Top 10 FAQs About Getting Your Driver’s Licence in SA

by Staff Reporter

Getting behind the wheel is an exciting milestone, but navigating the process of obtaining your driver’s licence can be incredibly overwhelming. 

That’s why, to ease your journey, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 FAQs about getting your driver’s licence in South Africa.

Table of Contents

drivers licence

1. When Can I Start Driving On Public Roads in South Africa?

You are only legally allowed to drive on public roads in South Africa after you have gotten your learner’s licence. This is a must for anyone in South Africa who wants to get a driving licence. The learner’s licence is like a foundation for learning how to drive. It lets you practice driving skills, techniques and moves, preparing you for the next step —getting your driver’s licence!

To get a learner’s licence, you have to pass a theory test called the K53 learner’s licence test which needs to be written at a driving licence testing centre (DLTC). If you pass the K53 test, you’ll receive a learner’s licence. With this learner’s licence, you can drive on public roads, but there’s a catch—you must always have someone with a valid driver’s licence sitting in the passenger seat.

Your South African learner’s licence is valid for 24 months. This gives you plenty of time to practice for your official driver’s test, which is the next step in the process of getting your driver’s licence.

2. How Do I Get My Learner’s Licence?

Securing your learner’s licence involves passing the K53 learner’s licence test—a theoretical examination evaluating your understanding of the K53 defensive driving system, road rules, signs and vehicle controls.

In order to pass the K53 learner’s licence test, you’ll need to study from the K53 manuals. Once you have a sound knowledge of the K53 driving system, you’ll need to book your learner’s test at your local driving licensing testing centre (DLTC).

3. How Can I Pass My Learner’s Licence Test?

Preparation is key when it comes to passing your learner’s licence test. As stated before, you need to study the K53 manuals, which you will find available online or at various retailers such as Takealot, Loot and Exclusive Books. You can also find the K53 Manual for Learner’s and Driver’s tests at your local grocery stores, including Shoprite, Checkers and Woolworths.

Additionally, you can practice with online mock tests to reinforce your knowledge. A great one that you can try is called Get Your Learners. All you have to do is register a free account and practice with the mock tests to track how you’re doing. 

If you don’t have a computer, don’t worry! You can also download apps that will allow you to practice the K53 driving system on your mobile. Give the K53 South Africa app a try if you’re an Android user, and The K53 Learner’s Test App if you’re using an iPhone.

people booking their drivers licence at the driving licence testing centre

4. How Do I Book a Learner’s Licence Test Date?

To book your learner’s licence, visit the nearest driving licensing testing centre (DLTC) to book a test date and confirm it. Once confirmed, remember to take the following items with you:

  • ID document
  • Two identical black-and-white ID photos (check with DLTC for the number needed)
  • Booking fee
  • Proof of address, like a utility bill. If it’s not in your name, the bill owner should make an affidavit saying you live there.
  • If you live in an informal settlement, get a letter from the ward councillor to confirm your address.
  • Gauteng residents should apply online.
  • Fill out the Application for learner’s licence form (LL1) available at the DLTC. If you’re 65 or older, complete the Medical certificate form (MC) too.
  • Take an eye test at the testing centre or get it done by an optometrist and submit the form at the centre.
  • Study road signs, vehicle controls, and road rules before the learner’s licence test.

On the test day, submit:

  • Your booking receipt – this is proof that you have booked for your learner’s licence
  • Your ID

If you pass, you will need to pay the issue fee.

student practicing for drivers licence test with driving instructor

5. How Do I Get My Driver's Licence?

Once you’ve honed your skills with a learner’s licence, the next step is obtaining your driver’s licence. This involves passing both practical and theoretical tests. That’s right, you’re going to have to hit the books once again—meaning it’s time to unpack those K53 manuals. 

You’re also now going to have to learn how to drive using the theory that you’ve learned from the K53 manuals. The best way to learn is by hiring a driving instructor, as they are well-versed in K53 and can show you exactly what’s going to be on the driver’s licence test. You can spend the remainder of your time practicing with a family member or friend who is of legal age and with a valid driver’s licence.

Once you’ve hired a driving instructor, you’ll need to book regular lessons and start driving. After you’ve booked a sufficient amount and feel confident enough to take your driver’s test, you can book your driver’s licence test online, or have your driving instructor advise you on the next steps.

6. What Types of Driver’s Licence Codes Are There in South Africa?

South Africa uses a coding system for different types of vehicles. To become a driver, it’s important to understand the different types of driver’s licence codes. These codes help you know which vehicles you can drive. In South Africa, there are four main categories of driving licence codes:

  • Code A Driver’s Licence: This is for motorcycles.
  • Code B Driver’s Licence: This is for driving light motor vehicles (e.g. cars).
  • Code C Driver’s Licence: This is for driving heavy motor vehicles (e.g. small trucks) .
  • Code D Driver’s Licence: This is for driving combination and articulated vehicles (e.g. bus).

Once you know what each driving licence code means, you can choose the one that matches the type of vehicle you want to drive.

student practicing for drivers licence test

7. How Do I Pass My Driver’s Licence Test?

As stated earlier, the best way to pass your driver’s licence test is to practice, practice, practice! Be sure to hire a driving instructor to help get you started.

Your driving instructor is there to make sure you follow the rules for the driving test and avoid picking up any bad habits while you’re learning to drive.

If you’re searching for a driving school and instructor, here are some popular options:

While you’re taking driving lessons, you should also practice with a trusted family member who has plenty of experience in driving and a valid driver’s licence. Choose someone who is preferably calm and patient, so as not to stress you out while you’re learning how to drive.

You can also get additional support by accessing online resources about passing your driver’s licence test in your spare time. Whether you’re looking for helpful YouTube videos or professional assistance from local drivers, there’s tons of information available that will get you where you need to be.

Remember to take it slow, and don’t rush yourself. Every driver is different, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel like you’re not getting it right away. Just relax and keep on practicing! 

gauteng resident booking drivers licence test online

8. How Do I Book My Driver’s Licence Test Date?

To book your driver’s licence test date, you need to visit your nearest DLTC with the necessary documents:

  • Your learner’s licence
  • Your ID
  • Four identical black-and-white photographs (check with DLTC for the exact number they need before taking the photos)
  • Proof of your home address, like a utility bill. If it’s not in your name, the bill owner should write or type a declaration letter stating you live there, and the utility bill must be attached to the declaration.
  • If you live in an informal settlement, bring a letter from the ward councillor with an official date stamp confirming your address.
  • A booking fee.
  • Fill out the Application for driving licence form (DL1) at the DLTC.

If you’re in Gauteng, you can easily book your driver’s licence test online by visiting the NaTIS website.

Once you’ve booked, remember to keep the receipt as proof of payment and confirmation of your test date and time.

On the day of your driver’s licence test, make sure you’re at the DLTC at the specified time. Your receipt and learner’s licence will be checked before you take the test. You’ll be assessed by a qualified examiner.

If you pass the test, your fingerprints will be taken, and you’ll undergo an eye test at the DLTC. Alternatively, you can get an eye test from an optometrist and submit the form at the DLTC.

Forms to complete:

The Application for driving licence form (DL1) is available at any driving licence testing centre or online.

9. How Do I Book My Driver’s Licence Eye Test?

Eye tests are a crucial part of the process. Schedule your eye test at the DLTC or with a qualified optometrist. Ensure you have the necessary forms and fees.

It’s important to note that certain DLTCs will not accept a pre-arranged eye test form and you will still need to complete your eye test at the driving licence testing centre while you’re there.

However, for those that do accept your optometrist’s form, all you need to do to get one is visit your local optometrist, make an appointment and get your eyes tested. They will know exactly which form to fill out once you inform them that your eye test is for a driver’s licence test.

student who has passed their drivers licence test

10. How Long Does It Take to Receive My Driver's Licence and How Much Does It Cost?

If you pass your driver’s test, you’ll need to pay the issuing fee to get a temporary driving licence, which you’ll use while waiting for the ordered driving licence card.

You’ll be notified when your driving licence card is ready and you can collect it at the DLTC where you applied.

How long does it take:

What is the cost:

Overall, navigating the process of obtaining your driver’s licence requires preparation and understanding of the procedures involved. Remember, practice and knowledge are your best allies on the road to becoming a licensed driver in South Africa. Good luck!

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