Driving in BC

When driving as a new resident of British Columbia you will be required to take a drivers test, there are a few countries that are Exempt from this and can exchange their license without having to do a road test. You will have up to ninety days to get your new license.

Licensing is normally carried out at an ICBC licensing office, you will need to take your current license, two pieces of identification and a translation of your license may also be required. You will need to buy a permit for your written and road test. Learners can apply for the graduated learner program from age 16.

There are eight Classes of license in British Columbia; unless you intend to drive heavy goods or large passenger vehicles then the two to concentrate on are Classes 7 and 5.

Class 7 is your learner's license, to obtain this you will need to take and pass a written test and a vision test. Study the Road Sense Manual which covers rules and regulations of the road in British Columbia, before taking the written test. It is important to study this handbook prior to sitting the test as there are different rules and road signs in British Columbia that you will need to understand.

Once you have passed your class 7 license you are then able to take your road test. You must provide the vehicle for the road test and the examiner will check the vehicle over to ensure that is road worthy.

On passing the road test you will then be given your Class 5 license, which entitles you to drive. This license must be renewed every 5 years.

I was really nervous about having to take a test again, but it was easy compared to the road test I had taken 13 years earlier in England. My advice is to study the handbook well, get lots of practice driving with new rules and just go for it as soon as you feel confident. If you fail then you can take it again!

You must always carry your valid license, valid insurance and vehicle registration when driving in British Columbia. If you get stopped by the police and cannot produce the correct documents there is a hefty fine.

One of the most important factors for driving are the road conditions, so be sure to familiarise yourself with the section on Winter Driving.

Vehicle Insurance and Registration

All motorists in British Columbia must have Basic Autoplan coverage regardless of what they use their vehicle for. Basic Autoplan is the minimum amount of Insurance any vehicle must carry to legally operate in British Columbia. For residents of B.C this is provided through ICBC.

Basic Autoplan covers you as a person if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Most B.C motorists will purchase additional coverage for their vehicle and themselves. This can be bought through ICBC or private insurers.

The cost of Basic Autoplan is directly linked to your claim history, so make sure you have a letter from you current insurer proving your claim record. As a New Resident this may not be accepted.

One thing to consider when Buying A Vehicle in B.C. is that it may have to pass an AirCare test before its first registration renewal. This tests the emissions from your vehicle and provides a good insight into the general health of the engine. All new and used vehicles must be registered, licensed and insured with a local Autoplan broker.

Another vital service that is available if you are looking to buy a preowned vehicle is the vehicle history checking by Carproof. For a small fee they will provide a full report on any previous accidents, odometer level, the correct owner/registrant and if there are any other claims against the vehicle ownership. No one needs their vehicle to be repossessed because it has finance against it or find out it has been previously written off! For more information click on the logo - remember peace of mind is priceless!

For your convenience, here are additional links for relevant information:

  1. Alberta
  2. British Columbia
  3. Manitoba
  4. New Brunswick
  5. Newfoundland and Labrador
  6. Auto Insurance
  1. Nova Scotia
  2. Ontario
  3. Prince Edward Island
  4. Saskatchewan
  5. Winter Driving