Driving With Foreign License In Ontario, Canada

If you intend to drive in Ontario, Canada during your visit to the province, you may be permitted to drive with a foreign license for a stipulated period of time. Normally, you are required to have an Ontario Driver’s License to drive in Ontario. 

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Let’s closely look at how you can drive with a foreign license in Ontario, Canada.

Driving with a Foreign License in Ontario is permitted for a period of fewer than 3 months. If you stay in this Canadian province for less than 3 months and intend to drive, you can use a valid driver’s license from your home country. However, not every foreigner visiting Ontario may be permitted to drive in the province.

Who Can Drive With a Foreign License in Ontario, Canada

You must meet the following requirements before you can drive with a foreign License in Ontario.

  • You must be at least 16 years old
  • You must be with an original or exact copy of the vehicle ownership permit.
  • You must obey all traffic laws in Ontario
  • You must drive safely and avoid collisions 
  • You must have a proper insurance coverage for the vehicle you intend to drive.

If you meet the above-listed requirements, you can drive with a foreign License in Ontario for less than 3 months

What If I’m Visiting and Driving For More than 3months?

If you intend to stay and drive in Ontario for more than 3 months, you will need more than just a foreign driver’s license. You are required to bring an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from your home country.

International Driver’s Permit processed or issued in Ontario is not valid in Ontario. You must get an IDP from your home country before arriving in Ontario.

It is important to note that there are driving limitations for those who do not have an Ontario Driver’s License. To be able to drive without restrictions, it is advisable to apply for an Ontario Driving License. Especially if you intend to stay for a long time in Ontario.

Foreign Driver’s License Exchange In Ontario, Canada

If you are a citizen of any of the Countries that have an exchange agreement with Canada, you are eligible to exchange your Foreign Driving License with an Ontario Driver’s License. The following countries are eligible for the Foreign Driver’s License Exchange in Canada.

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

If your country is not listed above, you cannot exchange your Foreign License with an Ontario Driving License. However, you can apply for an Ontario Driving license, if you meet the requirements.

Getting a Driving License in Ontario, Canada

In Ontario, driver’s licenses are issued using a Graduated License System (GLS). In this System, you’re issued a driver’s license based on your experience in driving.

Ontario has about 15 different driver’s licenses that are issued according to the applicant’s level of experience in driving. However, you must be up to 16 years before you can apply for a Driver’s License in Ontario, Canada

Requirements for Obtaining a Driver’s License in Ontario, Canada

To apply for a driver’s license in Ontario, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be 16 years or above
  • You are required to be physically present at either the Drive Test Centre or the Service Ontario in Toronto.
  • You must pass an eye test
  • You must write and pass a test on road signs and traffic rules.

Required Documents for Obtaining a Driver’s License in Ontario, Canada

Canadian citizens are required to present any of the following documents: 

  • Canadian passport
  • Canadian Citizenship Card
  • Ontario Photo Card

Permanent residents of Canada are required to present any of the following:

  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence
  • Ontario Photo Card
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Record of Landing

Temporary residents are required to present any of the following documents:

Where Can I Apply?

To apply for the Ontario driver’s license, you should take the required documents for your category to a Driver Examination Centre closest to you.

Ontario Road Safety Rules

Whether you’re driving with a Foreign License or an  Ontario Driver’s License, you must obey the following Ontario’s road safety rules.

  • Keep to the right of the road while driving
  • Obey posted speed limits 
  • You must not use any Portable Electronic Device (mobile phone, bluetooth, tablets etc.) while driving.
  • Ensure you slow down and pull to the right, immediately you notice an emergency vehicle driving behind you with their lights and sirens on.

If you break any of these rules, you will be penalized even if you’re driving with a foreign License in Ontario.

You could be asked to pay a fine or your License might be suspended. In extreme cases, your car may be impounded.

If your car is impounded, you should contact the police officer who impounded the car. He or she will instruct you on what you’re expected to do to get your car back.

If you need further clarification on driving with a foreign License in Ontario, kindly write to us in the comments section below.

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