I endorsements: How to become a driving instructor

From: www.nzta.govt.nz

If you teach people how to drive on a road for financial or commercial gain, you must have a current driving instructor endorsement on your driver licence. This is called an I endorsement.

If you are not sure whether you need an I endorsement, call our driver licensing contact centre on 0800 822 422.

Jump To:
How Do I Get An I Endorsement?
Completing A Course
What Else Do I Have To Do?
Submitting Your Application
Should I Do The Driver Instructor Course Before Or After I Submit My Application?
Medical Certificate
Eyesight Requirements
Practical Driving Test
'Fit And Proper Person' Check

What Fees Do I Have To Pay For An I Endorsement?
Changing Or Cancelling Your Test
When Can I Start Teaching?
After You've Got The Endorsement
Where Can I Find Out More?
About Factsheets

How do I get an I endorsement?

You'll need to get an I endorsement for each class of driver licence you want to teach. For example, you'll need an I(1) endorsement to teach people how to drive light motor vehicles (Class 1 driver licence), but you'll need an I(6) endorsement to teach people how to ride motorcycles (Class 6 driver licence).

Before you can apply for an I endorsement, you must have held a full New Zealand driver licence of the class or classes you want to teach for at least two years. For example, if you want to teach Class 1 and Class 3, you must have held a full New Zealand licence for both Class 1 and Class 3 for at least two years.

You'll need to:

  • successfully complete an approved driving instructor course
  • complete and submit an application form
  • prove your eyesight meets the required standard
  • pass the 'fit and proper person' check
  • sit and pass a practical driving test
  • pay the application, vetting and practical driving test fees.

You may also need to provide a medical certificate.

Completing a course

You'll need to provide evidence that you have successfully completed an approved driving instructor course. Approved courses cover the specialist knowledge and skills that driving instructors need.

What will the course cover?

The approved course for the driving instructor endorsement (I) is aligned with unit standards on the New Zealand Qualifications (NZQA) framework. If you successfully complete a course you have the opportunity to have the unit standards you've achieved count towards a national certificate as well as a driver licence endorsement.

In the course you'll be trained and assessed in the following unit standards:

  • 16646 – Develop and follow through on individual driver training plans
  • 16647 – Describe implications for driver educators of factors that affect people's learning
  • 14511 – Describe knowledge required by driver educators of road transport legislation
  • 14521 – Observe and analyse a person's driving and determine optimal ways to achieve required performance
  • 14523 – Carry out in-vehicle driver training
  • 20179 – Describe light motor vehicle dynamics and handling characteristics
  • 20180 – Demonstrate knowledge of hazard detection and responses
  • 3466 – Apply risk reduction techniques and strategies while driving.

You'll also have a driving assessment completed on your own driving skills.

You can view the unit standards mentioned above on the NZQA website.

You'll be given a certificate when you successfully complete the course, which you will need to submit as part of your application.

Where can I find out about courses?

  • Contact an approved course provider.
  • Call the NZTA driver licensing contact centre on 0800 822 422.

What else do I have to do?

You can't work as a driving instructor just because you've successfully completed the course. You must complete the process set out in this factsheet to get the I endorsement on your driver licence.

Submitting your application

You can apply for an I endorsement at any NZTA driver licensing agent.

You'll need to bring:

  • a completed DL20 application form (the forms are available from driver licensing agents)
  • evidence of your identity, such as your New Zealand driver licence
  • evidence of your address, such as a bill or account statement, see factsheet 20, Identification for driver licensing for further information
  • a medical certificate (if applicable)
  • a certificate showing you've successfully completed an approved driving instructor course
  • a Notice of determination (if applicable, you may not need to have the 'fit and proper person' check again if you hold a current P, V, or O endorsement)
  • a means of paying the application, vetting and full licence practical test fees (cheque, cash or EFTPOS).

Should I do the driver instructor course before or after I put in my application?

Every applicant for an I endorsement is subject to a 'fit and proper person' check (see below). You may not want to complete the driving instructor course until you're certain that you meet the 'fit and proper person' criteria.

When you put your application in, you can either:

  • provide a certificate showing you've successfully completed an approved course (and book your practical driving test), or
  • submit your application without having completed an approved course and either
    • wait for the result of the 'fit and proper person' check before doing a course (and booking the practical driving test), or
    • complete an approved course (and book your practical driving test) while you wait for the result of the 'fit and proper person' check.

Medical certificate

You need to present a medical certificate for an I endorsement if:

  • you haven't submitted a medical certificate for classes 2 to 5 or endorsements P, V, I or O in the last five years
  • you've developed a medical condition that could adversely affect your ability to drive safely, or a condition has worsened
  • you're requested to by the NZTA (regardless of when you last presented a medical certificate).

A medical certificate must be from a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner and dated no more than 60 days before the date of your application.

Eyesight requirements

You must prove that your eyesight meets the required standard each time you apply for a new licence class or endorsement, or renew your licence. To do this, you can:

  • present a satisfactory eyesight certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered optometrist (this certificate must not be more than 60 days old)
  • present a satisfactory medical certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner (this certificate must not be more than 60 days old and must specifically cover eyesight)
  • pass an eyesight screening check at a driver licensing agent.

Note: the agents' eyesight screening machines eliminate the need for many drivers to be tested by an optometrist or medical practitioner. However, if you don't pass the screening check, then you must provide one of the certificates listed before your application can proceed. Some drivers choose to supply a certificate instead of taking a screening check. If you have vision in only one eye, you must present an eye certificate from a doctor or optometrist.

Practical driving test

As part of gaining an I endorsement, you must sit the Class 1 full licence test (unless you have successfully completed this test within the past five years). This test is in addition to the advanced assessment drive that you must complete as part of your driving instructor course.

'Fit and proper person' check

After you put in your application, it will be sent to the NZTA so that a 'fit and proper person' check can be undertaken.

Some of the factors that may be taken into account are any:

  • criminal convictions, including any charges or convictions relating to violent or sexual offences, drug or firearm offences, or offences involving organised criminal activity
  • transport-related offences, especially relating to safety
  • history of behavioural problems
  • past complaints about a transport service you've operated
  • history of persistent failure to pay fines for transport-related offences.

Any other information in the interests of public safety can also be taken into account.

Please note that if you are applying for an I endorsement to teach any class of heavy vehicle or motorcycle (classes 2–6), this check will also include verification of relevant experience within the past five years in relation to the class of vehicle for which the endorsement is sought. This means that, with your application, you will need to provide the appropriate evidence (eg for heavy vehicles a curriculum vitae/appropriate industry references, or for motorcycle a resume of riding experience).

If you're not a New Zealand citizen or don't hold a resident's permit, then you may need a work permit or some other temporary permit to show that you can work here.

If you have any concerns about the check, phone our contact centre on 0800 822 422.

Not cleared

If you're not cleared by the 'fit and proper person' check, you'll be sent a letter explaining why. If you're not satisfied with the decision, you can appeal to a district court (under section 106 of the Land Transport Act 1998).


If you meet the 'fit and proper person' requirements, and all other relevant tests have been completed, your application will be approved and the new licence will be mailed to you. Where you have elected to have the 'fit and proper person check' completed before the other tests are done, you'll be sent a Notice of determination (valid for 90 days). Show the notice to the driver licensing agent when you go to complete your application. If the notice expires before you finish the relevant courses or tests, call our driver licensing contact centre on 0800 822 422.

Fee for the 'fit and proper person' check

The fee for the 'fit and proper person' check is called a vetting fee. If you've already been through the 'fit and proper person' check (eg you hold a current P endorsement and ID card, or hold a V or O endorsement), you won't be charged for it again until you renew your endorsement(s).

What fees do I have to pay for an I endorsement?

The table below sets out the fees for an I endorsement. These include the application fee, the vetting ('fit and proper person') fee and the practical driving test fee.

If you already hold a P, V or O endorsement, some of the fees may not apply to you.

Fees for approved driving instructor courses aren't included.

Note that you can get an I endorsement for one or five years.

  One year Five years
Application $64.40 $246.30
Vetting $28.80 $144.10
Test $59.90 $59.90
Total $153.10 $450.30

Additional information

If you have booked a practical driving test and can't make the appointment, please contact your driver licensing agent.

Changing or cancelling your test

If you want to change or cancel your test, you will have to pay a further fee.

  • Where there are two or more complete working days (excluding weekends and public holidays) between the day you change or cancel your test and the date of your appointment, you will need to pay a rescheduling fee of $16.40.
    This is a regulated fee to cover the time taken and costs incurred when a test is cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Where there are less than two complete working days (excluding weekends and public holidays) between the day you change or cancel your test and the date of your appointment, you will not pay a rescheduling fee but will need to pay a further test fee. This further test fee is not refundable.
    You may be eligible for a refund of the first test fee paid where the cancelled test time was subsequently filled by another person. If the test fee is refunded a processing fee of $16.40 will be deducted.

When can I start teaching?

If your application is successful, your endorsement will start when your new photo driver licence is issued with the I endorsement on it.

After you've got the endorsement

After you get the I endorsement, you must undertake to provide the highest quality training and service.

The NZTA may audit you at any time to check that you're delivering a suitable service. You must keep records of all driving instruction that you've provided for at least 12 months after you've carried out the training.

Where can I find out more?

  • Email us: info@nzta.govt.nz.
  • Phone our driver licensing contact centre: 0800 822 422.
  • Write to us: NZ Transport Agency, Palmerston North Office, Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442.

About factsheets

The information in this factsheet is a general guide only. It is not the source of the law.