Driver’s license
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Driver’s license

To drive a car in Québec, you must have a driver’s license in the appropriate class.

If you have a valid driver's license issued outside Québec, you are allowed to drive a passenger car without a Québec license for the first six months after your arrival. To be allowed to drive beyond this time period, you must obtain a Québec license.

If you do not have a driver's license and would like to get one, you must first obtain a learner’s permit and complete a learning period. The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ - Québec motor vehicle bureau) can explain the steps you will have to follow.

Exchanging your driver’s license

The conditions for exchanging your driver’s licence vary depending on the country where you obtained it. If it was issued by a country that has an agreement with Québec regarding the exchange of drivers’ licences, you can obtain an equivalent licence in Québec, without having to take a test.

If you have a license that was issued by another country at least one year before settling in Québec, you can obtain a Québec license provided that you pass the theory and driving examinations.


If you would like to exchange your license, contact the SAAQ during the first days following your arrival in Québec since it could take several weeks, depending on your situation, to complete the exchange.  


Other licenses

If you wish to obtain a driver’s license for another type of vehicle, (a heavy vehicle, for example), you must first obtain a Québec driver’s license to drive a car. The SAAQ’s customer service will provide you with information on how to proceed.

Road safety rules

  • Seatbelts must be worn at all times, by all passengers, in both the back and front seats.
  • Children must be secured in properly installed, specially designed seats adjusted to their height and weight until they are big enough to properly wear seatbelts.
  • Cars must stop at least five metres from a school bus if its hazard lights are flashing. It is only possible to pass a school bus when the hazard lights are off, once you have made sure that it can be done safely.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is an indictable offence, and may entail the following serious penalties:
    • opening of a criminal record
    • having your license revoked
    • fine of $600 or more
    • possibility of incarceration under the Criminal Code.

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Last modification : 2012-11-07
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