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How to exchange a foreign driver’s license in Ontario

Lauren Alexander

November 19, 2022

Are you an newcomer to Ontario looking to drive in the province? Ontario’s rules about who can drive and when can be confusing. Kruzee has you covered with this guide on how to drive in Ontario if you’ve come from another country or province. 

Can you drive in Ontario with a foreign license? 

If you’re in Ontario for 60 days or less, you won’t need an Ontario license, as long as you have a valid license from your home country. If you’re here for 3 months or less and don’t want to exchange your license, you may be able to get an international driver’s permit or international driving from your home country. An international driver’s permit essentially translates your license from home into French and English.

Find out more about getting an international driver’s permit.

However, after 60 days, you’ll need to get an Ontario license. How you obtain an Ontario license will depend on which country you came from, as well as how long you’ve been driving. 

How can I exchange my driver’s license in Ontario?

If you’ve moved to Ontario and plan to stay for the long term, you may consider exchanging your license. Exchanging your license will mean giving up your current license from your previous country. 

Ontario has an agreement with a few different countries that allows you to simply exchange your current license for an Ontario license easily. Note that you can only exchange a full driver’s license, not a learner’s permit or novice-class license. 

These include: other Canadian provinces (Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, etc.), Canadian Armed Forces licenses, the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, and Taiwan. 

If your license is from a place with an exchange agreement and you have over 2 years of driving experience, you’ll just need to take an eye test. If you have less than 2 years experience, you’ll need to wait until you have 2 years of driving experience and take both an eye test and a G2 road test. For tips on passing your G2 driving test, look here

To apply to exchange your license, you need to apply in-person at a DriveTest Centre near you or at the Bay and College Service Ontario location.

Find a DriveTest Centre near you.

Learn more about applying to exchange your license.

If your license is from a country not on that list, you’ll need to take a road test. However, don’t fret just yet. You may be able to get credit for your previous driving experience!

Countries without an exchange agreement

If your license is from a country without an exchange agreement, the process of getting an Ontario license will be different. You can apply for an Ontario license at a Drivetest Centre near you. Learn more about how to apply.

If you have previous driving experience, you can show your current license to get credit for 1 year of driving experience. If you’ve been driving longer than that, you can show your current license and a letter from your government as proof. 

If you have less than 2 years of driving experience, you’ll need to take a written test, an eye exam, and then you can book a G1 test. After you pass the G1, you’ll have to wait until you have 1 full year of driving experience before you take the G2 test. 

If you have more than 2 years of driving experience, you’ll need to take a written and eye test. You’ll also need to take a G2 test, which you can book immediately after taking the written and eye test. 

Canada makes special exceptions for protected people, refugees, and people from Ukraine. Members of those groups can get credit for all of their driving experience by showing photocopies of their foreign driver’s license or self-declaring driving experience at their nearest DriveTest Centre. Learn more about getting an Ontario license as a protected person, refugee, or person from Ukraine

Looking for help preparing for the G2 or G road tests or need a quick refresher? You can book lessons with a Kruzee driving instructor in just 30 seconds. Learn more about driving with Kruzee.

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