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Building your practical driving skills

Once you have a learner licence, the best way to work towards your restricted licence is to practice. Building your skills will take time, and repetition becomes important in order to feel confident and learn to drive safely. 

Download the My Test Drive Application and let your supervisor use the app to help guide you through your drive; where they can also report on hazards to let you know how well you've performed. The results page is a great indicator as to whether or not you would have passed in your actual practical driving test.

How to get a restricted licence in New Zealand | My Test Drive
How to get a learners licence in New Zealand | My Test Drive

What you’re allowed to do on your learners licence

The law is quite strict and has several things you can and can’t do when on your learners licence. We've listed the main points we think you need to know as below:

  • You always need to have your learner licence with you when driving

  • You need to have a driving instructor or your supervisor who has held a full licence for at least two years in the front passenger seat

  • L plates must always be clearly displayed when your driving

  • You can only carry passengers when the supervisor who is with you agrees it’s OK to do so

  • The supervisor is responsible for everyone in the vehicle and for what happens when you’re driving

  • If you are under 20 years of age, there is a zero alcohol limit

  • If you’re 20 years of age or older, you must be within the adult alcohol limit

When are you able to take your restricted licence test

You need to be at the age of at least 16 years and 6 months old before you can take your restricted licence test. You need to be well prepared with the right level of driving skills and ability, and have held your restricted licence for at least 6 months. Take the time to drive as many routes in the My Test Drive App as possible to make sure you have the best opportunity of passing your restricted licence test. 

How to get a restricted licence in New Zealand | My Test Drive
How to get a restricted licence in New Zealand | My Test Drive
Who's allowed to be a supervisor

Your supervisor can be anyone that has held a full licence for at least two years.

Booking your restricted licence test

Remember, you need to have held your learner licence for at least six months to book your restricted driving test. When you're ready to book your test you can do so by the following:

  • Bring your ID to your nearest licensing agent or book online at or

  • Pay for your restricted driving test

  • Have an eyesight screening check (AA do these onsite)

  • Have your photo taken whilst completing the eye test screening process

  • Book the date for your restricted licence test

If decide to book your restricted licence test online, you'll be required to pay with a credit or debit card. You'll also need to arrive 30 minutes prior to your restricted licence test to complete the application.

Your eyesight screening check

When anyone applies for a driver licence, renews a drivers licence, or adds an endorsement, they have to show their eyesight is up to the required standard. Driving licence agencies have the equipment to give you a basic eyesight screening check. If you wear glasses or contact lenses when driving, this is known as a 'licence condition'. You can wear them for the restricted licence test and your driver licence will show you need them to drive.

You can also present a valid eyesight certificate or medical certificate that is less that 60 days old, but the certificate must be issued by a New Zealand optometrist. 

How to get a restricted licence in New Zealand | My Test Drive

Completing your restricted licence test

The average pass rate in New Zealand is between 60%-65%, at My Test Drive our goal is to ensure our user pass rate is above 75%.

Remember: The car you use for your test must have a current warrant of fitness, current registration, working brake and indicator lights, working horn and windscreen wipers, working handbrake, must have L plates on displayed on the front and back of the car, and remember you will need to bring your learner licence with you to the test.

The test lasts for 45 minutes with 35 minutes of driving time, and an additional 10 minutes for checking the safety of the vehicle.

During your test, you'll need to demonstrate basic driving skills and be able to safely drive in various road conditions without a supervisor, as well as demonstrate you can stay within the speed limit throughout the test.

The test is broken up into 2 stages. Stage 1 takes approximately 10 minutes and is generally considered as the easier part of the driving test. This stage normally restricts speed limits to a maximum of 60km, and is used to assess whether you have the skills required to advance to stage 2 of the test. This is to make sure that you don't put yourself, other road user or pedestrians at unnecessary risk.

Stage 2 of the test takes approximately 35 minutes to complete, and is designed to assess your skills in more challenging conditions; such as increased speed limit roads.

To pass the test, you must be able to 'demonstrate safe decision-making, observance of road rules and satisfactory car-handling skills throughout the entire test'. Some of the key areas you will be marked on are as follows -


  • Left and right hand turns

  • Lane changes

  • Signalling

  • Merging with traffic

  • Observation

  • Gap selection

  • Driving roundabouts

  • Reverse parallel parking and observations

At the end of your restricted licence test the officer will tell you whether you have passed or failed the test. They’ll also explain any errors you made similar to the My Test Drive Results Page.

If you fail the test, the officer will give back your learner licence so you can continue practicing until you're ready to re-sit the restricted licence test.

If you pass your restricted licence test, you will receive a 21-day temporary restricted licence to use until your photo licence arrives in the mail.

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