An update on limited licences

Eden Holmes has spent some time recently helping a number of clients obtain a limited licence, where they have either had their licence suspended, or been disqualified from holding a drivers licence. Here she sets out what you need to know, and how we can help.


You have lost your licence due to excess demerit points, or you’ve been disqualified from driving for six months, what happens now?

In certain situations where you have lost your licence under the Land Transport Act 1998 (“the Act”) you may be able to apply to the District Court for a limited licence – which is sometimes also called a “work licence.” To be granted a limited licence the Court must be satisfied that such loss of licence will cause you extreme hardship, or that it will cause undue hardship to another person, such as your employer or family. A limited licence is usually sought if it is a requirement of your job that you must hold a drivers licence, and without a licence you will be unable to complete the day to day tasks of your employment.

If a limited licence is successfully obtained then you will be able to drive according to the terms of the Order. The terms of such Order usually provide for the purposes of getting to and from work, driving during work as required and as otherwise considered necessary to lessen any extreme or undue hardship that you might face.


 Do you qualify?

You may apply for a limited licence if your licence has been suspended due to having an excess of 100 or more demerit points within a two year period, or you have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence by an order under the Land Transport Act.

However, in certain situations you will not be able to apply for a limited licence. This includes if you have committed offences relating to drugs, or reckless or dangerous driving.

If you have been disqualified there is generally a stand down period of 28 days where you are unable to drive. You may be able to make an application to the Court during this time, but the stand down period will apply regardless. If you have been suspended from driving due to excess demerit points there is no stand down period, your licence can start straight away.


What to include in your application?

In your application you will need to explain in detail why you are making an application for a limited licence. This will include details about your work and personal situation that may be relevant. You will also need to specify the details of the particular vehicles which you will be driving, the days of the week and times at which those vehicles would be driven and any other related details.

An affidavit in support of your application from your employer or a third party will also be useful to provide the Judge with information to show that your loss of licence would cause undue hardship to your employer and their business, or some other third party.

Your application for a limited licence will generally need to be filed at the Court you were disqualified in. There is also a filing fee payable with your application; and different filing fees apply depending on your situation. If you have been disqualified from driving there is a filing fee of $150.00. If you have been suspended from driving due to excess demerit points there is a $200.00 filing fee.


What happens next?

Once your application is filed you will need to appear alongside your lawyer in Court, so that the Judge may ask any questions he/she has relating to your application.

Once an Order granting a limited licence is made you will need to pay a $50.00 sealing fee to the Court for a sealed copy of the Order (which you will need to carry with you in your vehicle at all times).

You will then need to take a copy of the Order to your nearest drivers licensing agency along with original evidence of your identity (such as a passport), a completed application form (which may be filled out at the Agency), and means to pay the application fee of approximately $39.30.

The Agency is unable to issue you with a temporary licence when you submit your application. Your application will be sent to the NZ Transport Authority for processing. As this may take up to a week to process it is important to be aware that even after an Order has been made you will be required to have an alternate means of transportation organised for another week or so.

Once your licence has been approved by the Transport Authority you will be issued with a temporary licence. If your application has been denied the Authority will write to you regarding this and will advise you of your rights of appeal.

You will need to carry a copy of the Order with you in your vehicle at all times, stick to the routes outlined in your application and keep a logbook that records details of each journey made. Once your limited licence has expired you will need to reapply at a licencing agent to have your original licence reinstated and a new licence issued.


How we can help

 If you are be facing a disqualification or suspension from driving, and are concerned about how that is going to affect your job and/or your family, please call us. We can talk to you about the process, and how the law will apply to your particular situation, and your options. If you want to apply for a limited licence, we can prepare all of the necessary paperwork, and also help third parties like your employer with their affidavit.

For further information and assistance in respect of limited licences, and all traffic matters, please contact us on (03) 308 3191 or at


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