Driver licensing renewals 

When do I have to renew my licence?

Most people have to renew their driver licence every 10 years (if you are aged 75 years or over, see our question below). You can check your driver licence for the expiry date (shown on the back). The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will generally send you a reminder notice about six weeks in advance.

It is important to renew your licence before it expires. It is illegal to drive without a valid and current licence.

You can renew your licence 12 months or more before its expiry date – this is handy if you will be overseas around the expiry date.

Renewing endorsements e.g. for driving a truck, bus or taxi, is slightly different. See the NZ Transport Agency website for information about this.

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What must I do to renew my licence?

To renew your licence you need to:

  • complete an application form (normally mailed to you with the reminder notice from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA)),
  • obtain some proof of your identity (e.g. your expiring driver licence or current passport), 
  • bring the above to a NZTA driver licensing agent
  • pass an eyesight test,
  • get a new photo taken and
  • pay a fee of around $45.  

The renewal process should take about 10-15 minutes. Your renewed licence card will be posted to you, and you will be given a temporary licence to use in the meantime, which will be valid for 21 days. More about this is on the NZTA website.

It’s best to renew your driver licence before travelling overseas, but if it expires while you are overseas you can apply for a renewal or for a 12-month extension from overseas. To do this fill out a Driver Licence Replacement or Extension Form. The postal details are on the form.

If you are aged 75 years or over, you will also need a medical certificate.

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I am turning 75, and I’d like to carry on driving. What do I have to do to renew my licence?

You need to renew your licence at age 75, age 80, and every two years after that.

Before your renewal application, you need to arrange a Medical Certificate for Driver Licence from your doctor. If the doctor determines that you are fit to drive, they will issue you with a Certificate. Depending on your fitness, your doctor may recommend that some restrictions be placed on when and where you may drive.

If the doctor has doubts they may also refer you for an on-road safety test.

If you are deemed by your doctor to be unfit to drive, you will have to surrender your licence to the NZTA.

If you qualify for a Medical certificate, the rest of application process is similar to that for younger drivers (see previous question) but the fees are different. More information about licence renewal for older drivers is on this NZTA factsheet.

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What happens if I forget to renew my licence?

If you don’t renew your driver licence within five years of its expiry, you may have to sit the theory and practical tests again. If it has been less than five years you can simply make an application to renew the licence card (see previous question if you are aged 75 years or over).

The infringement fee for driving on an expired licence is $400 dollars, and you may be summoned to court (usually on repeat offending) where you may be fined up to $1000 dollars.

You could also risk:

  • the Police seizing your vehicle from the roadside and impounded for 28 days;
  • the Police forbidding from to driving; or 
  • your insurer declining insurance for your vehicle, or denying a vehicle insurance claim.

Before your licence expires, you should receive a renewal pack in the mail explaining the process to you. If you have changed address, you can update your postal details online at the NZ Transport Agency website.

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What if I no longer wish to drive?

If you don’t want to renew your licence, you can write to:

NZ Transport Agency
Business Administration
Private Bag 11777
Manawatu Mail Centre
Palmerston North 4442

In the letter, you should state clearly that you wish to surrender your licence, sign the letter and enclose your licence card. Once the NZ Transport Agency has received it, they will send you a letter of confirmation.

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How can I find out what’s causing the delay with my licence renewal?

A licence renewal can take up to 21 days. If you applied for your licence renewal nearly three weeks ago and are worried that it won't arrive before your temporary licence expires, you can call the Transport Registry Centre on 0800 822 422.

If you're expecting your driver licence to expire soon and have not received your reminder pack from the NZ Transport Agency, you can download an application form from their website and apply at your local driver licensing agent.

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Do I have to get a new driver licence if I change my name or address?

You don’t have to do anything with your driver licence if you’ve changed your address (but the NZ Transport Agency does encourage you to notify them). If you have a vehicle registered in your name you will have to notify NZTA of a change of address for the vehicle. You can do this online or contact the NZTA Motor vehicle registration team on 0800 108 809.

If you change your name, you can do one of the following:

  • Apply to get a new licence with your new name (see next question).
  • Wait until your current licence is about to expire and change your name when you apply for a renewal (normal renewal fees apply).
  • If you are about to apply for other licence classes or endorsements, change your name when you apply for these.

If you change your name while you are overseas, you can apply for a new licence (see next question) as long as yours has not expired or expired less than 12 months ago.

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How do I get a replacement driver licence?

You will need to get a new driver licence if:

  • you lose your licence or it is stolen (you should also contact NZTA so they can cancel it and prevent another person from using it) or
  • your licence becomes damaged

You can choose to get a new one if you change your name.

To get a replacement licence if it’s lost, stolen or damaged:

It costs around $40.