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Registry of Motor Vehicles - Who Takes the Exam

Every new driver and any driver who has not been licensed in Nova Scotia for three or more years must be examined by a Driver Enhancement Officer.(Examiner). Non-resident drivers (visitors) are permitted to drive in Nova Scotia for a period of 90 days if they are in possession of a valid licence from their home province or country.

If you have a Learner's Licence, you must wait 12 months from the date your Learner's licence was issued before applying for a road test. Exceptions to the 12 month waiting period are:

  • if you have previously held a drivers licence in Nova Scotia or an equivalent licence in another jurisdiction (province, state or country) or;

  • if you successfully complete a driver education/training course approved by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles and your instructor states that you are ready to take the road test the waiting period is reduced to 9 months from the date you received your Learner's licence.

For information on Driver Examination and Testing locations and time, click here.

Examination for Learner's Licence

In order to obtain a Learner's licence, you must be a minimum of 16 years old and pass an examination to determine if you have the required vision to safely operate a motor vehicle. You must also pass a written test to prove your knowledge of road signs, rules of the road and safe driving practices. You must present a proof of age document (birth certificate, passport, Nova Scotia identification card, Canadian Citizenship Card, Immigration papers - Record of Landing or Permanent Resident Card, Military identification documents or Certificate of Indian Status Card) and two additional pieces of identification with your signature to the Driver Enhancement staff person before a Learner's licence will be issued.

If you are under 18 years of age, you must have written consent of a parent or guardian before applying for a licence. A place for your parent or guardian's signature is provided on the application form for a Learner's licence. The parent or guardian may withdraw this written consent at any time prior to the learner reaching age 18 by making written application to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles who can then cancel the Licence.

Vision Test
If your vision is found to be unacceptable for safe driving, you will be advised accordingly. A licence cannot be issued to you until you obtain the necessary corrective lenses. When a driver's licence is issued, it will be endorsed "Valid only while licence holder is wearing proper visual correction". The minimum vision requirements are: acuity, 6/12 Snellen; field of vision, 120 degrees (total).

Road Sign Recognition Test
You will be given a written or oral examination on your ability to recognize and understand the meaning of highway road signs. This test consists of 20 multiple choice questions. To pass, you must answer 16 correctly.

Rules Test
You will be given a written or oral examination on the traffic laws and rules for safe driving as described in the Driver's Handbook. The written exam consists of 20 multiple choice questions. To pass, you must answer 16 correctly.

Take a driver knowledge test: Learner's Licence (class 7)
Take a driver knowledge test: Farm Tractor Licence (class 8)
Take a driver knowledge test: Motorcycle Learner Licence

Examination for Driver's Licence

You must pass a driving examination to determine if you are qualified to operate a motor vehicle safely before you can be issued a driver's licence. The examination will be conducted by a Driver Enhancement Officer from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry has 28 Driver Enhancement Offices located across the province.

Driving Test
This examination will test your actual driving skill. You may know every safe driving rule, may have adequate vision and other physical abilities, and may exhibit the most exemplary attitude. However, until you demonstrate your ability and skill in an actual driving test, you have not proven that you are competent to drive a motor vehicle safely upon the highway.

Driving tests are performed by appointment only. (See phone numbers below to book your appointment). You must come to the examination office with a vehicle that is in good mechanical condition, preferably the one that you expect to drive after you obtain your drivers licence. You must have your Learner's licence, a Road Test Receipt, a valid Motor Vehicle Permit and a valid insurance liability card, in the vehicle owner's name, to show the Driver Enhancement Officer. Before the road test, the vehicle will be checked by the examiner. The road test cannot take place unless the vehicle is in good mechanical condition and has a valid vehicle registration and safety inspection.

Before the driving test, the Driver Enhancement Officer will give you an instruction sheet, read this carefully before the test.

During the driving test, do not talk unnecessarily to the examiner who will be busy giving instructions, observing your performance and recording your score. No tricks will be played on you. The examiner will not ask you to do anything that is in violation of the law.

The driving test includes such operations as:

  1. Stopping and starting, both on a level road and on a hill.

  2. Changing gears in vehicles not having automatic transmissions, both on a level road and on a hill.

  3. Making left and right turns.

  4. Backing

  5. Following another vehicle properly.

  6. Giving proper signals.

  7. Parallel and /or angle parking.

  8. Observing and complying with traffic control devices (signs, signals, and pavement markings)

  9. Making lane changes

The examination will be conducted over a course of at least 3 kilometers and, where possible, in traffic. The exam will also test your ability to apply your knowledge of the rules of the road, to recognize road signs, and to react properly to actual driving conditions.

At the end of the driving test, the Driver Enhancement Officer will tell you if you passed or failed and will explain any areas where your driving needs improvement and offer suggestions on how to improve.

If You Fail the Driving Test
If you do not successfully pass the driving examination, the Driver Enhancement Officer will advise you of the reasons for your failure. You will be advised to obtain more practice and study prior to booking another appointment to be re-examined.

Obtaining Your Drivers Licence

After you have successfully passed the road test, the Driver Enhancement Officer will give you documentation for you to take to the nearest Registry of Motor Vehicles to have your licence upgraded to an Operator's licence (Class 5). The Registry of Motor Vehicles will give you a temporary document with the updated class and information which is valid for 30 calendar days. . You will receive your new card with the update class and information in the mail within 14 calendar days of visiting an Access Nova Scotia or Registry of Motor Vehicles Office.

Appointments for Examination

All examination appointments, throughout the province, can be made by calling Central Booking:  1-800-898-7668 (toll-free) or 902-424-5851.

Driver's Licence Information Index

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