Exchange an Ontario driver's license using an expired U.S. driver license

Hi, I am going to relocate to Ontario from U.S. soon and wondering if I can use my expired U.S. driver’s license to exchange an Ontario’s DL. The U.S. DL has been expired for ten months but less than one year. I have also got a driver record from DMV showing my more than two years’ driving experience in the last 3 years. Can I get a full G license or at least G2 license? Need experts’ advise and help! Thanks!!!

I believe they will need unexpired US DL to issue a Canadian license - That’s what I was informed when talked to one of the registry agent in Alberta

You can get a full G in Ontario. But it must not have been expired for more than a year. Make sure to take all your past DL cards to get the full driving history transferred, if you have them.

Yes absolutely you can get.
It has to be expired for less than 12months after expiry date.

Get all driving abstracts from all states if you were having multiple licenses in multiple states.

They will take only the most recent driving card and will exchange it to give you Ontario license. First you will get temporary license paper with exchange and then actual card will come in the mail in few weeks…

Hi All,

We are also planning to travel soon to Canada. We have stayed in two states in last seven years. So should we get driving record for both states or only the one where we are living currently?

Secondly, can you please help when should we get driving record from DMVs. Is it fine to get a couple of months before coming and any idea how long DMVs take to do so.

Thanks all.

It’s advisable to get abstracts from both states. When you exchange your US DL in Ontario they note down the date of first issue to determine how long of a driving history you have. It’s best to get it all if you can.

And the abstract has to be reasonably recent when you present it to the drive test center in Ontario. It can be upto 6 months I guess - my abstract was about 3 or 4 months old when I took it to the center.

@rangarajanm Thanks a lot for your reply. I just checked and found that we can get driving record for states online. I hope these are same abstracts CA will be looking for. Right? It seems we need to pay some fees to get records from USA. Can you please confirm.

Secondly, do we need to give driving test in Canada as well or we can just get our DLs exchanged on basis of US driving history?

Thanks once again for your help😊

Not all DMVs provide you online driving records. That varies state to state. I managed to get official driving record from Maryland applying online. California on the other hand wants you to visit physically and get the record either from the counter or from one of the kiosks. I am pretty sure other states would have their own process. Please check respective DMV website from the state to know more.

#2, as long as the abstract is accpeted by the agent, one doesn’t need to appear for driving test.

I second nik’s comment. It depends. I got the official abstract by filling out a form and sending it to the California DMV office in Sacremento. Costs you $5 plus mailing charges. Not sure if the online record is accepted in Ontario - I didn’t try that.

If you’ve more than 2 years of driving history, you usually get a full G without taking the road test.

California does not issue “Official” record online (it’s the same abstract, just that the official one contains the California seal).
However, I know many other states in the USA do offer online official copies, for example Maryland.
They send you the details in your email and the abstract contains official signature and everything.

In order to exchange your USA history with the Canadian DL, Ontario driving center stated that they need “official” history copy from the USA. There might be some agents/officers willing to accept the unofficial version though.

Yes Ontario definitely accepts online copy of abstract along with email receipt of payment.
I gave printed abstracts of two states without any issue and it is clearly mentioned in statewise details on drive test website also.

To clarify the minute detail- online copy of the “official” abstrct.
Many US states issue online copy of the “official” abstract. California is not one of those states. They issue online copy for $2, but clearly states that it’s not an official copy. In order to get official copy, one needs to either visit California DMV or mail a request with demand draft or let some friend visit California DMV to get the official version from one of the kiosks.
As I mentioned, the online abstrct is absolutely accpeted as long as it’s “official”.

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Thanks @nik and @rangarajanm

I checked with DMV here and you are right, we can pay $5 and get official copy from kiosk.
I am left with only one question. I dont have my previous license from Pennsylvania but I can get driver record online from them. Do we really need DL also as I will need to use that to accumulate more than 3 years.

That’s okay. It’s not mandatory to give them your old DL at all. It is sufficient to give them an official DL abstract from Pennsylvania. I mentioned about old DLs because California gives you an abstract only from the last renewal date, not the original issue date which means you have to somehow prove that your driving history is longer than what the CA abstract says.

The higher the driving history the better the insurance rates. I would suggest you also try and procure a letter of insurance history from all your past auto insurance providers. All these have an impact on your auto insurance rates in Canada.

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Thanks a lot for these important points @rangarajanm. I really don’t have any idea about these. I will reach out to insurance companies.

Along with that, do you have any thoughts about car. We are planning to sell our car here and buy one there as our is an old one. But then I saw that cars are costly in Canada and I am not sure how long it can take to buy a car there. Do you have any idea on this.

That’s a really good point actually. Unlike many other states, California issues driving records only from the last DL renewal date. That was a problem for people working in California in H1B Visa. So, for example, I was driving in California from 2015 but my H1B was renewed in 2018. CA DMV issued me driving record only from 2018. Previous three years, i.e. 2015-2018 was gone! So, like @rangarajanm, I showed them my old CA DL (2015-2018) as a supplement to my CA DMV driving record to make driving history more than 5 years.

I sold my car using Shift in California and it was completed within a week. I kept my car as long as I could in the US and sold it the very last week before I leave for Canada. I calculated that shipping the car from CA to ON doesn’t make sense for me due to shipping cost (that I have to bear) and registration and other stuff. After I moved to ON, I got my DL first and then started looking for a car. I purchased from a dealership, so it was quick, like two weeks. Depending on what car you want, from where you want to purchase (private party/dealership), your timeline will vary. You have cover a lot of places to finalize your bank accounts, rental apartment, SIN etc. and there’d be a fair amount of driving required. So, I wanted to close the purchase as soon as I could. Yes, the cars are slightly expensive here (1.1-1.2 times of the US I would say). But, for me, that difference was offset by the out of pocket shipping cost that I saved. That’s why I sold my car in the US. Any specific question, please DM me.

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Thanks a lot for sharing these details @nik. Yes, you are right, there will be so much to do and that’s why I was thinking what to do with the car.
Thanks for giving me an option to DM you.

I sold my car through Shift too. Super easy. Done with the whole thing in like 30 minutes.

Buying a car here is quick enough. Same set of documentation needed as in the US. Insurance shopping is what can time and you need it before you can take the car from dealership.

@nik @rangarajanm Thanks a lot guys. I also contacted Shift today.

Can you suggest where should we look for rental apartments. I am still confused should we book from here or look after coming there.
What areas are good in GTA and outside like Kitchener or Brantford considering affordable apartments. My daughter will be going to elementary as well, so that is another factor.

Please guide,