I recently got my Canadian Class 5 Driver’s License here in Charlottetown. The entire process took around two weeks and I was fortunate enough to have passed the written and driving tests on the first try. I’ll write about my experience in this post as well as some advice and suggestions that will hopefully help you get your license on the first try.
I will try to keep things as general as I can since there will be differences in getting your Canadian Class 5 Driver’s License depending on which province you live in. Also, I will focus on getting your Class 5 license immediately as a landed immigrant. This means that you will have to prove your driving history from your original country of origin (more on that later).
Driver’s License Certification
Before leaving for Canada, be sure to get your driving experience from your home country certified. If you have been driving for at least two years, you will be eligible to immediately apply for a Canadian Class 5 Driver’s License and skip on having to go through being a novice or learner’s driver. If you are from the Philippines, we wrote about how to get this certification here.
Just to update that post, there is no need to get your LTO Certification stamped by the Department of Foreign Affairs (at least here in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island) for your certification to be accepted.
Be sure to bring that document with you when you take your Knowledge Exam. You may choose to make a copy of it for your records since they will keep the original certification.
You will need to schedule your knowledge exam or written test ahead, so make sure you head to the correct office to get a date. Here in Charlottetown, the place to go to will be Access PEI. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to prepare for the exam (I gave myself around a week to prepare). The cost of the exam in PEI is $20 and you might be offered to purchase a study/review manual of some sorts, skip this since you will probably be able to find that exact manual online. After you get yourself a copy of the manual, study it cover to cover and take some practice tests that can also be found online. Some of the resources I used are:
Those two websites should also have practice exams for other provinces of Canada.
On the date of your exam, please make sure to bring your test slip (if you were given one when you scheduled), passport, driver’s license certificate from your home country and two proofs of billing. They will need the proof of billing to make sure that you have a legitimate address in the province that you will be taking your driving exam. We presented phone and bank statements for this.
The exam itself (again, here in Charlottetown), consisted of two parts, a 25 point matching type of exam for road signs and a 50 point multiple choice set of road rules and regulations. In terms of difficulty, I think you shouldn’t have any trouble as long as you do your due diligence, so be sure to do a comprehensive study of the manual and answer as many practice tests as you can.
After passing your knowledge exam, you will then need to schedule your driving exam. Again, please make sure that you give yourself ample time to prepare for the exam. The driving exam also costs $20 in PEI (I hear that it is much more expensive in the other provinces). You can use either use your own vehicle or another vehicle as long as you bring the vehicle’s registration and insurance information. Since we didn’t have a car yet, I decided to contact a local driving school here to book some hourly classes to prepare me for the driving exam. They said that they are willing to let me use their car during the exam only if I show that I will be able to pass the exam. All in all, I only needed two one hour sessions before they were comfortable with letting me take the exam with their car.
As for the exam itself? It was pretty straightforward. The instructor will join you in the car and you guys will go on a drive with the instructor telling you where to go. My driving exam lasted around 45 minutes. After
completing passing the exam, you will then be asked to fill in some information, get your picture taken and your card will either be given to you on the spot or sent in the mail.
Okay. Here are some actual tips to help you pass both the knowledge and driving exams
- Keep note of the distances for the knowledge exam. For example, how many meters away from on-coming traffic should you be before you can turn off your high-beams. (I committed a few errors because of questions like this).
- Shoulder check! This might be the biggest difference between driving in Canada and the Philippines. During your driving test, make sure to do a shoulder check every time you make a turn or change your lane.
- Speed limits are to be followed at all times
- Always keep an eye out for stop signs. And keep note of whether it’s a two way, three way or four way stop.
- Pedestrians will almost always have the right of way.
- Schedule your driving exam on times when the roads will be less busy. A great example would be during the summer (no school), at 1:00 PM (middle of the work day). This way, there will be fewer cars on the road and you will have fewer chances of encountering something unpredictable.
- Lastly, nothing beats actual experience. Aside from booking classes with a private driving instructor, be sure to go out and drive. You will be able to use your foreign driver’s license for up to three months within landing in Canada. If you don’t have a car, borrow or rent one and just drive and go see some sites. It’s a good way of getting used to driving here in Canada before taking the test and it could make all the difference.
I really hope this will help you get your Canadian Class 5 Driver’s License. We would like to know about your experience in getting your driver’s license in other Canadian provinces! Let us know in the comments below! We’ll try to talk about driving in Canada some more in future posts.