Driving with Foreign License in Ontario, Canada

If you have moved to Ontario recently, or planning to; here’s how to drive with a foreign driver License.

Planning on buying a Car in Ontario and using a foreign Drivers’ License has ever been a matter that calls for addressing since most immigrants require mobility as a very important aspect of settling in Canada.

Maryam has a Tunisian driver’s license which cannot just be replaced with an ON license. She intends to buy a car within the first few days after she arrives, and plans on paying cash. But how can she do car insurance with a foreign driver’s license? She doesn’t know how long it takes to get a G license.

Well, you just need to know you will not be able to purchase a car or obtain car insurance with a foreign license. You can learn about licensing procedures here: AND, see

Normally, you will need to provide your Ontario driver’s license so as to register the bought vehicle. There are some useful information on Ontario motor licensing website. You can’t buy a car without a G2 driver license.

You may obtain an international driver’s license out of your Tunisian one, by this, you will be able to drive for almost 3 months using this license.

The Possibility of Driving in Ontario with Foreign License

Without an Ontario driver’s license, you will not be able to buy a car or even get car insurance in Canada. However, with a foreign license or an international driving license, you will still be able to drive a car around.

You may rent a car or use that of a friend all through your period of stay in Canada without a Canadian driver’s license.

For smooth driving in Canada with a foreign license, you need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from the country you are moving from. Having an IDP allows you to have your foreign license translated to English or French.

Renting a Car with Foreign License in Ontario

You have the option of public transportation until you have your own Canadian driving license. For convenience sake though, you might want to rent a car. Renting a car is a widely accepted option in Canada, and particularly in big provinces like Ontario. Lots of car rental services are available, and they offer a variety of services to suit different people.

The cost of renting a car in Ontario depends on various factors such as the type of vehicle you wish to rent, the length of renting the car, and the time or season of the year. Most car rental services charge clients per day. You can also decide to rent a car for more than a day but that will definitely bring extra charges.

Requirements For Renting A Car In Canada

To rent a car in Canada,

  • You must not be younger than 21
  • You have a valid driver’s license (this could be a foreign driving license) and an International Driver’s Permit. Note that you can present an international driving license as well, but this will only be recognized alongside your original driver’s license.
  • A credit card with the exact same name as that on your driver’s license.

If you are between the age range 21 to 24, you may be charged extra when renting a car. You may also be restricted to rent only certain kinds of cars. Driving with a child in the car will also incur extra charges.

Foreign Driver’s License Exchange In Ontario, Canada

If you are lucky to come from a country that has an exchange agreement with Canada, you will be able to exchange your foreign driving license with an Ontario driving license. The countries eligible for driving license exchange in Canada are:

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

To apply for a driving license exchange in Ontario, you must be physically present. You can make an application for exchange in any of these locations:

You will be required to provide:

  • Your current license (an expired license is still tenable if it has been expired for less than a year)
  • A recent Driver’s License
  • Proof of identity

Since there are driving limitations for those who do not have an Ontario driving license, you should start working on getting your own license as soon as you arrive in Canada.

Obtaining a Driving License in Ontario, Canada

Being permitted to use an out-of-province or overseas driving license does not automatically imply being able to buy a car. You can rather rent a car or use a friend’s car using those licenses.

To buy a car under your name, you will require your own license and need to obtain insurance. Without insurance, you will not be able to buy the car as this is required for the transfer documentation and registration paperwork.

Also, while registering the bought vehicle, you will need to provide your Ontario driver’s license.

Anyone who is 16 years old or older can apply for a driver’s license in Ontario. The process you will undergo depends on your experience with driving. If you are totally new to driving, you will need to learn and gain experience by following the two-step process offered by the Province of Ontario.

This process can take up to two or three years before you will finally get a full driving license.

Requirements for Obtaining Driver’s License in Ontario, Canada

To apply for a driver’s license, you need to be physically present at either the Drive Test Centre or the Service Ontario in Toronto.

There are up to 15 different kinds of driving licenses in Ontario depending on your level of experience in driving. The basic requirements for obtaining any kind of driver’s license in Ontario are:

  • You must be 16 years old or more
  • must pass an eye test
  • You must pass a written test on road signs and traffic rules

As a Canadian citizen, you need to present any of the following:

  • Canadian passport
  • Canadian Citizenship Card
  • Ontario Photo Card

As a permanent resident, you can present any of the following documents:

  • Permanent Resident (PR) Card
  • Record of Landing
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence
  • Ontario Photo Card

If you are still a foreign resident, you can present any of the following documents for identification:

  • Work Permit
  • Study Permit or Student Authorization
  • Temporary Resident Permit
  • Refugee Status Claim
  • Visitor Record
  • Ontario Photo Card

Obtaining a Driver’s License and What it Means

By providing required documents, and passing necessary tests, you will be able to get a G1 driving license as a novice to driving. Once you begin the Ontario driving license process by obtaining a G1 license, you will not be able to use your foreign license or international driving license anymore.

You may be allowed to buy a car with a G1 license, but the insurance and buying rates are going to be very high. It is advisable that you do not rush to buy a car until you have passed the G2 test.

Having previous driving experience in your initial country (with documents to prove so) can hasten up your two-step process. You may even not have to undergo the G1 process.

There are restrictions that are placed on your driving depending on the stage you are on. As you go through these stages, you will be exposed to these restrictions.

Such restrictions could be having access to only certain types of vehicles, driving only on specified types or roads, always having someone with a G license with you while driving, and many more.

FAQs about Driving A Car With Foreign License In Toronto

Q. Is Driving a Car in Canada easy?

Ans. Yes, driving a car in Canada is very easy. When it comes to infrastructure such as good road networks, Canada is not left behind. You will find it easy to find your way around the country by car.

Q. Is Buying a Car in Canada Expensive?

Ans. The cost of buying a car in Canada is relatively expensive compared to other countries including the USA. Depending on your budget and what you want, there are different models of cars available in Canada. If you find the price of buying a new car on the high side, you may go for used cars. These are less expensive and should still serve you well enough.

Q. For How Long Can You Use a Foreign Driving License in Canada?

Ans. In Ontario, Canada you can use a valid foreign driving license for 60 days. After this number of days, you will be required to have an Ontario driving license to drive around town.

Q. How Long will it Take to Process a Driving license in Ontario, Canada?

Ans. It can take anything from a few weeks to three or more years to get a full driving license in Ontario, Canada. The length of time taken depends on how experienced you’ve with driving before immigrating to Canada. Having a foreign license will also speed up the process of obtaining an Ontario driving license.