What are the rules for renewing my full licence?

Renewing your licence in a timely manner is an important part of your legal duties as a driver, along with ensuring your green slip and registration are up to date.. While Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) send you a renewal notice, it is your responsibility to ensure the process is completed satisfactorily.

If you’re coming up for a renewal of your full licence in NSW, here are a few things to take note of.

What is involved in the renewal process?

There are different steps involved in the renewals process, depending on whether your previous licence is still current or has already expired. In either case, you will need to complete the renewal form and provide either your NSW photo-licence or proof of identity and address to RMS.

You will also need to sit (and pass) an eyesight test, have a new photograph taken, surrender your old licence and pay the fee for the new licence. RMS staff will remove the date of birth and a section of the top middle part of the old licence before giving it back to you with your renewed version. You can keep this older licence to use as proof of identity in future.

You need to attend a motor registry to go through this process. Some locations may post your card to you at no extra cost when you apply for or renew a driver’s licence, and you will be given a paper receipt that can act as proof of your licence status until the new card comes through.

Early renewals, reissues and more

If your licence is still within six months of its expiry date when you go to get it renewed, the new licence will be backdated to the expiry date. This holds as long as the previous licence hasn’t been cancelled and the driver doesn’t have any disqualifications. If it’s been over six months but less than five years, a fresh licence may be reissued to you starting from the date of application.

On the other hand, if you are re-applying for a licence five or more years after the expiry date, you will need to sit eyesight, knowledge, driving or riding tests to get the same class of licence you had before. If you have a current Australian licence or have had one at any point in the past five years for the same class of vehicle, you may be exempted from the driving test.

RMS can also process an application for an early renewal up to six months before the expiry date listed on your licence.

However, if you’re looking to apply for a higher licence class you’ll need to prove you can meet the age and tenure requirements associated with the class as well as the eyesight, knowledge and driving assessments.

If you failed the first driving or riding test for the reissue of an expired licence, you’ll need to apply for a learner licence.

Renewal outside NSW

Sometimes, NSW residents can be temporarily interstate or in another country when it comes time to replace or renew their licence. If this is the case, you can use the photo-kit system for the process.

This form will have all the instructions you need, and you can download it in PDF form from the RMS website or contact the RMS Photo Licence Kit unit by telephone or email.

The new licence will automatically be sent to the NSW address you provide, unless you make different arrangements. This photo-kit licence renewal can only be used once, so the next time will need to be in NSW.

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