How to get your Driving License in BC
Overview of the BC Driving License Test
British Columbia, like most provinces, has a graduated license system where new drivers must 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 with two written exams and two road tests. You must be at least 16-years old to qualify, and 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.
Applicants with driving experience need to show a current driver’s license and two pieces of valid personal identification, with a signature and a photo. All licensing fees must be paid before they are issued with a B.C. license. Applicants with no driving experience or do not have the necessary experience must apply through the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP). Commercial driver applicants need to take a written and practical road test to prove they have the necessary knowledge.
The BC Graduated Licensing Program (L, N, and Full Privilege)
B.C. has three levels of driver’s license; learner’s license, L, Novice license, N, and Full Privilege.
Commonly referred to as the “L,” the learner’s license is the first stage. Applicants must be 16-year old. Applicants below 19-years must have the written consent from a parent or guardian. After passing the written test, applicants are issued with a learner’s license to practice for at least 12 months under the guidance of a supervising driver. To graduate with a Novice license, applicants must take a road test.
The Novice License is the next stage in the B.C. licensing process. To qualify for a novice license, applicants must pass a class 7 road test, that takes 45 minutes. Applicants can prepare for the road test by getting driving practice in different conditions as an L driver or taking professional driving lessons. The test focuses on a driver’s ability to drive safely in a controlled way. Drivers with a novice license can drive on their own.
The final step in the B.C. is the Full Class 5 driver’s license. A driver who wishes to graduate to the full license can apply after two years of driving as a novice driver and complete the Class 5 road test. Alternatively, individuals that meet all other requirements and have completed the ICBC-approved driver training course can take the Class 5 road test. Individuals submitting their applications for the full license should 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, and apply for the BC driving license test. 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. with a drivers license from their countries of origin. Licenses written in any language other than English must be translated by an individual approved by ICBC before the driver is issued with a B.C. drivers license.