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How to transfer your American Driver's License to Ontario

How to transfer your American Driver's License to Ontario

Hi everyone, I recently just relocated to Toronto with my Driver's license from Colorado. I'm doing this post because I couldn't find a lot of customer based resources online to help people with this process. The process detailed here is for immigrants with a Canadian Permanent Residency. The process may be different for people with different immigration status in Canada.

Here is a step by step guide to transferring your driver's license.

Step 1: Have your Permanent Residence (PR) Card

After arriving in Canada, you are required to do your landing at your point of entry. The immigration officer checks your visa and your Confirmation of Permanent Residency (COPR). Afterwards, he asks you some questions, takes your fingerprints and instructs you to sign your COPR. You are told that your PR Card will arrive within 4 months of your arrival. During these 4 months, you are legally permitted to use an international drivers license from your country. Learn more: Drive in Ontario

Step 2: Apply for your Drivers record

While you are waiting for the arrival of your PR Card, you can apply for your driver's record online and have them send a copy to your mailing address in Canada. My license was from the state of Colorado, so I submitted a request on the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles Website. All you need to do this is a debit or credit card and your email address. Here is the link request a Colorado Driving Record. You can choose to request it yourself, use a private investigator or an attorney. I did it myself and it cost me $10.99 US dollars. Make sure you have access to your driver's license number, name, date of birth and last for digits of your social security number.

I received the record in the mail in less than 3 weeks, I was very impressed.

Step 3:  Proceed to any Drive test centre in Ontario

I initially got information that Drivers licence transfer can be done at a service in Ontario but I was very disappointed when they directed me to a drive test centre. It was impossible for me to go on a weekday because of my schedule so I went on a Saturday. I was told to get there super early because of the crazy queues so I got there at 8am, 30 minutes before their Saturday opening time. I had about 18 people ahead of me on the queue already. I went to the Drive test centre in North York. Here is a link to the address.

 Drive test (Photo Credit: Richard Perez, google maps)

Documents to take:
You are required to have acceptable identity documents that show your legal name, date of birth and signature.
  • Passport
  • Permanent Residence Card
  • Driving Record
  • The Drivers license you want to transfer
  • A piece of mail
Waiting at Drive test (Photo Credit: Ziyi Guo, google maps)

When the doors open, there a queue to reach the first centre representative. This representative checks to see if you have all your documents. They go on to make a photocopy, give you a form to fill your mailing information and gives you a number. You will proceed to sit down and fill your form. Please pay attention to the numbers on the screen and the numbers on the speakers as well. I waited for approximately 45 minutes. Don't get angry if people that sat after you get called before you, I believe their system is set up to address issues in the fastest possible way.

Finally, my number was called and I stepped up to the representative. I did my eye test which is pretty much the standard eye test done in the United States. Here is an article to help you pass your eye test. After the test, he collected my documents and ran it through the computer, he had me cross check to see if anything was wrong with my spellings or address or date of birth. He made a few errors so he had to redo the documentation. Afterwards, he took a picture of my license and asked me to sign my paperwork. Finally, I was asked to pay for the license, it cost $90 Canadian dollars.  I was issued a temporary driver's license and was out of the place. 

In total, I spent about 1 hour 15 minutes in total at the Drive test centre.  My license came in the mail 3 weeks after I applied.

I hope this was helpful, leave a comment below.

With love,


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