How to Get a Drivers License in BC

Overview – BC License

To mitigate the risks faced by new drivers, B.C. operates on a graduated license system where drivers are required to go through a two-stage licensing process to earn a full license. The graduated license system gives drivers plenty of hands-on experience before getting on the road as independent drivers. They are subjected to two written exams and two practical road tests. Drivers who successfully go through this process get their driver’s license from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) office. While one is required to be 16-years old and above to get driver’s license, applicants below the age of 19-years must have a parent or guardian sign their application form.

Two separate licenses are issued for commercial vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders. Individuals driving PSVs or trucks with three or more axles will need a license listed for that purpose.

Getting Started

If you have driving experience

You need to show your current driver’s license and two forms of personal identification. The identification presented must be valid, indicating the applicant’s signature and a photo.

If you don’t have driving experience

If you don’t have driving experience or cannot prove your experience, you must apply through the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP).

Graduated Licensing Program (L, N, and Full Privilege)

B.C. has three levels of driver’s licenses; learner’s license L, Novice license N, and Full Privilege as below:

Learner’s License (L)

The “L,” the learner’s license is the first stage. Applicants must:

After passing test, you issued with a learner’s license to practice for at least 12 months with a supervising driver.

The next step is the Novice license, where you must take a road test.

Novice License

To qualify for a novice license, you must pass a class 7 road test that takes 45 minutes.

Prepare for the road test by practicing in different conditions with an experienced driver or take professional driving lessons.

The Novice test focuses on your ability to drive safely in a controlled way.

Drivers with a novice license can drive on their own.

Full Class 5 Driver’s License

You must drive as a Novice for 2 years and complete the Class 5 road test.

OR,  complete an ICBC-approved driver training course and pass the Class 5 road test.

You must have a clean driving history with no tickets under their names.

New Residents, Temporary Guest, and Full-Time Students

New residents in British Columbia have a grace period of up to 90 days to make their application for a B.C. license.

Individuals planning to stay in British Columbia for less than 60 days may not be required to apply for a B.C. driver’s license.

Full-time students can also drive vehicles in B.C. under driving licenses from their countries of origin.

Licenses written in any language other than English have to be translated by an individual approved by ICBC before the driver is issued with a B.C. driving license.

Tips for passing your driving test

  • Listen to the instructor.

Listening to the instructor!

  • Carefully read the directions.

Read the directions!  Pay attention to detail to avoid making simple mistakes cost you marks.

  • Easy questions first.

Don’t waste time on difficult questions; skip the questions and go back later when you have answered the easy ones.   Don’t speed through but don’t hang around either.

  • Answer strategically

When tackling difficult multiple-choice questions, eliminate the answers you are sure they are wrong. If you still find it challenging to identify the correct answer after eliminating a few options, you can use your best guess.  More on how to answer multiple choice

How to Take a Test – The Complete guide

Driver’s License Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the written driving test hard?

No, a driving test is not hard. To successfully take a driving test in B.C., study the driving manual and take driver’s license practice.

  1. How many times can you fail a driving test?

You must wait 48 hours to re-take the written test. If you fail three times you must take and pass the driver improvement program.

  1. Can  I take the written test online?

Yes, some locations allow online testing.  Check with your test location allows online testing.

  1. How many serious faults are allowed in a driving road test?

You are not allowed any serious fault in the driving test. It is also important to note that if you commit more than four minor faults in one area of the test, it is considered a serious fault, and you will fail.

  1. What is an automatic fail on a road test?

An automatic fail is when the instructor has to intervene at any point. Examiners intervene in situations they feel the candidate is in danger of getting into an accident.

  1. How many driving test faults are allowed?

Candidates are allowed up to 15 minor faults. Anything more than that is a fail. Getting four minor faults in one section of the test is also considered a serious fault which is a fail.

  1. Do you need an appointment for a road test?

Applicants with a flexible schedule do not have to make an appointment for a road test if they are comfortable with waiting for the first-come, first-served stand-by appointments.

Written by,

Date Published: Wednesday, June 5th, 2024
Date Modified: Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

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