How to Get a Driver’s License in Canada

view of the driver and a passenger from the back row

Getting a driver’s license in Canada is not as easy as getting one in the Philippines. The rules vary from province to province and have multiple steps before you’re recognized as an independent driver.

Stage 1: The Learner’s License

If you’ve watched any western movies, you’ve probably heard the term “learner’s permit.” This is essentially the same thing. To get a Learner’s, you’ll need to pass a knowledge test and a vision test. There’s no application, you just go and book a time slot that works for you. All you need to do is prepare yourself. 

You do need to study for the knowledge test since they want you to prove that you know the rules of the road. As for the vision test, that’s just to make sure you can see. 

Also depending on the province, you’ll also need to be a certain age. In Alberta, you have to be at least 14 years old to try for your Learner’s. In BC or Ontario, you’ll need to be at least 16 years old. 

There are practice tests on the licensing site for each province. You definitely want to review those before you attempt the knowledge test. When you pass both the knowledge test and vision test, you can now practice driving legally, but you can’t drive alone. You’ll need to have someone who is able to teach you.

Stage 2: The Transition License

This transition license has different names depending on the province you get it, but it accomplishes the same purpose. You must pass a driving test to get this license. In this test, the examiner will see if you understand rules of the roads like following speed limits or seeing how you react in certain scenarios. This first road test is also easier than the second road test.

You’ll be allowed to drive on your own with this transition license but you’ll still have some restrictions. For example, you can’t drive more than one person or you can’t use Bluetooth while you’re driving. 

Stage 3: Full License Driver

To get your full license, you’ll need to have been driving for at least two years and to book another road test. Even though the standard is higher and they tell you to go down a harder route, it’s arguably easier because you’ve been driving for at least 2 years. Once you’ve proved that you’re a capable driver, you’ll receive your full license.

(Author’s tip: do not forget your hand signals and don’t speed no matter what.)

For International Students

If you already have your driver’s license from your home country, you can skip Stages 1 and 2. All you’ll need to do is take the knowledge test, like you do for Stage 1, and pass it. Once you pass it, you can take the road test for your Full License. 

In all instances, you will need to pay a fee before you can take the test. And then if you pass the test, you’ll pay another fee to get the physical license. In BC, the knowledge test costs $15 and then $50 for the license when you pass. It’s even more expensive for full license tests. It’s $75 for the full license test in BC and another $70 for the license processing fee. If you happen to fail either the knowledge test or the road test, you’ll have to pay those fees a second time. 

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