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What are the Licence Requirements If You're a New Resident in Ontario?

A young couple, on a blue background, each carrying boxes of items they've packed for their move.

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.

If you have an out-of-province or foreign driver’s licence, it will only be valid for 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 Ministry of Transportation. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

How you go about getting an Ontario driver's licence depends on where you're coming from. Here's what you need to know.

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

If you're moving to Ontario and have another provincial driver's licence, you can exchange your licence for a full G Ontario licence without any extra testing. You may be asked for an eye test to establish whether you can drive without glasses though.

There are some exceptions to this rule: You must have had two or more years of driving experience with a full licence, and you must 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 then graduate to a full G licence by taking 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 G1 test and a G2 test to obtain a full licence. The Ministry of Transportation outlines how their system works for each select country on their 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 process to obtain an Ontario licence:

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

If you’re not from one of these countries, the process is a bit lengthier. First, you'll have to provide an official confirmation of your licence from your country's ministry of transportation or from another government body like an embassy or consulate. It needs to be dated (and written within the last 6 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 full wait times to take each new licence test (8-12 months to go from a G1 to G2, another 12 months to go from G2 to G).

If you have 1-2 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 towards the mandatory wait time between licences. That means you may not have to wait the full 12 months to go from a G2 to G.

If you have 2 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 having to go through the 12-month waiting period.

Obtaining Car Insurance

No matter where you're coming from, car insurance is always mandatory in order to drive a car in Ontario. Start your search and compare auto insurance rates in Ontario at Rates.ca.