Obtaining an Ontario Driver’s License

Depending on where you are from, you may be used to driving to get from place to place, and you may want to do the same here! In Ontario, licenses are blue cards that have your photo and address clearly stated on them. The process of acquiring your Ontario driver’s license will depend on whether you’re already a licensed driver or you’re a new driver. Here’s some helpful information on what to do in both cases.


Obtaining an Ontario driver’s license – licensed drivers:

First, it’s good to understand that drivers who have an International Driving permit. These licenses are valid for one year after they are issued, and allow you to drive internationally without penalty, and you won’t have to take any further tests or fill out an application.

If you don’t have an international driving permit, the process of obtaining an Ontario Driver’s License is fairly simple. You have 60 days to switch your license after your arrival in Canada. To do so, make an appointment at either at a Ministry of Transportation (MTO) DriveTest Centre  (1-888-570-6110) or at the ServiceOntario College Park location (1-800387-3445).

Make sure to bring identification that clearly states your  legal name, date of birth and signature. Also, make sure to have your original foreign driver’s license with you. You also may be required to bring additional documents that show proof of your driving record and experience, though this depends on how long you’ve been driving and whether or not your country of origin has an international exchange agreement with Ontario. While you are applying, you’ll be required to take an eye test. You will also be charge a fee, which varies depending on the class of Ontario driver’s license you require (a standard “class G” license is $146). 

Obtaining an Ontario driver’s license – new drivers:

For new driver’s the process of obtaining a license is a bit longer, and the Ministry of Transportation will be happy to assist you over the phone with any questions you have. Ontario has a graduated licensing process, which means you will hold beginners driver’s licenses before you receive your full license.

Here’s a rundown of the process:

  • First, new drivers need to pass a written knowledge test and a vision test.  They receive a G1 driver’s license for 12 months. This license has some restrictions. For instance, they need to maintain a zero blood-alcohol content, need to drive with a fully-licensed driver, and cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m. After one year of driving, they are able to take a G1 road test. The process can be accelerated by taking a government-approved driver’s education course
  • Next, if new drivers pass the G1 test, they are issued a G2 license. With this license they can drive alone, at any time of day, and on all roads and highways. Other restrictions do apply, however.
  • Finally, after passing the G2 road test new drivers are issued a full G license. This is a full license, and the only restriction is for drivers less than 21 years of age. They must maintain a zero blood-alcohol content while driving.


To understand all the rules of the road, be sure to check out Ontario’s online Driver’s Handbook. Another great resource is MTO’s Out of Country Drivers.

From all of us here at Settle-in.com, happy trails!


Visit “The Guide” at Settle-in.com, and read the “Transportation” chapter to learn more about drivers licenses, public transportation, and all your options for getting around.


Learn more about driving in Canada:


(photos: Nick Coombe vis Flickr, cc and Diego Torres Silvestre vis Flickr, cc)


About Camille

I adore Paris, I really do. But who can pass up an exciting opportunity to explore North America? When I enrolled in a Canadian university, I experienced the differences between French culture in France and French culture in Canada. And there really are differences! For one, French Canadians speak French in their own way. The country is so vast and there are lots of opportunities to find a fulfilling career. While some cities feel like a mix of European and North American culture, others have a completely Canadian identity. And don’t get me started on the delicious, hearty food! The country is charming, laid back and full of life. I’m here to help ease your transition to Canadian living, and give you a few of my special insider tips. // J’adore Paris, vraiment, mais qui peut refuser une occasion formidable d’aller explorer l’Amérique du Nord. Lorsque je me suis inscrite dans une université canadienne, j’ai vécu les différences entre la culture française en France et la culture française au Canada et il y a vraiment beaucoup de différences ! Effectivement, les canadiens français parlent français à leur manière. Le pays est si vaste qu’il y a beaucoup d’opportunités pour réaliser une carrière enrichissante. Alors que plusieurs villes sont un mélange de la culture Européenne et Nord Américaine, d’autres sont typiquement canadiennes. Sans parler des mets délicieux et plutôt copieux ! C’est un pays charmant, décontracté et plein de vie. Je suis là pour vous aider à faciliter votre transition vers la vie canadienne et pour vous donner quelques un de mes conseils.