Can an expired US driver's license help me get an Ontario license?
June 7, 2009 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Can an expired US driver's license help me get an Ontario license?

I'm a US citizen living and working in Toronto. I have an expired US driver's license (from New Mexico) which I held for four years. I'm unable to renew my US license since New Mexico currently requires you to renew in person, and I'm not going back anytime soon. How should I go about getting an Ontario license? Will I have to start from the bottom, or does my expired US license and driving experience count for anything?

The US license has been expired since August.
posted by pravit to Law & Government (9 answers total)

This page from the government of Ontario suggests that your expired license will be good enough (all you need to prove is that you have two years of driving experience in the past three years). You'll need other documents to prove your identity though.
posted by ssg at 4:45 PM on June 7, 2009

The page Talez links to is about proving your identity, which is not the same as proving your driving experience. You need one or more documents to prove your identity (e.g. a passport) plus your old license to prove your driving experience.
posted by ssg at 4:49 PM on June 7, 2009

You need two years experience out of the last 3, so exchange licenses soon, before you're at one year past expiration date.
posted by jeather at 5:07 PM on June 7, 2009

I was able to exchange a California driver's 'license' (expired ~3 months) for an Ontario driver's 'licence' in August 2008. That was at the office at 5555 Eglinton Ave, south of the airport. I think you need to bring a copy of your NM driver record (please don't have a record of speeding and DUI!), and some additional form of ID. Contact the NM DMV for a copy of the driver record. Be prepared to arrive early - the line was already out the door by 8:20 am. You may need to sweet talk the beleaguered employees, because this isn't something they do every day, and they may not be familiar the process. Good luck!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:12 PM on June 7, 2009

Response by poster: Hmm. I guess the page about the reciprocal license agreement does not mention that the license needs to be a valid one, only that there needs to be some proof of driving experience. Thanks for the answers!
posted by pravit at 7:46 PM on June 7, 2009

I had exactly the same problem, but with an expired Alberta license. Not sure about states, but the rule for a Canadian province was that if it has been expired for more than a year you can't simply exchange it; mine had been expired for a year plus one week. I'd been living in Europe for 5 years and driving occasionally in Italy, and hadn't given my license much thought.
They refused to grant me any slack, so I had to do a written test (piece of cake) to get a 'G1' license, and then do a basic driving test a week later to get a 'G2' (very easy too). Actually no they did grant me a bit of slack, in that they gave me credit for having previously had a license, otherwise you're supposed to have spent a year or something with a G1 before your G2 road test. So your driving experience would probably be taken into account too.
So anyway, at worst it's pretty simple to get the G2, and it really doesn't restrict you too much (I have rented a car and they didn't bat an eye at the G2 license), the main problem is if you own a car that insurance rates are higher until you have a full 'G'. Mainly it's the cost and the hassle, and it sucks, but will be cheaper and easier than flying to New Mexico.
(Oh, also, and this might be an issue, car-sharing services - like VirtuCar here in Ottawa -require a G license to become a member)
posted by Flashman at 9:24 PM on June 7, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks! I actually want the license so I can join Zipcars.

One question. Do I need to go all the way to one of those DriveTest centres out in the suburbs, or can I go to something closer to the downtown area?
posted by pravit at 12:23 PM on June 8, 2009

Response by poster: Followup:

1. You need to go to the DriveTest centres all the way out in the suburbs.

2. As I learned the hard way through two unsuccessful excursions up to the Downsview DriveTest Centre, if your license is expired, not only do you need your 3-year driving record, it needs to be the original copy, not faxed.

I still haven't managed to exchange the license because the NM DMV is taking aeons to mail me the record. Oh well.
posted by pravit at 12:06 PM on August 5, 2009

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