Understanding the Different Levels of Driver’s Licenses in BC

Whether you are just moving to the area or you are a 16-year-old ready to get behind the wheel, it is important to understand the different levels of driver’s licenses in British Columbia.


British Columbia uses a Graduated Licensing Program (GLP), which helps prepare drivers and ensures they are mature enough to drive safely on our highways and local streets.


What is the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP)?

To get through the GLP, you will have to go through three licensing tests (one written and two supervised road tests). As long as you follow the program, you will get your Class 5 license in about three years. In some cases, you can reduce the required time by attending a driving school in North Vancouver, and taking driving lessons in West Vancouver or other locations in the Vancouver area.


The Different Driver’s License Levels in the GLP
The first license level is a Class 7, which is graduated. This license takes about three years to complete before you can test for your Class 5 and includes:

  • Learner’s License - You are eligible for this learner’s license in BC on or after your 16th birthday. Your parent must sign a consent form, then you will have to take an ICBC driver licensing knowledge test and pass a vision screening. With this license, you can only drive with a qualified supervisor. You must put the red, magnetic L sign on your vehicle while you are driving and you are limited to one passenger in addition to your supervisor. No electronic devices, drinking alcohol or driving between midnight and 5:00 am with this license level.
  • Novice License - This license takes one year of driving practice with a supervisor. You will need to take and pass the Class 7 road test to get approved for your N license. With this license, you are required to display the N sign, and you cannot drink alcohol when driving. Electronic devices are strictly prohibited and you are limited to one passenger (outside of immediate family) unless you are with a supervisor that is 25 years in age or older and has a valid license.
  • Class 5 License - After two years of safe driving, you can apply for your full driver’s license in BC. You will have to take a Class 5 road test to prove your driving skills. If you pass, you will receive a full license and no longer have the same restrictions of a Novice or Learner’s License.


If you take an approved ICBC training course through a driving school, you can reduce your required safe driving period to 18 months (instead of 24 months). North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers ICBC-approved GLP courses in Vancouver that can reduce required driving time by six months. Call 604-988-1138 to learn more about our Graduated Licensing Programs or contact us online for more information.