Courses for New Immigrants

One of the many challenges that all immigrants face upon migrating to a foreign country is updating their documents to fit that nation’s requirements. Among the most necessary personal documents that need to be updated immediately are our driver’s licence.

Luckily, Ontario has specific and effective procedures when it comes to obtaining a Canadian licence. Any valid non-Ontario licence may be used for the first few days of your visit or residency as you get settled into the province. However, this privilege does expire after 60 DAYS and you will need to get a licence issued in Ontario.

If you are a new immigrant or are preparing to move to Ontario, there are many ways to get a valid driver’s licence. It’s all a matter of where you are coming from and how much experience you have, plus owning the documents and skills to prove them.

Here are the different ways you can get a new driver’s licence in Ontario:

ONTARIO LICENCE EXCHANGE

Under the Ontario driver’s licence exchange, you can simply swap your existing licence for an Ontario driver’s licence if you are an immigrant from the following territories:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Ireland
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • USA

Coming from these countries is the surest and easiest way to get a new licence. To proceed with the exchange, you will need to visit the Ontario DriveTest centre. Here, you will:

  1. Pass avision test
  2. Present an original, valid identity document showing your legal name, date of birth and signature.

These documents are accepted as proof of identity in Ontario:

  • For Canadian citizens:
    • Canadian passport signed by bearer
    • Canadian citizenship card with photo and signature
    • Secure Certificate of Indian Status Card
    • Ontario Photo Card
  • For temporary residents:
    • Study permit
    • Work permit
    • Visitor record
    • Temporary Resident Permit
    • Refugee Status Claim
    • IMM 7703 (intent to claim refugee status)
    • IMM 1442 (report pursuant to immigration) with photo
    • Ontario Photo Card
  • For permanent residents:
    • PR Card
    • Record of Landing
    • COPR accompanied by a valid foreign passport
    • Ontario Photo Card

3. Present your valid non-Ontario licence.

4. Present an original documents, on official letterhead, printed in English or French, issued within 6 months and provided by originating jurisdiction, Embassy, Consulate or High Commissioner’s Office representing the jurisdiction that authenticates your driving experience either in years (e.g. 2001) or directly (e.g. October 1, 2002).

5. Supply an Ontario residential address (including street name and number, lot, concession, township, mining location, etc.) and a postal code.

6. Provide payment for applicable fees

7. ____Fill out an application form, supplying necessary details such as how long you have been driving

Note:

The driver’s licence and authentication document must be printed in English or French otherwise it must be translated by a Ministry of Transportation approved translator. A-Translation by a non-Canadian embassy, consulate, or high commissioner’s office is acceptable, but not translations by other translators from the country where the licence was issued.

DRIVING LEVELS IN ONTARIO

The licence you will automatically be exchanged come in different levels based on your years of driving experience :

  • G1 - This type of licence is obtained by an immigrant with less than 2 years of driving experience. In Ontario, it is considered as a beginner’s permit and may invoke certain restrictions such as being disallowed from driving during certain time frames (such as rush hours)
  • G2 - For foreigners with more than 2 years of driving experience, you can take the G2 road test and then apply for a full licence. This comes with fewer restrictions than G1 and is the intermediate level of drivers in Ontario .
  • G - To get a full licence, you need to enter at the G2 level and take a few tests for a G-level permit. There is a short waiting period to obtain this licence.

To book a road test, you will need the following:

  • Your Driver’s Licence number (on the photo card)
  • Your postal code (if booking online)
  • Your preferred location for taking the test
  • A 2nd and 3rd alternative location for taking the test
  • Your preferred date and time for taking the test

You can book your road test online at www.drivetest.ca or via phone through these numbers: 647-776-0331 or 1-888-570-6110. You may also book a road test in person at any Drive Test Centre.

To prepare for the written exam, you will need to obtain the Ontario Official Driver Handbook at a cost of $16.00. This is something you can purchase online, from a DriveTest office or from certain retail stores. The MTO handbooks can be purchased through this link http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/handbooks.shtml.

Some important reminders to keep in mind when assessing your level and applying for a Canadian licence:

  • Many immigrants usually enter at the G2 level based on their home licence and driving experience .
  • The G2exit road test can be taken by a G1 drivers with more than 2 years of driving experience.
  • The fastest amount of time to complete the Ontario driver’s licenceexchange is 20 months. The mandatory testing and waiting period between each level prolongs the process for those who are applying for the exchange.

Foreign licence credit

Immigrants from countries not part of the Ontario LicenseLicence Exchange program need not worry about getting a licence . Ontario has an effective policy that might even make it easier to acquire an Ontario licence, at least faster than having to start at a G1 level .

Again, your years of driving experience matters greatly for your eligibility to use your foreign licence credit. Proving your experience with supporting documents will allow you to skip more of the waiting period and get your Ontario licencefaster .

Proving Your Driving Experience

In order to apply for foreign licencecredit , you must be 16 years old or older. You will also need to complete your application at your chosen Ontario DriveTest location with the following:

  • Documentation — The documents listed for the licence exchange program are also the ones needed to get a foreign licence credit
  • Vision Test — This assesses your ability to see well to drive well, or if eyeglasses are a prerequisite for driving
  • Written Test — This assesses your knowledge of Ontario's driving laws and practices
  • One or Two Driving Tests — The number of driving tests you need to pass depends on your experience and documents
  • Letter of Authentication — This proves that you have more than 1 year of driving experience, as declared in your application

Please note that the Letter of Authentication will be your primary proof of experience. This letter must come from the same region where your foreign licence was issued. This letter must also be from the official letterhead, from an embassy, consulate or High Commissioner's Office of your home region. The letter also needs to be dated within 6 months of your application, and translated into English or French.

For those who do not have copies of the documents that will prove your driving experience at the time of your application, you are allowed to proceed with the application and have the proof of experience added later on. This enables you to start the application process sooner, therefore finishing the process earlier than you would have if you waited on those documents.

Foreign Licence Credit Simplified

We know all this sounds quite complicated, so allow us to break this down for you:

“I have less than 1 year of driving experience. What do I do?”

  • For new drivers, taking a G2 Driving Exam is a must.
  • However, the more experience you have that gets credited, the lesser the wait time to take the G2 exam.
  • After passing the G2, you will need to wait with the full mandatory time to get to the G level.

“I have been driving for over a year, but less than 2 years. What do I do?”

  • Lucky for you, as soon as you prove that you are an experienced driver, you can take the G2 exam with no waiting period.
  • However, you will still have to take the G Driving Exam with the full mandatory wait time to get a full licence.

“I have proof that I have been driving for over 2 years. What do I do?”

  • Drivers immigrating with as much foreign driving experience as 2 years no longer have to take the G1 exit test to get your G2.
  • You can proceed directly to taking the Full G2 exit test to get your G licence in Ontario.

Now that you know how to apply for a licence exchange or for foreign licence credit, here are some additional information regarding the different driving levels in Ontario:

G1 licence restrictions

A G1 or beginner’s licence in Ontario allows you to drive under the following restrictions:

  • You must maintain a zero-blood-alcohol level at all times.
  • You need to make sure that all passengers in your vehicle are wearing a seatbelt.
  • You are not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 AM.
  • You are not allowed to drive on 400-series expressways.
  • You need to drive with a fully licenced driver, one who has a blood-alcohol level less than 0.05 or zero if they are under 21. The accompanying driver must also have at least 4 years of driving experience, listed as 4 dots on the driver’s licence card.
  • You are required to practice with your G1 licence for 12 months.

G2 licence restrictions

A G2 or intermediate licence allows you to:

  • Drive on all Ontario roads, including the 400-series expressways
  • Drive on your own without an accompanying experienced driver
  • Drive any time of the day

However, a G2 licence still requires:

  • A zero-blood-alcohol level at all times
  • Having only as many passengers as there are working seatbelts

If you are 19 or under, you can only have one passenger who is 19 or younger with you in the car between the hours of 12 AM and 5 AM. This applies for the first 6 months of your G2 licence.

After those months, you are then allowed to drive with up to 3 passengers of those ages in those hours. However, if there is a fully licenced driver with at least 4 years driving experience, or if there are family members with you in the car, this rule no longer applies.

Conclusion

Isn’t it great to know that Ontario has such specific measures in place for everyone’s protection? Rest assured, obtaining a licence in Ontario will be well worth it with the beautiful roads and destinations that you can enjoy.

Following these rules ensures a hassle-free process, one that you will be grateful for as you cruise through the streets knowing that every driver is responsible for their behavior on the road.

Happy driving!