Ask LH: Will Switching States Speed Up My P-Plates?

Ask LH: Will Switching States Speed Up My P-Plates?

Hi Lifehacker, I’m a P-plater from Victoria who is now living in NSW. The P-plate restriction in Victoria runs for four years. I wanted to ask whether if I transfer my license to a NSW license I’d escape the last year of my P-plate restriction? Which set of rules apply and what’s the best way to switch? Thanks, Impatient Driver

P-plate picture from Shutterstock

Dear ID,

Under NSW’s current interstate licence transfer system, motorists who have held a Victorian provisional licence for more than three years can automatically apply for an unrestricted license. You’ll need to pay a licencing fee of $54 (for a one-year licence), $128 (for a three-year licence) or $170 (for a five-year licence).

Victorian drivers who have held their provisional licence for less than three years are transferred to a NSW provisional P2 driver licence instead. On the plus side, you won’t have to take any driving tests and the provisional licence transfer is free.

If you’re just shy of the three-year mark, we’d recommend waiting so you can be instantly bumped up to a full licence. Just be aware that you are required to obtain a NSW licence within three months of residency. (With that said, this is one of those arbitrary road rules that are difficult to enforce and which interstate motorists tend to ignore. Take that for what it’s worth.)

There are some additional steps involved for drivers under the age of 25. As the NSW Roads and Maritime Services explains on its website:

You may be required to obtain a letter from the relevant interstate issuing authority (on their letterhead) confirming your licence details (including first issue date) and status. Alternatively, customer service staff may obtain the first issue date from the issuing authority. However, you may be required to return to the registry or Service NSW centre on another day.

Here is the transfer procedure once everything is in order:

  • Take your interstate licence to a registry or Service NSW centre.
  • Provide proof of identity.
  • Provide proof of your residential address.
  • Complete the Licence Application form.
  • Pass an eyesight test.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Pay licence fee.
  • Satisfy relevant medical requirements.
  • Meet all other relevant Roads and Maritime licensing requirements.
    Your NSW photo licence will then be issued and your old one will be hold-punched (you can’t have more than one Australian licence.)

    If you’re not sure how long you’ll be living in NSW, save some money and plump for the 12-month licence. If you’re pretty sure you’ll be sticking around, a three/five year licence will save you money in the long run and will also remove the hassle of going through renewal process every 12 months.


    Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].


  • @Grantguest

    I assume to avoid these rules:

    There are two kinds of probationary licenses in Victoria:

    P1 (red P plate), which lasts for at least the first 12 months of probationary driving
    P2 (green P plate), which normally starts 12 months from when you get your P1 license and lasts for at least three years

    A P1 driver is not allowed to carry more than one “peer passenger” when driving. A “peer passenger” is a person who is between 16 and 22 who is NOT a P1 driver’s:

    Spouse or domestic partner
    Sibling or step-sibling

    So, for example, if you’re on your P1s you can drive your brother and your sister around (no matter what their age), as well as one other person between 16 or 22. You can’t, however, drive three of your mates around (unless two of them are over 22).

    For more information, check out the VicRoads Peer Passenger Restriction page (new window).
    Other Rules and Restrictions for P1 Drivers

    As a P1 probationary driver, the following restrictions apply:

    You’re not allowed to tow anything unless you’re doing it for work or you’re under instruction
    If your licence is cancelled or suspended as a result of a traffic offence, you’re only allowed to carry one passenger in total (whatever their age) for the balance of your P1 period (there are exceptions to this rule)

    Rules and Restrictions for P1 and P2 Drivers

    The following rules and restrictions apply to both P1 AND P2 probationary drivers:

    You can’t drive high powered vehicles such as eight cylinder cars, cars with turbocharged or supercharged engines, or nominated high performance six cylinder cars (offences will attract a fine and three demerit points) – check out the VicRoads prohibited vehicles page (new window) for details
    Any suspension, drink driving offence without licence cancellation or suspension, or drug driving offence will result in an extension of your current P1 or P2 period

    • So we can have shit ideas like forcing L platers to drive 90kmph on 110kmph single lane highways because it works in major cities like Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane?

      NSW is bad enough for that crap, I’d rather not have them pull their might over the whole country.

  • “With that said, this is one of those arbitrary road rules that are difficult to enforce and which interstate motorists tend to ignore. ”

    Those ignoring it might find their insurance is no longer valid..

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