Ask LH: Can I Use My Foreign Licence To Dodge A Driving Suspension?

Ask LH: Can I Use My Foreign Licence To Dodge A Driving Suspension?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m 29 and have a P1 drivers licence in NSW. I recently had my licence suspended for driving 6km over the limit (harsh I think.) I’m going back to the UK for a month and was thinking of getting my UK licence. If I do come back to Australia, am I able to drive on this licence even though my NSW license is suspended? Thanks, Licence To Drive

British car pic via Shutterstock

Dear LTD,

Dual citizens score a lot of great loopholes — but this isn’t one of them.

Technically speaking, your UK licence would be valid in Australia as long as it was current and you adhered to its conditions (such as vehicle type.) However, if you’re a permanent Australian resident or hold a permanent visa, you can only use your overseas licence for a limited time. In NSW, the cut-off date is just three months. After that, your international licence will be considered void.

On top of this, it’s against the law to hold more than one licence simultaneously in Australia. You are still considered a “licence holder” even when your licence is suspended. If a police officer asks to see your licence and you show the UK one, they will probably ask if it’s the only licence you hold. Lying could land you in very hot water.

This is an extremely risky game to play — especially if your car is registered in your name. A quick police check will immediately bring up your suspended licence, which supersedes the UK one. This means you will be guilty of driving on a suspended licence, holding more than one licence at the same time and possibly lying to police.

Personally, I wouldn’t risk it. In any event, if you were truly speeding just 6km over the limit, the suspension period will be over by the time you get back from the UK.


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  • No, you broke the law. You should suffer the consequences. You know the things called a speedometer and brakes? Try using them next time

    • An arbitrary, outdated law that fails to account for experience, current conditions, improvements in car manufacturing and safety standards – just to name a few.
      Travelling 6km/h slower will make certain specific crashes marginally safer, but at what cost? Despite endangering nobody (evidenced by the fact they didn’t crash), the Police still demand money using the threat of being shot (the inevitable result of refusing to do as told by Police; fine->non payment->court summons->warrant->attempt to detain->bang).

      The law is not a basis for morality. Get off your damn high horse, breaking the law doesn’t mean they have done anything wrong. Many laws are simple revenue raising; especially motoring fines. This can be seen in how cameras are hidden (despite what the police may say) and notification isn’t even provided until potentially weeks after. If the driver had been swerving, or excessively speeding and had received a fine at the time by an officer then your response would be justified, but it isn’t.

  • When your licence is suspended in QLD it also suspends your right to drive on QLD roads (on any licence). I assume NSW would be similar.

  • No, as you have an australian drivers license, it means you cannot drive on a UK license in the country anymore.

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