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Service Nova Scotia - Registry of Motor Vehicles

Newly Licensed Driver's Licence

Who Needs This Licence?

Anyone in Nova Scotia who has a Learner's Licence has to graduate to the third stage of Graduated Driver Licensing, the restricted individual stage.

Classes of Newly Licensed Driver's Licences : In Nova Scotia, there are two different types of this licence:

(1) Class 5 N (for "Newly licensed...) -- which allows you to drive cars, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans seating less than 10 people;

(2) Class 6 N -- which allows you to drive a motorcycle.

This section is about the regular (Class 5N) Newly Licensed Driver's Licence.

For information on Class 6N, see Motorcycle Driver's Licence .

Graduated system: Nova Scotia has a Graduated Driver Licensing system with 3 stages :
(1) Learner's Licence, sometimes called a Beginner's Licence [see Learner's Licence ];
(2) Newly Licensed Driver's Licence (this section); and
(3) The Restricted Individual stage.

New drivers have to graduate from all three levels before they can get their regular licence.

Issuing Department / Agency:
Service Nova Scotia
Where can you get this Licence and / or further information?:
Phone: 902-424-5851 or if calling long distance, 
call 1-800-898-7668 (toll-free)

Registry of Motor Vehicles Offices are located in Most Access Nova Scotia locations

E-mail: Send us an e-mail through our online enquiry form.

Service Nova Scotia
PO Box 1652
Halifax, NS  B3J 2Z3

Fax: 902-424-0720
Application Forms & Process:
For regular (Class 5N) Newly Licensed Driver's Licence (for driving cars, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles, and vans seating less than 10 people)
To get this licence, you have to do 3 things:

(1) You have to have a Learner's Licence .

(2) You have to pass a road test (Driving Examination).

There is more information on this later in this section; see Additional Information (F), below.
(3) You have to complete a waiting period . Before you can take the road test, you must have your Learner's Licence for at least 12 months. However, there is an exception:
(a) If you successfully complete an approved Driver Education course that includes at least 25 hours of classroom teaching and 10 hours of driving with an instructor, the minimum waiting period is reduced to 9 months.

Note: The Driving School must be certified by Service Nova Scotia.
Issuing the Licence:
  Once you pass the road test (Driving Examination), there is no further waiting period; you pay the fee, and receive a temporary document which is valid for 30 calendar days. You will receive your new card in the mail within 14 calendar days of visiting an Access Nova Scotia or Registry of Motor Vehicles Office.
Expiry & Renewal
(a) A N.S. Newly Licensed Driver's Licence is valid for 5 years, and can be renewed. The Department will send out a renewal notice before your licence expires.  (So be sure to let the Department know if you change your address!) 
At any point during the last 6 months before it expires, you can renew your Newly Licensed Driver's Licence. But not before. (That means that usually your licence has to be at least 4 1/2 years old before you can renew it.)

(b) You have to come to the office in person to renew this licence, because a new photo must be taken for the licence.

(c) You can pick up the Application for Driver Licence form you need at the service counter.

(d) When you are speaking to the customer service representative at the counter, you should tell them if either of these 2 situations apply to you:

1) If your licence was suspended or revoked at any point since the last time you renewed it; or

2) If there have been any changes in your physical or mental condition which might have changed your ability to drive (for example, you did not need glasses for driving before, but now you do.....)

Note: If either of those two situations apply to you, and you don't tell the counter person when you are renewing your licence, your driving privileges may be cancelled.

Application Process: Other Items:
The process for replacing your licence (because it has been lost or stolen), or changing your name on your licence (for example, after you have married), or changing your address on your licence, are the same as for a regular Driver's Licence. [See Driver's Licence, Additional Information, E, F & G ]

Payment at counter:  cash, Interac debit card, Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card, cheque or money order made out to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Road Test Receipts Only - Payment Online: You can pay for a Road Test Receipt online using your Debit card (Interac® Online), or Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

Initial application: $66.95 (not taxed)
Renewal: $80.15 (not taxed)
Replacement licence: $25.10 (not taxed)
Name change:
$25.10 (not taxed)
Address change Free
(However, if you wish to display the new address on your existing licence, you may apply for a replacement by visiting an Access Nova Scotia or Registry of Motor Vehicles office and paying the applicable fee.)

Road Test Receipt:

$53.00 (tax included)
Related Requirements:
Under some conditions, applicants may have to produce Medical certificates or Optical certificates.
Additional Information:
A photograph of the licence holder is on all N.S. Driver's Licences.
Under certain circumstances, you can get an exemption (and a licence with no photo on it). For more information, contact the Department (see Where can you get
...., above).

A Newly Licensed Driver's Licence has a large letter "N" on it to alert police that you are a Newly Licensed Driver.

(1) First restriction -- zero blood alcohol level: When you have a Newly Licensed Driver's Licence, the tolerance for alcohol content in your blood when you are driving is ZERO. That means: if you are stopped while driving, and asked to take a breathalyzer test, and it shows ANY ALCOHOL CONTENT AT ALL in your blood, your licence will be suspended for 6 months. If your blood alcohol level is over .05, you may get an immediate 24-hour roadside suspension ; if it is over .08, you will be arrested and your licence will be suspended for a full year.  And after your suspension is over, you will have to start over as a Newly Licensed Driver; see (D) Points & Suspensions ..., below.

For more information on breath samples and roadside suspension, see Driver's Licence, (D) Failing a Breathalyzer Test.

(2) Second restriction -- front seat of vehicle: When a Newly Licensed Driver is driving, there can be only 1 other person in the front seat of the vehicle.

(3) Third restriction -- positions and seat belts: When a Newly Licensed Driver is driving, every single passenger must be sitting, and every single passenger must have a seat belt on. Front seat and back seat. There cannot be more people in the car than there are seat belts.

For information on the special rules dealing with infants and small children, contact the Department. (See Where can you get ...., above)

(4) Fourth restriction -- late-night driving: A Newly Licensed Driver is not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless they meet one of the two following conditions:

(a) they are accompanied by an "supervising driver" -- who has to be sitting in the front seat of the vehicle.
Note: not just every driver counts as an "supervising driver! [For details, see the Learner's Licence, Additional Information (C-2).]
(b) or they have gotten a written exemption from the Department because of their job. A Form APP33 Application for Exemption from Nightime Driving Curfew must be properly completed, signed and submitted with the fee of $33.10 to request the exemption.
For more information on this Curfew Exemption, contact the Department (see Where can you get ..., above).

Nova Scotia has a demerit point system for drivers, and this applies to Newly Licensed Drivers. If you are caught breaking a driving law (for example, by going through a stop sign, or not wearing a seat belt, or speeding ....), then you will get demerit points on your licence.

If you get 6 or more points on your licence, it will be suspended for 6 months .

After your suspension is over, then, no matter how long you already had your Newly Licensed Driver's Licence, you will have to go through the full "waiting period" again.  That means, you will have to wait 2 full years from the time that your suspension is over before you can graduate to a regular driver's licence.

For more information on points & suspensions contact the Department (see Where can you get ..., above.)

E) GRADUATION to the next level of driver's licence:
After your Newly Licensed Driver's Licence, the next level in the graduated licensing system is the restricted individual stage . There are 2 things you have to do before a newly Licensed Driver can graduate to that licence:

(a) Waiting period: you have to wait at least 2 full years;

(b) Course: you have to successfully complete an approved Driver Improvement Program (sometimes called the "defensive driving" course);

There are 2 kinds of Driver Improvement Programs -- a full course and a short course. These are explained in the N.S. Driver's Handbook, or you can contact the Department for information. (See Where can you get ....., above.)

Note: you must give the Department a copy of the Certificate you get when you pass the Driver Improvement Program. (This is kept in the Department records.)

F) ROAD TEST (Driving Examination):
This examination will test your actual driving skill, and will be conducted by an Driver Enhancement Officer from Service Nova Scotia.

Arranging for a road test: There are 2 steps: (1) pay for the test, and (2) make an appointment.

Paying for the road test:

(a) You have to pay a fee to take a road test, and you have to pay it before you can make an appointment.

The fee is $53.00 (tax included).

(b) You can pay for your road test online or at any Registry of Motor Vehicles Service Location or by mail (See Where can you get ....., above.) you cannot pay for it over the phone.

Keeping your Receipt: When you pay for the road test, you will get a numbered receipt (sometimes called a "Driver Examination Receipt" and sometimes a "road test receipt").
(a) You have to give that number when you call to make an appointment for your road test. If you don't have it, you will not get an appointment.

(b) You have to take the receipt with you when you go for your road test. If you forget it, the road test will be cancelled (unless you buy another one).

Booking an appointment: You cannot take a road test unless you MAKE AN APPOINTMENT ahead of time.

The only way to make an appointment is to call one of these two numbers:

902-424-5851 or 1-800-898-7668 (toll-free)
Remember: you must have a numbered receipt to book an appointment .

Vehicle: When you come to the office for your road test, you have to bring a vehicle (car, pick-up, sport utility vehicle, van or motorcycle) which is: (a) in good mechanical condition, and (b) which has a valid Motor Vehicle Inspection sticker [commonly called a "safety sticker"].

Before the road test starts, the vehicle will be checked by the Examiner. (If you want to know what the Examiner will be checking, a list of the items is attached to your road test receipt.) If the safety sticker is out of date, or if the Examiner does not think the vehicle is in good mechanical condition, the appointment will be cancelled.

Note: Whenever possible, the vehicle you bring should be the one you intend to drive after you get your licence. (However, Driving Schools usually supply the vehicles when their students take a road test.)

Documents: When you come for the road test, you have to bring 4 papers with you:

(1) your current Driver's Licence : and

(2) the Vehicle Permit for the vehicle you are using in the road test; and

(3) the Insurance Card for that vehicle; and

(4) your numbered Driver Examination Receipt (which proves that you have paid for the road test).

Unless you have all 4 documents -- AND unless the first 3 are still valid -- the appointment will be cancelled.

Getting to the road test: There are 2 key things to remember here:

(a) You cannot drive to your road test by yourself; you are still a Learner Driver, and you still have to have an "supervising driver" with you [see Learner's Licence, Additional Information (C-2)]; and

(b) If you are late, there is a very good chance that your appointment will be cancelled, and you will have to make another appointment.

Passing the road test: Detailed information on the road test -- just what it involves, and what you have to do to pass -- is given in the N.S. Driver's Handbook . (To get a copy of the handbook see Where can you get ....,above.)

What if you don't pass? If you fail a road test, you have to wait at least 14 full days before you can take another one. You also have to: (1) pay for another test & get another numbered receipt; and (2) book another appointment.

G) MASTER NUMBER: When you see the term "Client Master Number" on an application form, this refers to the number on your Driver's Licence under the heading "Master D M Y". This 14-digit number is made up of (a) the first 5 letters of your last name [if your last name has fewer than 5 letters, the difference is made up with spaces]; (b) plus the day / month / year of your birth; (c) plus 3 computer-assigned numbers.

For example: FOY--220867001 [3 letters (Foy) + 2 spaces + 22 (for 22nd) + 08 (for August, 8th month of the year) + 67 (for 1967) + 001 (3 computer-assigned numbers) ]
For master numbers assigned to a group of individuals (joint ownership), the last 9 digits are computer-assigned.

No matter how long you have had your Newly Licensed Driver's Licence, if you are charged with a 24-hour roadside suspension, or if you are convicted of violating the zero blood alcohol level [see section (C) above], you will have to start your two-year waiting period again.  There are no exceptions.

For more information see Driver's Licence, section (D) Failing a Breathalyzer Test, and (K) Penalties for Impaired Driving...

For more information on any matters discussed in this section, contact the Department (see Where can you get ..., above).
Legislative Authority:
Motor Vehicle Act, Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1989, Chapter 293, Section(s) 64-78

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