four black-and-white ID sized photographs
- Current valid foreign driving licence
- Proof of permanent residency in the Republic of South Africa
- Proof that you were not a permanent resident of South Africa at the time the foreign licence was issued (for example, you can produce a passport, permanent residence permit or visa)
- A letter of translation of the licence by a competent authority if the licence is not in one of the official languages of South Africa
- Confirmation from a driving licence issuing authority that you have a valid driving licence (stating the codes and relevant categories of vehicle that the person is permitted to drive) that has not been cancelled or suspended
- In case of an International Driving Permit (IDP), you must submit the driving licence on the authority of which the permit was issued
- Proof of residential address e.g. utility account. If the utility bill is not in your name, the owner of the bill must make an affidavit declaring that you live at the address and the utility bill must be attached to the affidavit.
If you stay at an informal settlement, you must bring a letter with an official date stamp from the ward councillor confirming your residential address
Outcome of application for converting a foreign driving licence
The driving licence testing centre will issue the driving licence if it is satisfied that:
– you are the owner of the foreign driving licence
– you hand over your foreign driving licence or driving permit when you receive your South African licence.
You will not be required to undergo a driving licence examination but an eye test will be conducted on site before the exchange is finalised.
How long does it take
The time-frame for exchanging the licence varies from one testing centre to another due to internal auditing processes.
How much does it cost
Contact your local licensing office for the cost.
Forms to complete
The Application for driving licence (DL1) form is available at any driving licence testing centre and on eNatis.