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Drivers license in South Africa


Anya's picture
By Anya - Posted on
30 September 2011
I've got a valid American drivers' license and a valid international one. How do I convert that into a South African drivers' license? (I have a 5-year temporary residence work visa). Do I have to take a test?
Stephanie's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 32 weeks ago
Joined: 19/04/2010

Living in:
Cape Town, South Africa

From:
Charlotte, North Carolina (the USA)

Stephanie's Website
As far as I know, unless you have permanent residency in South Africa you can't convert your foreign driver's licenses to a South African license. You can drive legally with the international license without any problems as long as its valid.

That said, I have a few American friends who are also on temporary residence work visas and have somehow managed to beat the system. I'll see what I can find out and come back to you.

You don't have to take a driving test, just an eye test.
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Sine's picture
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Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 10/02/2011

Living in:
Brentwood, TN

From:
Born in Germany, American citizen, lived in Johannesburg 2010-2013

Sine's Website
Hi Anya,

Stephanie is right, you can't actually get a South African license, but not to worry, your American license is perfectly fine. I've been driving around here with my Kansas license for 2 years and never had a problem. Or I should say, I have been pulled over by the cops who then tried to create problems for me, suggesting I needed this additinional form or that, but I always stood firm and in the end they realized I knew more about it than they did, so I was fine. You don't really need your international permit either, the U.S. license by itself is fine, as long as it is valid. If you've got five years, you're all set.

Let me know if you have any other questions. We just published an article on buying a car in South Africa, if you have questions about that.
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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Hi Everyone,

I found Stephanie;s comment particularly interesting. I was wondering if you were able to find out how some of your friends managed to convert teir drivers license, while holding a temporary resindence permit?
Thanks very much for your help
Nadya

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Sine's picture
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Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 10/02/2011

Living in:
Brentwood, TN

From:
Born in Germany, American citizen, lived in Johannesburg 2010-2013

Sine's Website
Hi there, 
not sure how Stephanie's friends did it, I never found out that it's possible. Then again, you could just keep trying, and another clerk at the licensing office might let you do it. I personally have found that you don't need it at all. I have never had a problem showing my Kansas license. In fact, it might even protect you in some small way, because most cops don't want to bother with a foreign license in terms of issuing a ticket, so that if you refuse to bribe (which you should) you often are let go without paying anything.
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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

i have a client who is from India and has a work permit to work i SA for 5 years, she wants to get a drivers license and i dont know whether she qualifies to get one. please assist

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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I have uae driving licence. Is it possible to drive in south africa using the same one ?

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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Hi there...I have a study permit to live in South Africa for the duration of my studies. I have never had a drivers license before. Am I allowed to get a South African license? From Grace

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