In this guide, we delve into the real-life experiences of a foreigner living and working in Cape Town, as she shares her personal journey of obtaining a driver’s license in South Africa. The process can vary from straightforward to starting from scratch, particularly if your foreign driver's license is approaching expiration and returning home for renewal isn't feasible. We'll provide you with a step-by-step walkthrough of how to secure a South African driver's license as a foreign national, emphasising the necessity of holding a valid temporary residency visa for this process.
Using Your Overseas Driver’s License
If you have a valid overseas driver's license, you can use it in South Africa. However, if your license isn't in English, it's advisable to accompany it with an international driver's license to ensure easy understanding by local authorities. Foreigners with permanent residency can also convert their foreign driver's license into a South African one.
Starting from Scratch: How to Apply for an SA Driver’s License
If your foreign driver's license is approaching its expiration date, and returning to your home country for renewal isn't feasible, you can apply for a South African driver's license, but you'll need to start the process from the beginning. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Apply for a Traffic Registration Number (TRN)
Begin by applying for a TRN, which you can obtain at your local vehicle registration office. The TRN application form is usually available online. You'll typically need the following documents:
- TRN form
- Two ID photos
- Copy of a valid visa
- Proof of address
Additional documents like proof of employment, payslips, a copy of your marriage certificate, and an affidavit explaining the reason for needing a TRN (although these might not always be necessary).
The good news is that there's no fee for the TRN application. After submitting your documents, they'll inform you to check back in 3-4 weeks.
Step 2: Apply for Your Learner’s License
Once you have your TRN certificate, you can apply for your Learner’s License and even register a vehicle in your name. Head to your local traffic department or license department office. Here's what you'll need:
- Valid Visa
- TRN certificate
- Card for payment (usually around R68)
- Application form
During this visit, you'll wait in line and have your documents checked. In some cases, they might direct you to verify your visa status down the hall, where officials will ensure that your visa was issued by VFS and provide a tracking result. After an eye test and form filling, you'll pay the required fee and book your Learner’s test date. Usually, there are available test dates for the following week.
Step 3: Take the Learners Test
On the day of your Learners test, you'll report to the classroom to take the exam. It's advisable to prepare by downloading the K53 app and practicing with K53 booklets. You'll have one hour to complete the exam. If you pass, they'll direct you to the payment window, where they'll print your Learner’s License, and you'll pay the remaining fee.
- Card for Payment
- Booking Form
- Payment (around R33)
The Learner’s License is valid for two years, and you can proceed to book your driving test.
If you have any more questions or need advice on South African immigration matters, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll happily assist you.