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Driver's License

Renewals? Credit Card Format (CCF) Driver's License can only be renewed in South Africa.

It is not possible to apply for the CCF-format driving license from abroad. New CCF licenses are preceded by eye testing and taking of finger prints. This can only be done at a registered driving license testing center in South Africa.

South Africans who left the country after March 1998 will not be able to convert their licenses. These individuals should have converted their licenses before departure for abroad and since the cut-off date for conversion has expired on 30 April 2003, these licenses are no longer valid. Individuals falling within this category will need to re-apply for a new drivers license in South Africa.

Any further inquries you may have in this regard can directed to:

Help Desk 011-27-12-309-3759
Department of Transport 011-27-12-309-3134
Eastern Cape 011-27-43-642-3980/604-7433
Western Cape 011-27-21-483-2080/78
Gauteng 011-27-12-303-0871/2/3
North West 011-27-18-387-5483/5292
Limpopo 011-27-15-295-1000
KwaZulu 011-27-33-342-3939
Free State 011-27-51-409-8667/46/49/8479
Northern Cape 011-27-53-839-2158/86/41/48
Mpumalanga 011-27-13-753-3470/752-2776/97

All requests should include the ID number of license holders to enable the Department to find the record on the database.

For South Africans Who Intend to Drive in the U.S.

New York honors all valid foreign licenses. By law, New York will honor a valid driver's license issued by any other nation to a resident of that nation. You should not apply for a New York State license unless you become a resident of New York.

Non-US Resident Applicants

Although there is nothing in the Vehicle and Traffic Law which prohibits a non-US resident from applying for and receiving a New York State license, the New York Department of Motor Vehicle recommend against this because it is not necessary; New York will honor your foreign license.

If you have a license from any nation other than Canada, you must pass a written test, complete a five-hour pre-licensing course and pass a road test to qualify for a New York license. Your foreign license is valid for driving, but not for waiving tests and course for new drivers.

When you receive your New York license, you must surrender your foreign license. Your foreign license will be stored at the local DMV office and destroyed after 60 days. If you will need your foreign license because you are returning to South Africa, ask the examiner that your foreign license be filed. You may then request that license back by going to the office where it is filed and surrendered your New York State license.

Note: When you apply for a driver's license in New York State, you must provide your Social Security number on the application or a letter from the U.S. Social Security Administration stating that you are not eligible for a Social Security number.

International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit is not a license to drive. By itself the permit is not valid for driving in New York State. The permit merely confirms that you hold a valid license in South Africa. New York honors the underlying license, not the permit. However, a permit is helpful because it informs authorities in several languages, tha you have a valid foreign driver's license.

For more information about U.S. driver's license visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle website.

Letter of Entitlement

A number of requests have been received from South African citizens living abroad for a "Letter of Entitlement" to be issued to them as it is required to exchange their South African driver's licenses for driver licenses of their country of residence.

Please be advised that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation does not issue such certificates/letters.

A "Letter of Entitlement" can only be obtained from the Department of Transportation's Road Traffic Management Corporation and guidelines to obtain such letter can be received from the following:

Rhoda Pheeha rhodap@rtmc.co.za
Lerato Lefoka leratol@rtmc.co.za
David Moutlong davidm@rtmc.co.za
Tshwarelo Maupa tshwarelom@rtmc.co.za

For Americans Who Intend to Drive in South Africa

Any valid U.S. driver's license is accepted in South Africa, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder; is printed in English; and the license is issued while the holder thereof was not permanently or ordinarily a resident of South Africa for the period thereof; and subject to the conditions under which such license was issued. If your license does not comply, you should obtain an International Driving Permit before flying to South Africa.

U.S. residents usually obtain International Driving Permits from local auto clubs affiliated with the AAA. The New York Department of Motor Vehicle does not issued International Driving Permits.

Exchanging a Foreign Driver's License

A foreign driver's license may be exchanged for a South African driver's license if:

  1. the license is valid
  2. the license is in an official language in South Africa
  3. the license is accompanied by a letter of validity obtained from the relevant embassy and a translation if the license is not in an official language of South Africa
  4. the license has a photo and signature of the holder.