Can you drive in Canada as an International Student?
Definitely! As an international student in Canada, you can generally obtain a driver’s license, although this is contingent on the province where you’re studying and your driving record from your previous country of residence. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of what you need to know about driving as an international student in Canada.
Driving Regulations in Canada’s Provinces
Driving in Canada is regulated at the provincial level, which means that each province and territory sets its own driving rules and policies. As such, the regulations for international students who wish to drive in Canada will depend on the province where they study. However, generally, international students are allowed to drive in Canada for a limited time when they first arrive if they have a valid license from their home country. Nonetheless, some provinces may require foreign drivers to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before entering Canada. Some provinces permit international students to drive using their foreign license, while others demand that international students apply for a provincial license.
Here are the driving regulations for international students in some of Canada’s most popular college and university destinations:
Ontario: Foreign drivers with a valid license are permitted to drive for 60 days after arriving in Ontario. After that period, international drivers in Ontario must exchange their license for an Ontario license, or apply for a new one. Ontario has a license exchange program with some countries to make the process more efficient.
British Columbia: Full-time international students do not require a BC license but should possess a valid license from their home country. It is strongly recommended that non-English or non-French licenses are accompanied by an IDP. Part-time international students must acquire a BC license within 90 days of moving to the province.
Quebec: International students and trainees do not require a Quebec license for the duration of their program but must have a license from their home country. It is recommended that non-English or non-French licenses be accompanied by an IDP.
Alberta: International students can drive for one year with their home country’s license and an IDP. After that period, they must obtain an Alberta license. However, if the student leaves the country and returns, the one-year period starts over again.
International drivers in Canada must obey all Canadian driving regulations in all cases.
Drive in Canada: International Driving Permit
The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that allows drivers from one country to drive in other countries. The IDP authorizes foreign drivers to operate a motor vehicle in Canada for a limited time that varies by province.
Foreign nationals cannot apply for an IDP from within Canada, but must apply from their home country. The IDP provides an English/French translation for foreign drivers coming to Canada.
Before coming to Canada, ensure that your IDP will cover you by consulting the driving regulations of the provinces you plan to drive in. It may be necessary to obtain a license from the province where you choose to reside.
Driving in Canada: Rules and Regulations
All foreign drivers who drive in Canada must be familiar with Canadian driving laws, rules, and regulations. These rules are established on a provincial basis, so drivers must refer to the guidelines of the provinces they plan to drive in.
In general, Canadian driving regulations mandate that all vehicles must be properly registered and insured. Failing to present a license, registration, and proof of insurance can result in significant fines and other penalties.
Furthermore, Canada has strict regulations regarding the use of alcohol and marijuana and the operation of motor vehicles. The rules vary from province to province. Anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face criminal charges for DUI, which may jeopardize their immigration applications and make them inadmissible to Canada, so international drivers should avoid drinking, drugs, and driving.
If you are interested in studying in Canada as an international student, please complete our free international student assessment. One of our team members will review your eligibility and contact you to discuss your options.