Home Drivers Licence How to get your driver’s licence in South Africa step-by-step

How to get your driver’s licence in South Africa step-by-step

by Staff Reporter

How to get your driver’s licence in South Africa

Getting your driver’s licence for the first time? It may feel a bit daunting, especially if you are new to driving! We’ve put together all the information you need to help you get your driver’s licence in South Africa.

Step-by-step

Before you’re allowed to drive on a public road in South Africa, you must demonstrate theoretical knowledge of the rules of the road and the practical application of driving manoeuvres and procedures.

First things first – you need to get your learner’s licence before even considering getting into the driver’s seat. A learner’s licence is mandatory for anyone applying for a driving licence in South Africa, and provides you with the foundation to practice driving skills, techniques and manoeuvres to ensure moving to the next level – getting your driver’s licence!  

To obtain a learner’s licence, you need to pass a theoretical test, known as the K53 learner’s licence test. When you pass the test, you will qualify for a learner’s licence that permits driving on public roads, provided you have someone with a valid driver’s licence in the passenger seat at all times.

A South African learner’s licence is valid for 24 months, giving you enough time to practice for your official driver’s test.

So how do you go about getting your learner’s licence? Before you write the learner’s licence test, you must understand the K53 defensive driving system which will teach you the road signs, motor vehicle controls and road rules in South Africa.

To pass the learner’s licence test you will need to:

  • know all the rules of the road;
  • understand the basics of the K53 defensive driving system;
  • know what the various vehicle controls (steering wheel, gears, footbrake, etc.) are used for; and
  • know the meanings of the road traffic signs, signals and painted road markings, and how to respond to each of them.

How to study for your learner’s licence test in South Africa

The first step to passing the learner’s licence test is understanding the K53 defensive driving system in South Africa.

 Once you’ve learned about the different road rules, you need to study the internal and external vehicle components.

teenager studying for learners test

Get the study manual for a learner’s licence in South Africa

Get your hands on a K53 Manual for the Learner’s and Driver’s Tests. The K53 Manual for the Learner’s and Driver’s Tests is available to purchase online from major online stores such as Takealot, Loot, Readers Warehouse and Exclusive Books.

You can also find the K53 Manual for the Learner’s and Driver’s Tests in common grocery stores such as Shoprite, Checkers and Woolworths and small book stores. Some driving schools also offer classes for the learner’s licence, and there are private instructors that offer tutelage for learner’s licence tests.

If you’d prefer an online version of the manual, some websites do offer a copy for download – here’s a start:

Study the manuals

There are 3 learning manuals in the K53 Manual for the Learner’s and Driver’s Tests you need to study before writing your learner’s test. They are:

  • Rules of the Road

The rules of the road are there to regulate traffic flow, to ensure safety, and to protect the rights of individual road users. There are rules for speed limits, lane discipline, parking and lights.

  • Vehicle Controls

Vehicle controls are items such as the steering wheel (handlebars for motorcycles), brakes, clutch pedal, accelerator pedal, speedometer, emergency brake and much more. You must know what each control is used for.

  • Road Traffic Signs

You must know the meanings of the various road signs, traffic signals and road surface markings, and how to respond to them when you see them on the road. 

Practice with online mock tests

There are some websites that have online tests you can practice with but don’t rely solely on these – study the handbook first and then use the mock test to practice. 

A good online mock test to try out is Get Your Learners. Just register for a free account on their portal and you can practice with mock tests and keep track of how you’re doing.

You can even study and practice on your mobile device! For Android users, the Google Play Store has the K53 South Africa app you can download for free and practice on. For iPhone users, you can visit the App Store to download The K53 Learner’s Test App.

The mock tests change every year, so get your hands on a few and start learning the different questions, and how to differentiate the answers.

Booking and taking your learner’s licence test in South Africa

Before you can write your learner’s test, you will have to book an appointment. All learner’s licence tests in South Africa are written at a driving licensing testing centre (DLTC). You need to go to your nearest driving licensing testing centre (DLTC) to book a test date and confirm the booking.

 Check out our complete list of Driver’s Licence Testing Centres in South Africa to find local DLTCs.

Booking your learner’s licence test date

To book an appointment to write your learner’s licence test, you will need the following:

  • Completed Application for Learner’s Licence (LL1) form which is available online or at the DLTC.
  • If you are 65 years or older, you must also complete a Medical certificate form (MC), which is available online or at the DLTC.
  • You will go for an eye test at the testing centre or you may have an eye test performed by a qualified optometrist and submit the form at the testing centre. It is worth noting that, depending on the DLTC, you may still be required to have your eye test completed at the DLTC regardless of documents provided by a qualified optometrist.
  • 2 identical black-and-white ID photographs (before you have photographs taken, you should double check with the DLTC how many photos they require)
  • A booking fee of R150 (contact the DLTC before you go to book your test to confirm the current fees)
  • Your Identity Document (ID)
  • Proof of postal and residential address e.g. a utility account. If the utility account is not in your name, the owner of the utility account must make an affidavit declaring that you live at the address and the utility account must be attached to the affidavit. 
  • If you stay at an informal settlement, you must bring a letter with an official date stamp from the ward councillor confirming your postal and residential address.
  • Your fingerprints will be taken
  • Once your booking is completed, a receipt will be issued by the cashier when you pay the booking fee. Remember to keep this receipt as proof of payment, as you will need it when you go for the actual test.

Once you have submitted your full application and paid the booking fee, you will be given an appointment date which is generated by The ENaTiS (National Traffic Information System) to write your test. 

All the necessary information will be available on your appointment sheet, which is given to you to confirm your appointment.

Writing your learner’s licence test

On the day of your learner’s licence test, you must take the following with you:

  • Your identity document (ID)
  • Your booking receipt/fee
  • R60

How long does a learner’s licence test take in South Africa?

The learner’s licence is issued on the same day if you passed the test and paid the relevant fee.

How much does a learner’s licence cost in South Africa?

The issuing fee for the learner’s licence is R60. To confirm the most current costs for your learner’s licence, it is advised to contact your local licensing office.

How long is a learner’s licence valid in South Africa?

The learner’s licence is valid for 24 months and cannot be extended. 

How to prepare for your driver’s licence test in South Africa

Getting your driver’s licence is an exciting venture and life-changing experience!  Taking the driving test can be a little nerve-racking, but there are ways to prepare and practice that will help you calm your nerves a little.

Schedule lessons with an instructor until you feel confident

Getting lots of practice with a certified driving instructor is the best way to keep all basic and more advanced procedures and manoeuvres top of mind. Your driving instructor will help you adhere to the standards required for the test, and ensure you don’t fall into any bad habits as you learn to drive. 

If you are looking to find a driving school and instructor, we have listed some well-known driving schools and directories:

Practise with experienced licensed drivers in your family

You should try to get in additional time to practise what you’ve learnt with your instructor, in your spare time. Feeling confident and calm behind the wheel and putting your knowledge into practice continuously is the best way to build your knowledge and muscle memory. 

Find adults with driving experience, preferably someone with a calm approach, that can accompany you on additional driving lessons around your local area, or your test zone.

part-2-getting-your-drivers-licence

Use online resources & video lessons

Using online resources in your free time can help you become more familiar with what to expect in your test. Using video lessons to understand test requirements and procedures, and aligning them with knowledge and K53 standards will help you feel more confident in the lead up to your test. 

We’ve collected a few helpful resources to help you learn more about your driving test online:

Try to practice as much as possible in the vehicle that you will take to your actual test. Each car drives a little differently and it is a good idea to be comfortable in the car you will be using. Keep this in mind when preparing for your driving test.

how-to-get-your-driver's-licence-in-south-africa

How to book & take your driver’s licence test in South Africa

So, you’ve passed your learner’s test, and you’ve been practising how to drive the K53-way, and it’s now time to book for your official driver’s test! Here are some key elements to help guide you through the process.

You need to go to your nearest driving licensing testing centre (DLTC) to book a test date and confirm the booking. Let’s take a look at the procedure below.

Booking your driver’s licence test date

To book an appointment to do your driver’s licence test, you must go to your nearest driving licence testing centre (DLTC) to book a test date. Take the following with you:

  • Your learner’s licence
  • Your Identity Document (ID)
  • 4 identical black-and-white photographs. (before you have photographs taken, you should confirm with the DLTC how many photos they require)
  • The completed Application for Driving Licence form (DL1) which is available online or at the DLTC.
  • Proof of postal and residential address, e.g. a utility account. If the utility account is not in your name, the owner of the utility account must make an affidavit declaring that you live at the address, and the utility account must be attached to the affidavit. 
  • If you stay at an informal settlement, you must bring a letter with an official date stamp from the ward councillor confirming your postal and residential address.
  • A booking fee of R220 to R300 (contact the DLTC before you go to book your test to confirm the current fees). Keep the receipt as proof of payment and as confirmation of the test date and time.

Taking your driver’s licence test

On the date of the test, you must be at the DLTC before the specified testing time. Remember to take your receipt and learner’s licence with you, as they will be verified before you proceed with the test. 

You will begin with the yard test – which involves a  pre-trip inspection of the vehicle and driving manoeuvres in the yard. 

During the pre-trip inspection, you have to conduct an interior and exterior check on the vehicle in order to show that it is roadworthy for the driving test.

 During the yard test you will need to demonstrate parking manoeuvres, successful reversing and moving off on an incline without rolling. If you successfully pass this section, you will then proceed onto the road test – a practical driving test on the road with other traffic outside of the yard.

 You will have 20 minutes to complete the yard test and between 20 and 45 minutes to complete the road tes

After passing your driver’s test

If you pass the driving test, your fingerprints will be taken and you must pay the issuing fee of R250 for your driver’s licence card (contact the DLTC before you go to book your test to confirm the current fees) and to receive a temporary driving licence, which you will use while you wait for the ordered driving licence card.

You will be notified when your driving licence card is ready for collection and you’ll collect your driving licence card at the DLTC where you made your application.

After failing your driver’s test

Not everyone passes the driving test on the first try. If you fail your driving test you can reapply.. Keep your test scores and remember where you struggled the most so you can arrange extra essential practice to ensure you are completely confident for your next test. When you reapply, you’ll need to submit the same documents again and book another test date.

Test Reduced

How long does a driver’s licence test take in South Africa?

  • The test starts with a pre-trip inspection and a yard test, which usually takes 20 minutes. 
  • The second part of the test is the road test which takes place for 20-45 minutes if you pass your yard test first.

How long does it take to receive your driver’s licence in South Africa?

  • Your driving licence should be ready within 4 to 6 weeks.
  • A temporary driving licence is issued immediately.

How much does a driver’s licence test cost?

To confirm the most current costs for your driver’s licence test, it is advised to contact your local licensing office.

When booking a date for your test, the application fee ranges between R220 and R300. Once you have passed your test, you will need to pay around R250 to be issued with your temporary licence, and asked to pick up your full driver’s licence card within a few weeks depending on the DLTC. 

Don’t forget to factor in your driving instructor and their fees as you prepare and take your test. You may also need to hire a vehicle from your driving instructor or driving school and schedule mock tests before and on your test day. This helps as your instructor will test you on similar routes used by examiners at the chosen DLTC. 

How long is a driver’s licence valid in South Africa?

The driver’s licence is valid for 5 years and must be renewed when it expires. The renewal fees for driver’s licences range from R230 to R260, depending on the DLTC.

drivers-licence-card

Final thoughts

To ensure getting your driver’s licence goes as smoothly as possible, follow our step by step guide, study the K53 defensive driving system, arrange plenty of lessons with a certified driving instructor and practice with experienced drivers in your family or friend group.

It’s up to you to study and practice as much as you can in order to get a well-rounded understanding of the theoretical and practical elements you’ll be tested on during the test. 

Once you’re completely confident, find your nearest Driving Licence Testing Centre and reserve your test date. 

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