Are you a new immigrant to Ontario? Unless you are planning on using the city's excellent public transportation system to go everywhere, you will eventually need to get an Ontario driver's license. Depending on your situation, there are several ways you can go about this and be behind the wheel legally in your new home province. Here are the different paths to a driver's license for new immigrants to Ontario.
1. Immigrating from Another Province
If you are just immigrating from another province, the process for getting an Ontario drivers license will be pretty easy for you. You are allowed to use your out-of-province driver's license for up to 60 days after moving to Ontario before being required to get an Ontario license.
Once you're ready to switch out your license, just go to a DriveTest center and do the following:
- Take an eye exam
- Show your valid driver's license from your original province
- Bring a second proof of ID
- Fill out a brief application that will state how long you have been driving since you got your first license
- Pay the application and transfer fees
The process is much like getting your driver's license renewed. The application stating proof of your previous driving experience and the transfer fees are the only differences.
2. Immigrating from a Foreign Country With a Valid Driver's License
Canada has reciprocal agreements with certain countries (usually English speaking countries) that allow a driver's license to be exchanged much like it is for someone moving from another province. However, if your country does not have a reciprocal driver's license agreement with Canada, but you have a driver's license from your home country, here is what you will have to do to get a license when you arrive in Ontario:
- Take a vision test
- Show your original driver's license from your home country
- Take a written test to show you understand the traffic laws in Ontario (this test is available in many different languages)
- Take a driving test
- Take a second driving test
This is much like the process Canadian teens go through when they get their first driver's licenses. The whole process takes about 20 months to complete, as there is a gap between the two driving tests where you will be expected to be practicing driving on a learner's permit.
You get your full, permanent license when you pass your second driving test. Since your foreign driver's license is only good for 60 days in Canada, you will need to use public transportation after this time, or drive with a fully licensed driver while you have your learning permit.
3. Immigrating from a Foreign Country Without a Valid Drivers License
If you have recently moved to Canada and do not have a driver's license from your country of origin, you will have to go through the driving test process for non-reciprocal countries, plus a few more things. According to the Ministry of Transportation, you will need to:
- Show your passport
- Show your permanent immigration documents
Depending on the circumstances of your immigration, you may also need to show one or more of the following documents:
- Student Authorization
- Employment Authorization
- Visitor Record
- Temporary Resident's Permit
When it comes right down to it, getting a driver's license as an immigrant in Ontario is not much different from exchanging your old license for a new one with a new address when you move. If you don't already have a license, or come from a country that doesn't have a reciprocal agreement with Canada, then it is essentially the same process as brand new teenage drivers go through to get their first license in Canada.
Either way, bring the right documents, study the rules of the road if you need to, and pass the driving test. Soon, you will be a legally licensed driver in your new home in Ontario. Contact an expert, like those in your local police force, for more info on the process.