Background information

I am a Swiss citizen and I used to live in Vancouver, BC, Canada for the past 6 years and I moved to Switzerland three months ago. I hold a class 7 drivers license from ICBC (the authority for delivering driving license in British Columbia).

The class 7 driver's license has some driving restrictions and for this reason the Swiss authorities refuse the transfer my Canadian driver's license into a Swiss driving license. I therefore have two options; I either pass the license in Switzerland or I fly back to BC, to get a class 5 driver's license for which the Swiss authorities have signed me a letter that they will accept it even if I pass the class 5 license while not being a Canadian resident.

Note that passing the driving license in Switzerland is a lengthy process and costs about 2000 CHF (including the so-called L2 phase) if I don't take any lesson. In comparison getting my class 5 would take the time of the flights plus a few hours over there and would cost 50 CAD (I don't count the costs of the flights as I will need to fly back to B.C. at some point during the year anyway).

I meant to pass my class 5 driving license before leaving Canada but covid-19 decided differently.


I am now a Swiss resident and national with a valid student visa in Vancouver BC Canada and a valid class 7 driving license. Can I pass a class 5 driving test in B.C. without being a BC resident? Will my visa be enough or do I have to justify residency in B.C. to be allowed to pass the driving test?

Note that I do not pay for Medical Services Plan (MSP) in Canada anymore. But I paid my taxes for last year in Canada and I am technically still enrolled as a student at the University (UBC). Note also that it has be stipulated to the Canadian government that I do not leave in Canada anymore as I had to cancel the child benefit I was receiving for my son (who is Canadian).

  • 1
    The last sentence is unclear. I think you mean to write "...it has been stipulated to the Canadian government that I do not live in Canada anymore..." Is that correct? What is the exact wording? To what department of the Canadian government was this statement made? Aug 12, 2020 at 16:34
  • 1
    This question is sort of moot as Canada will not reopen borders this year. Or next year for that matter, until we all get vaccinated. Aug 12, 2020 at 17:06

1 Answer 1

  1. COVID wise, https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/students.html#exemptions "You’re exempt from the travel restrictions and are able to enter Canada if you’re travelling for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose AND you’re an international student who has a valid study permit" it seems you are good for the second part but I am unsure about the first. That's up to you to prove. They will ask for proof at the border. The linked page has more.
  2. ICBC wise, https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/visit-dl-office/Pages/Accepted-ID.aspx lists the accepted IDs. In the primary IDs list one can find "​Student, work, visitor, or temporary resident permit (IMM1442)" which makes me believe you could do this. I would still call ICBC to make sure.
  • I agree generally with this answer. My view, however, is that taking a driving test will not be seen by ICBC as either "non-discretionary" or "non-optional," and that you face a significant risk of being denied entry. Asking Canadian immigration about this issue would be useful. Aug 14, 2020 at 2:58
  • I thought that's obvious. OP can do this if they have a workshop or exam to attend and do the driving test on the side.
    – chx
    Aug 14, 2020 at 20:02
  • I agree. Success will require, however, that ICBC doesn't see that the OP is no longer residing in BC. As part of the application for a driving test appointment, or the appearance to take the test, ICBC might well ask if the OP's on-file information (including the OP's Canada address) is still correct. That would be a show-stopper. Aug 15, 2020 at 18:21

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