How to Get Your License in BC
To qualify for a BC driver’s license, you must be at least 16 years of age. You must also pass a knowledge test and a vision test at an ICBC Driver Licensing Office. If you are under 19 years of age, you must be accompanied by your parent or legal guardian when you apply for your license.
British Columbia has a graduated licensing program. If you are a first-time license holder in British Columbia, you will be issued a Class 7L license, or a learner’s license. This license is valid for two years, however, you are only required to be a learner for 12 months. During this period, you must always be accompanied by a qualified supervisor, display a red “L” sign on the rear of your vehicle, and abide by other learner license restrictions.
Once you have had your learner’s license for 12 months, with no prohibitions or suspensions from driving, you will be eligible to take a road test to see if you qualify for your Class 7 license. This road test consists of three components: a pre-trip check, an on-road driving test, and feedback. If you successfully complete the road test, you will be issued your Class 7 license.
You must have your Class 7 license for 24 months. During this time you will be subject to a number of restrictions, including restrictions about passengers in your vehicle and use of electronic devices while driving. If you receive a prohibition from driving, the 24 month period will reset. You are also required to display a green “N” sign on the back of your vehicle during this time to signal to other drivers that you are a Novice driver. The Class 7 license expires after two years.
Once you have had your Class 7 license for 24 months, you will be eligible to take a road test to see if you qualify for your Class 5 license. The road test is similar to the previous test, but is more complex. If you successfully complete the test, you will be issued a Class 5 license, with a 5-year renewal.
If you are moving to British Columbia from another province or territory, you must have held a full-privilege driver’s license for a period of at least two years before you can qualify for a Class 5 license. You will be required to prove your driving experience with some documentation, which may include a copy of your driving record or your license itself. If you do not meet the requirements, you will have to enter the Graduated Licensing Program.
You must apply for a BC Driver’s License within 90 days of moving to the province. If you have been living here longer than 90 days without a BC license, you may be issued an indefinite prohibition from driving.
If you have moved to British Columbia from the United States, you must apply for a BC Driver’s License once you have been living in the province for 90 days. As with individuals moving from another province or territory, you must prove that you have two years of full-privilege driving experience. For most states, this is satisfied by presenting your driver’s license. However, if you are from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C., or Wisconsin, you will also need to bring a copy of your driving record. If you do not have two years full-privilege driving experience, you will have to go through the Graduated Licensing Program.
If you are coming from another country, the requirements are different. If you are from Austra, Australia, France, Germany, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom, then you may simply prove you have two years full-privilege driving experience and you will be issued a Class 5 license. You must apply within 90 days of moving to British Columbia. If you do not have two years full-privilege driving experience, you will have to go through the Graduated Licensing Program.
If you are from any other country than the ones listed above, you will have to take a knowledge test and a road test before you will be issued a BC Driver’s License. The 90-day time limit to do this applies. You must also prove that you have two years’ driving experience with full privileges.
If your driver’s license is in a language other than English or French, it must be translated by an ICBC approved translator.