Are you a new resident driver in Ontario?

Man putting seatbelt on while in driver's seat

There are many things to consider when moving to a new province or country, and understanding the driving requirements in your new location should be on that list.

What are the licence requirements if you’re a new resident in Ontario?

An out-of-province or foreign driver’s licence is valid for only the first 60 days from when you arrive in Ontario. After that, you’re legally required to obtain an Ontario driver’s licence from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Failure to do so could result in a fine.

Here’s what you need to know about getting an Ontario driver’s licence — it differs depending on where you’re from.

Obtaining a driver’s licence if you’re moving to Ontario from within Canada

If you’re moving to Ontario from within Canada, you can exchange your out-of-province driver’s licence for an Ontario licence without extra testing. You may be asked for an eye test to establish whether you can drive without glasses.

There are some exceptions to this rule: you must have had two or more years of driving experience with a full licence and have had that driving experience in the last three years. If you have less than two years of experience with a full licence, you can acquire a G2 licence. You can move through the graduated licensing system by getting a full G licence once you’ve completed the G2 exit test.

If you had an out-of-province learner’s permit, then you may only be eligible for a G1 learner’s licence in Ontario and will have to undergo a G2 test and a G test to obtain a full licence. The Ministry of Transportation outlines how its system works for each select country on its website.

Obtaining a driver’s licence if you’re moving to Ontario from another country

Ontario also has a licence exchange agreement with some countries that have similar licensing processes and road safety rules as Ontario. Here’s the list of select countries that have a streamlined approach to obtaining an Ontario licence:

  • The United States
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • The United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

The process is a bit lengthier if you’re not from one of these countries. First, you’ll have to provide an official confirmation of your licence from your country’s ministry of transportation or another government body like an embassy or consulate. It needs to be dated (and written within the last six months), written on official letterhead, and written in English or French.

The type of licence you get and how quickly you can obtain a full G licence depends on your driving experience.

If you have less than a year of driving experience in the last three years, you’ll only be able to get a G1 learner’s permit, and you’ll have to go through the wait times to take each new licence test (eight to 12 months to go from a G1 to G2, and another 12 months to go from G2 to G).

If you have one to two years of driving experience in the last three years, you’ll be eligible to take the G1 exit test immediately. If you pass, you’ll obtain a G2 licence. The MTO may also recognize your driving experience as time toward the mandatory wait time between licences. That means you may not have to wait the entire 12 months to go from a G2 to G.

If you have two or more years of driving experience in the last three years, you’ll be eligible to take either a G1 or G2 exit test. If you take the G2 exit test and pass, you’ll have a full G licence. If you take the G1 exit test, you’ll get a G2 licence and be immediately eligible to take the G2 exit test without going through the 12-month waiting period.

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