South African driving regulations for foreigners

Can a foreign Get a South African drivers license?

South Africa accepts foreign driving licences under the following circumstances as a driving licence –  the Section of the south African driving regulations for foreigners, section 23 and regulation 110 of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 states: Foreigners are allowed to drive in South Africa without a South African drivers licence when you stay or visit the country with a temporary residency visa, a study/exchange or visitor visa if:

  • The license is in English, or a translation of the license in English is attached to the license, or a certificate of authenticity or validity in English which was issued by a competent authority (e.g. the Embassy or Consulate) of the country concerned, is attached to the license. The south African driving regulations for foreigners does not prescribe who should attach a translation or a certificate of authenticity or validity to a driving license, how it should be attached or when it should have been attached. The legislation also does not prescribe that the translation should state the capacity of vehicle the license authorizes. The code of the license does not necessarily relate to a South African license code, and therefore should describe the capacity of vehicle the license authorize.
  • The foreign drivers license was issued on a date on which the holder thereof has not been permanently or ordinarily resident in SA. A person is ordinarily resident in SA if he/she is in SA on an extended visit of more than three months on a contract of employment (not just visiting).The south African driving regulations for foreigners state that the permanent residence requirement does not apply to a holder of a diplomatic permit or a treaty permit.
  • The license contains or has attached thereto the photograph and signature of the holder thereof. The south African driving regulations for foreigners does not prescribe who should attach a photograph and signature to a drivers license, how it should be attached or when it should have been attached. The rule of thumb here should be that if a license does not have the holder’s photograph or signature contained on it, some other formal document like a passport that contain the person’s photograph or signature should accompany the license.


The Department of Transport only will exchange your foreign licence to a South African driving licence once you are permanent resident or you do your driver’s licence test in South Africa. The foreign drivers license will remain valid until an individual has been permanently resident in SA for a continuous period of 1 year. After this point, it is necessary to obtain a South African drivers license. Once one has been granted permanent residency in SA, the person will need to convert his foreign license within 5 years. If this does not occur, the license will no longer be valid.

The south African driving regulations for foreigners state that foreign license will be converted if it is:

  • Valid.
  • Translated into one of the official South African languages.
  • Accompanied by a letter of validity obtained from the relevant embassy, and a translation, if the licence is not in an official language of South Africa.
  • Has your photo and signature.

To do the conversion, you will need to go to any driving license testing center in the province where you obtained your permanent residence, and complete the Application for exchange of a driving licence form (DL1).

The time-frame for exchanging the licence varies from one testing center to another, due to internal auditing processes. It is a good idea to call the center ahead of time to find out what the costs involved are, and when the best time of day will be to go (so as to avoid long queues).

For a list of what you will be required to submit, and links to South African municipalities for further information, click here.

Driving License Attestation and Translation.

A driving license does serve as an important piece of identification document both in your home nation and abroad. You may be asked to submit a translated copy of driver’s license into the embassy if you apply for a visa. You may also be required to carry an embassy attested copy of this document along with you to foreign land provided you may need to drive over there as well. Frenchside Translations, saves you the hassle of standing in long queues and hence wasting your energy and time. We carry out complete attestation and translation process of client’s behalf at extremely competitive prices. Frenchside Translations, translate Driving License from English to foreign languages like: German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Afrikaans and Portuguese etc. and vice versa. Our certified translations can be further used for submission to Embassies and Consulate, Transport Department, Immigration Offices, Government department in South Africa and abroad for Official, Applying Driving License, Legal, Immigration and PR purposes. Our services are available in all cities and states of South Africa and have express services available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape town etc.

We also help in Apostille, legalization from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DIRCO) for submission to any Embassy or Consulate in South Africa.



  1. Lucretia
    June 1, 2020 Reply

    Im a foreigner but got my driver’s license in south Africa. I lost my driver’s license so what is the procedure for a foreigner or is it the same to follow like south africans? Please advise

    • admin
      June 2, 2020 Reply

      Thank you for contacting us.

      You must follow the same process like South Africans.

  2. Steve
    June 24, 2020 Reply

    Can a holder of a spouse/accompanying visa apply for a South African driving licence?

    • admin
      June 24, 2020 Reply


  3. Can l use my certified passport copy and visa certified copies to apply for a Drivers license in SA if l am a foreigner student

  4. Prosper
    July 3, 2020 Reply

    What are requirements for a foreigner to apply for South Africa drivers license?

  5. LYNN
    August 2, 2020 Reply

    Good day… I have a foreign driverszi lince and would like to get a South African driver’s licence .. please advise of the process step by step what do I need to do and what documents will be needed

    • admin
      August 3, 2020 Reply

      Please Call the South African Driving Licence department.

  6. Wayne
    September 7, 2020 Reply

    I have lived in SA on the basis of a retirement visa and I have a drivers license issued out of the U.S. I want to obtain a SA drivers license. Am I eligible to apply for a SA drivers license with a retirement visa instead of permanent residency?

  7. Princess
    December 3, 2020 Reply

    Good day, I have a valid Cameroonian drivers license written in English and French, it has my photo and my signature. I have a spousal visa valid for 3 years. my question is can I drive in South Africa?
    Thank you for the response.

    • admin
      December 4, 2020 Reply

      Please contact any Traffic department in South Africa, they will be able to help, thank you.

  8. Gabriel
    June 17, 2021 Reply

    I am a foreigner from Zimbabwe and have a traffic register but was once written a fine for driving without a valid drivers licence because they said my trafic register doesnt permit me drive in south Africa but just used and registered for me just buy cars and i gave them my zim licence which is clearly written in english and valid but they refused it so i dont know then whats the purpose of then having that trafic register if its only to buy a car

  9. Mr Haqmal Mohamad Nawaz fazel
    June 27, 2021 Reply

    Hi my name is haqmal I am a British citizen I want to come south Africa just for holidays for 2 months can I do my driving test there yes or not give some information about it because in uk it hard to get a test because of covid

  10. Gideon
    February 28, 2022 Reply

    my wife on a spouse visa wants to renew her drivers license , traffic department said her documents must first be send to home affairs ? she has it for 10 years and have a BRNC sertificate . they dont want to do a temp license and said process can take up to 3 months .


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