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Exchanging a Foreign Driving Licence

Drivers’ licences issued in other countries may be used in South Africa for a limited period. Find out who needs to exchange a driving licence and how to go about it...

To exchange a foreign driving licence it is necessary to:

  • Ensure the foreign driving licence is in one of the official South African languages. If a translation is required, this must be done by a recognised translating agency
  • Prove the foreign driving licence is valid by having a letter of validity from the relevant embassy

A foreign driving licence may be exchanged for a South African at the provincial Driving Licence Testing Centre situated in the same province that issued the permanent residence permit. The following documents are required:

  • Completed application form DL1
  • Identification such as a passport or permanent residence permit
  • Four black and white ID sized photographs
  • Current foreign driving licence
  • Proof of permanent residency in South Africa and proof that the applicant was not a permanent resident at the time the foreign driving licence was issued
  • Confirmation from a Driving Licence Issuing Authority that the current foreign driving licence is valid and does not hold any suspensions or cancellations, and detailing the codes or categories of vehicles for which it is valid
  • Applications to exchange an international driving permit must be accompanied by the original foreign driving licence

The foreign driving licence is exchanged for a South African licence if all the above conditions are met and the officials are satisfied that the foreign driving licence is legal and valid and that the applicant is the legal owner of the licence. A temporary licence may be issued until the credit card format driving licence is issued.

The applicant needs to undergo an eye test, although no other examinations are needed.

The foreign driving licence is handed over in exchange for the South African driving licence.


Costs for exchanging a foreign driving licence vary depending on the municipality.


Driving licences are valid for five years and must be renewed four weeks before they are due to expire. If renewed after the expiry date it is necessary to apply for a temporary driving licence while waiting for the renewal to be issued, at an additional cost. Driving licences are renewed at the nearest Driving Licence Testing Centre.

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