Your Driver’s Licence
You must not drive a car without insurance. Every car registered in B.C. must have basic Autoplan insurance. If you cause a crash, insurance will pay for the damage to the other driver’s car. It also covers medical costs for anyone hurt in the crash. You can buy Autoplan insurance for your vehicle at any Autoplan broker’s office. Autoplan brokers are independent businesses that sell ICBC vehicle insurance. www.icbc.com/locators/Pages/default.aspx Many things affect the cost of your car insurance. You may pay different insurance rates depending on where you live, what type of car you drive, if you use your car for work, and your driving record. More protection If you have a serious crash, basic insurance may not be enough to cover the cost. Ask your Autoplan broker about extra insurance to increase your protection—for example, collision insurance in case you damage your own car. You do not have to buy the extra insurance, but it is a good idea to get more protection.
Insurance only protects you if you buy it before damaging or crashing your car. If you were a safe driver in your country, you may qualify for cheaper Autoplan insurance in Canada. Ask your former insurance company to write a letter about your insurance claims record. This must be an official letter. It must be in English on the company’s letterhead. If the letter is not in English, you must get it translated. Take the letter with you when you buy your insurance.
• If you have a driver’s licence from another province or country, you can use it for up to 90 days after you move here. It can take time to apply for your driver’s licence. You should apply for your driver’s licence as soon as possible.
• If you are visiting, you can use your nonB.C. driver’s licence for up to six months. After six months, you need a valid B.C. driver’s licence to drive here.
• The process for getting a B.C. driver’s licence depends on where you earned your old one. In some situations, you may qualify to get a driver’s licence right away. You may also need to pass some tests first. These may include knowledge, vision, and road tests. Go to the Driver Licensing section of www.icbc.com to find out what you need to do.
• If your driver’s licence is not in English, you will need to provide a translation by an approved translator. You can find a list of approved translators at www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/visit-dloffice/Pages/Translation-service.aspx.
• When you get a B.C. driver’s licence, you will need to give up your old licence. www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/movingbc/Pages/default.aspx.
• Students do not need to get a B.C. driver’s licence if:
– You have a valid driver’s licence from another country, and
– You are registered as a student in a designated educational institution. www.icbc.com/FAQ/Pages/New-to-orvisiting-BC.aspx
When you drive, always carry your student ID and driver’s licence with you. A police officer may ask to see them. If you are a temporary foreign worker in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, you can use your valid driver’s licence from another country for up to one year. After one year, you will need a B.C. driver’s licence. ICBC has driving guides and other tools to help you prepare for driving tests. You can find these on the ICBC website or at a driver licensing office. To find a licensing office near you, click “Find a service location” on www.icbc.com. ICBC has a free guide book about driving in B.C. It has information about rules, signs, signals and lane markings on roads.
Download ICBC’s Learn to Drive Smart guide at www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/drivingguides/Pages/Learn-to-Drive-Smart.aspx#.
You can also take a practice test online. practicetest.icbc.com/#/ Many ICBC services are available in Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi. Driver licensing offices have telephone translation services in more than 170 languages.
Applying for a driver’s licence
• In B.C. you need different types of licences to drive a motorcycle, bus, large truck, or taxi.
• To apply for a B.C. driver’s licence, you must be 16 years of age or older.
• If you are under 19 years of age, a parent or guardian (someone who is responsible for you) must sign the application.
• You can apply for a driver’s licence at an ICBC driver licensing office. Visit www.icbc.com and search “Find a service location”.
• You will need to take two pieces of identification. Toll-free: 1 888 715-7775 www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/gettinglicensed
Under B.C.’s Graduated Licensing Program, new drivers pass through two stages before they get a full licence.
When you pass the knowledge and vision tests, you will get a learner’s licence.
- This licence allows you to practice driving before you take the road test.
- You may drive only with a fully-licensed driver 25 or more years old beside you.
- Several other restrictions limit your driving rights.
When you pass the road test at the end of the Learner stage, you get a novice licence and can drive on your own.
- For the first 24 months, you may have only one passenger unless:
- There is a licensed driver 25 years or older beside you or
- Your passengers are close family members
- Several other restrictions limit your driving rights.
- After 24 months with a novice licence, you can take a second road test and get a full-privilege licence.
If you have had a driver’s licence for at least two years, you may not need to go through the Graduated Licensing Program. When you apply for your B.C. licence, bring original documents to prove how long you have been driving.
- After you have studied the booklet, you must take a knowledge test on a computer.
- You will also have a vision test when you take the knowledge test. If you use glasses, wear them to take the vision test.
- A year after you pass the knowledge test, you can take the road tests.
- You’ll drive in your vehicle with an ICBC driver examiner to see how safely you drive.
- If you pass the first road test, you’ll receive a licence to drive:
- If you fail a test, you can practice and take the test again.
- There are fees for the knowledge test, road test and driver’s licence.
Get detailed information from ICBC’s information for new drivers.