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Learn to Drive a Car in Canada as a Permanent Resident

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Canadian licensing process for new drivers is very strict and adheres to high standards of safety and mannerism. Moreover, it follows a graduate licensing system that offers 7L, G1, and G2 licenses for different levels of driving experience.
Foreigners and permanent residents have to follow the same licensing procedure to get their full driving license in Canada. And no, you don’t have to wait to pass your Canadian citizenship test or becoming a citizen to start driving here.
Here is what you need to know about driving in Canada as a permanent resident.

Licensing as a New Driver

If you have never held a driving license before, you will start with the knowledge test or G1 test. After succeeding in this test, the new driver will be issued a learner permit that he will use to drive under supervision on road.
Once you have gotten this permit, you have to drive a whole year with this license and get tested for the intermediate test – the G2 test – afterward. Passing this second test will make you eligible for a full license that removes alcohol and electronic devices restriction on new drivers.

Licensing as a New Resident

If you have held a driving license in your home country and want to convert it to a Canadian license, you have to start working on it before entering Canada. You will be good if your license from the home country is issued in English. Otherwise, get an international driving license to show in Canada.
Use this license to drive for up to 60 days in the country of your permanent residence. Meanwhile, check if you are eligible for the license exchange program. Canada exchanges license with certain countries that fulfill licensing and safety standards prevailing here.

Exchange License Program

If your country is one of those that meet these standards, your license will be translated to a Canadian license upon request with years of experience in your home country. To qualify for this privilege, you must have at least two years of driving experience under your belt.
If you don’t have the required experience or you have immigrated soon after getting your driving license in your home country, you will have to navigate the graduated licensing program to get the full license.

Other Countries

If your country is not a part of a license exchange program in Canada, you will have to start by taking the knowledge test. After you have passed this test, the licensing authority in your province of residence will decide – based on your experience and expertise and their testing criteria – the test you will take for getting a full license.
You may get a full license after taking a knowledge and practice test if you have more than two years of experience outside Canada.
Another situation is one where you have less than two years of overseas driving experience. In such circumstances, you will start with a knowledge test and navigate the graduated license program as a newbie.

Take Away

Getting a driving license in Canada is easy for permanent residents. In most cases, you can use your overseas driving license to convert to a Canadian license. In some cases, you will have to start with the knowledge test and progress through the graduated licensing program.

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