Everything to know around owning a car in NSW

Your feet are finally on Australian soil and one of the first things you will note is how large this country is and getting around is not going to be easy. Unless living in the middle of the Sydney probably one of your biggest first purchases will be buying a car. This post will hopefully guide you on some of the key things you need to know to get you going on your road to car ownership.

Driver’s licence:

First things first is getting your driving licence, this will be a different experience for each state so if you are planning to live outside of NSW, please speak to a relocation agent from that state for guidance. If you are in NSW then check out the NSW Transport website or for other states visit the useful links page, for a detailed checklist of the process, but in summary:

1.You are allowed to drive on your UK licence for up to 3 months after your official arrival, so you do have some time to complete the process. However, stating that having an Australian driver’s licence will significantly assist when setting up all your other aspects of Australian life.

2.The process is simply a form that you need to complete and take to an NSW Service centre. At the centre they will take a photo of you, so make sure you got your hair and make up ready or end up like me where I am stuck with a photo for 10 years looking like I crawled out from under a rock. When getting your licence, you will be given the option to get a licence for 1,3, 5 or 10 years and will pay accordingly. (Speak to your relocation agent who can help with the form filling!)

3. Once you have paid your fee you will be provided a slip which confirms your new drivers licence number, you need to ensure you have this on you whenever driving until you get your card in mail (normally within 10days). Do note it is a legal requirement to always have ID on you in Australia therefor I would highly recommend having the NSW service app on your phone where you can register for a digital copy of your drivers’ licence.

4. Motorbikes/HGV/ special licences. Please speak with someone at Service NSW to understand how to get these transferred across.

5. For those people with UK points on your licence these will not be transferred to your Australian licence. Here in Aus they are referred to as Demerits and for a person on a full licence you get 12 merit points to start with and every time you get caught speeding or such these are taken off you and when you get to Zero your licence is rescinded for a period of time. Watch out for public holidays as there will be double demerits.

6. If you are 16- 17 in the UK and in the process of getting your licence then you may have to start again when you arrive. To get your licence in Aus you are required to:

– Pass the Hazard Perception Test

– Pass an eye site test

– pass your driver’s licence test; and

– If under 25 you are required to log 125 hours of driving and have your learners for a least 12 months.

Once you have passed you will be given a P1 licence which will limit you to the speed you can go and the sized car you can get after 12 months you will get your P2 which after 12 months you will then gain your full licence.


Buying a car

If looking to buy brand new, then please ensure that you speak to an approved finance provider to understand what your options are. Overall, you will require at least 3 payslips but without a credit score expect that interest rates will be on the higher end.

For second hand cars check out these websites:




If you are not a car savvy person, then there are a range of providers where an approved mechanic will come and do a check over the car before you buy. Look out for providers who will give a guarantee to their work or if buying from a dealer a dealer request that a 12 month warranty is included in the purchase.

Also check any car through REVS on https://www.revs.com.au/ which will tell you if the car has ever been written off or if anyone else continues to have a charge over the car and check the NSW transport page where you can order a car history report.

Rego (aka Registration)

Once you have purchased the car you will be required to register the car, this can be done either online or in person at a Service NSW. As part of this you will need to:

1. Pay stamp duty. Overall, this is 3% of the purchase price.

2. Provide evidence of your Green Slip – Compulsory Third-Party Insurance (CTP).

3.Provide evidence of your Pink Slip – eSaftey inspection report (same as your MOT certificate in the UK). In most instances this is only required for vehicles over 5 years of age.

This often needs to be done with 2 weeks of buying the car other wise you will be charged a fine.

When buying a used car, you will often see if the description X months rego this will overall be referring to the how long is left on the pink slip.


Insurance is treated like that in the UK, everyone is required to have the above-mentioned Green Slip and then you can choose to have a range of insurance levels up to fully comprehensive.

Check out the comparison websites like Compare the Market to find the best provider for you.

Do note your no claims does not automatically follow you from the UK and depending on your insurance provider you may end up with a varied experience. Such as with Virgin Money we was asked to provide a copy from our UK insurer and for Suncorp it was never mentioned and the quote provided was very reasonable. (in fact cheaper than virgin)

Rules of the road

From my personal experience and having spoken to many a migrant driving in Australia can be both scary and frustrating. You will hear about common themes of everyone either driving 20 below the speed limit or tail gating you eager to get to Maccas. If you find yourself driving in the cities watch out from Trams, endless one way and a range of confusing road signs. Cops are everywhere and expect to see drink/drug testing sites frequently or a cop in his holden hidden behind a bush!