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Why you need an approved translation for your driver licence
You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months of your arrival if you have a current driver’s licence. If the licence is not in English, you must carry an accurate English translation.
You can also legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months of your arrival if you have an International Driving Permit that is issued in English or translated into English, provided that you also carry the current driver licence that the permit is based on.
In New Zealand all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.
It is important to note that if you are caught driving without an acceptable English translation or an IDP, you may be prosecuted for driving unlicensed or for driving without an appropriate licence. You will be liable for an infringement fee of NZ$400, or up to NZ$1,000 if you are convicted in court.
The police also have the power to forbid an unlicensed driver to drive until they have an appropriate licence. If you continue to drive after being forbidden, the vehicle you are driving will be impounded for 28 days, at the vehicle owner’s expense. You may also risk not being covered by your insurance in the event of a crash.