If you hold a Bus Driver Authority (BDA) issued interstate or New Zealand, the following information allows you to decide which pathway you take to drive a bus in NSW.
Do I apply for Mutual Recognition or Automatic Mutual Recognition?
If you permanently live in NSW, and want to drive a bus in NSW, and hold a BDA in another state or territory, you must apply through mutual recognition for a new BDA.
If you live interstate and primarily work interstate but want to work in NSW temporarily, then you can notify Transport for NSW (Transport) of your intent to work under Automatic Mutual Recognition.
Notifying to work under Automatic Mutual Recognition
Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) enables holders of occupational licences, including a bus driver authority, to work in a second state or territory without having to get a licence, or pay fees, in that second state or territory.
To be eligible to work in NSW under AMR, you must hold a current BDA in your home state or territory (excluding Queensland). For most people, this is where they live and carry out most of their work.
Under AMR, there is no need to obtain a local licence in a second state or territory or pay any licensing fees, as long as there is a home state licence in force.
Go to NSW Government website to notify Transport of your intention to work in NSW under AMR.
Information about AMR including, notification requirements, compliance advice and how to notify NSW, is available on the NSW Government website.
If you hold an interstate BDA, but reside in NSW, you still need to apply for a NSW Bus Driver Authority under mutual recognition.
Transport will recognise all AMR-participating state and territory BDA. They will also recognise a NSW BDA.
While working in NSW, workers must:
- only undertake activities they are allowed to perform under their home state driver authority, and
- comply with local regulations.
All states and territories are participating in AMR except for Queensland.
How interstate bus drivers notify Transport for AMR
- Go to AMR page on nsw.gov.au.
- Find the bus driver occupation on the list.
- Begin a notification by clicking on ‘Notify the regulator’.
- You will need to provide basic information such as name, address, home state and occupational number and expiry date. You will also need to confirm you are not subject to criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings in any state in relation to the occupation that you are notifying for.
- Once the notification is complete you can drive a bus in NSW.
- Transport will verify the information you have provided with home state.
Regulating bus drivers working under AMR in NSW
Bus drivers working under AMR in NSW will need to:
- be able to hand over a driver authority card for inspection at the request of an authorised officer (e.g., a NSW Police officer), and
- display a driver authority card, in a holder affixed to the interior of NSW buses, so that it can be easily seen by any passenger in the bus.
Bus drivers working under AMR in NSW will be able to use their home state driver authority card (or equivalent) for this purpose.
Apply for mutual recognition
If you meet certain conditions, Transport will accept your BDA (or equivalent) from another Australian state, territory or New Zealand under an arrangement called Mutual Recognition.
This means Transport may not need you to:
- undertake any further bus driver training
- hold your unrestricted driver’s licence for a longer period.
To convert to a NSW BDA you must:
- hold a current full (unrestricted) driver’s licence issued in Australia.
- hold a current BDA (or equivalent) issued in either Australia or New Zealand.
Complete the Application for an authority to drive a bus.
What you need to apply for mutual recognition
Transport requires information to thoroughly assess your application when you apply to be issued with a BDA in NSW. To ensure your application is processed without delay, it is recommended to take the steps below before you apply online:
- Get a commercial medical assessment from your doctor. Your Commercial Medical Assessment is valid and able to be used for 6 months from date of completion.
Note: Ask your doctor to submit your assessment online directly to Transport and select the option to indicate the assessment is for the purpose of driving public passenger vehicles. This is to ensure your medical assessment can be prioritised. This must be recorded on the Transport system as a pre-requisite before you submit your online application. You can enter your personal information into the online form to check if your medical has been recorded on Transport systems. If it has you will automatically be able to proceed with your application. More information can be found here.
- Police check – Apply on the NSW Police Community Portal. Your Police check cannot be older than three months. Your Police check must include all current and former names.
If you are unable to arrange a National Police Check (NPC), Transport can send you a one-time link that is valid for 7 days to apply for your NPC online when you submit your application. This will enable Transport to complete the NPC on your behalf. Note: This option will slow down the processing of your application.
- Get your documents ready – Have the supporting documentation ready to upload in your online application. The best format for your documents is pdf.
The specific documentation you're advised to get before you apply includes:
- A copy of your current NSW driver licence - front and back (scanned as a PDF).
If you do not have a valid NSW driver licence you'll need to upload a digital photo of yourself.
- a digital copy of your current interstate or New Zealand BDA (or equivalent). You can scan or take a photo of it using your phone.
- Complete the Mutual Recognition Statutory Declaration (PDF, 365.99 KB).
- New Zealand bus drivers must also provide:
- If you have held an interstate or overseas driver licence in the last 5 years, you will need to get a copy of your licence history and traffic record for each licence held from the relevant authority. Documents not in English must be officially translated.
How long does the application take?
From 1 August 2023, the NSW Government has introduced a $70 fee waiver for those applying for a new BDA as part of efforts to boost driver numbers in NSW. The fee waiver will be available for 12 months.
The online application process takes about 30 minutes, and you cannot save your progress.
Do not click on the back button, refresh the web page or close the window. If you do, you will go back to the start of the application and need to resubmit.
Once Transport for NSW receives your application, they will respond within 10 days.
If you have not had a response after 10 working days, please phone 02 8848 8700 or email: email@example.com.
Frequently asked questions
Can I submit my BDA application while I’m waiting for my medical appointments?
No. You must complete a Commercial Medical Assessment with your doctor (and any necessary specialists) before you can apply. It is a pre-requisite to be deemed medically fit to apply for a BDA.
Will my BDA medical affect my ability to drive a taxi, hire car or rideshare?
You will not be able to drive a point to point transport service if you are assessed and deemed not fit and proper to hold a BDA (including commercial medical). Drivers have specific obligations and safety standards that must be met under the point to point transport law. Please see the Point to Point Transport Commissioner’s website for more information.
Can I start my application and finish on another day?
No. You cannot start and go back to finish your application on another day. The application needs to be completed in one session.
What do I need to apply online for a BDA?
You need to have a valid email address to submit an online application.
You must provide all your supporting documents. This includes a digital copy of your driver licence.
What happens if don't attach all mandatory documents?
You will not be able to submit an application online without attaching all mandatory documents.
What if I don't have all my supporting documents?
You should not submit your application at this time as it will delay the processing of your application. Your application will not be assessed without all of the supporting documentation.
What will happen if my supporting documents are not in the correct format?
The best format for your documents is PDF. If your supporting documentation is not in the correct format, you should not submit your application as this will increase processing times.
Why do I have to submit a digital photo?
If you do not hold a valid NSW driver licence you will need to provide a digital photo to be used for your BDA card.
Where can I get a digital photograph taken?
A digital photograph can be obtained from any Australia Post or camera retailer that provides this service.
What are the requirements of the digital photograph?
- Your digital photograph should be a recent, clear photo of your head and neck on a pale background without a hat or sunglasses.
- The resolution of the photo should be width 246 pixels and height 246 pixels.
- Photos should be uploaded in any of the following formats: JPG/JPEG/PNG/BMP/GIF.
- Selfies or photographs that have been cropped will not meet the requirements above.
- You will not be able to submit an application online if you do not provide a photograph that meets these requirements.
What computer browsers do I need to allow the online application to work?
You will need one of the following browsers for the online application to work:
- Chrome (version 66 or above
- Safari (version 12.1.4 or above)
- Firefox (version 66 or above)
- Microsoft Edge (version 100)
Does my application expire?
Your bus driver application expires after 6 months. This starts from the time you apply to the time you are approved to become a bus driver.
When will I receive my BDA?
Your BDA will be posted within 10 working days, provided your application meets all mandatory requirements. Where Transport is requested to apply for a National Criminal History check on your behalf this will delay the processing of your application.
What if I don't have an email address?
This is a requirement of your application. You can create an account online (e.g. - Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook or Yahoo).
If I enter my details in lower case will they appear on my BDA in that way?
No, it does not matter how you enter the information.
If I have held a driver licence in another Australian state or territory, do I need to provide any more identification?
Yes. You need to provide secondary identification to prove who you are. Take a look at the Secondary ID List for more help.
If I have held a driver in another state and cannot remember the date, will this affect my application?
No. If you are unsure of the exact date you can apply for a copy of your traffic record and licence details at any Service NSW Service Centre or you can apply online. The information will be contained on the licence details provided.
If my driver licence has been suspended, cancelled, disqualified, or refused and I cannot remember the details what do I do?
You can apply for a copy of your traffic record and licence details at any Service NSW Service Centre or you can apply online. This will be a complete history of your traffic record and driver licence details.
Where is the reference number?
This is the number that will be displayed in the confirmation email you will be sent.
I have held an interstate or New Zealand driver licence in the last (5) years. How can I get my driving history record?
You will need to contact the relevant state or territory government office:
If you are from New Zealand and are applying for mutual recognition you can obtain your record from the New Zealand – NZ Transport Agency.
I have held an overseas driver licence in the last five years. How can I get my driving history record?
For International driver licences and traffic record details, search online. Contact your local consulate if you're having difficulty finding the information you need.
If the driving record and history are not in English, they must be accompanied by a certified copy of an official translation from Multicultural NSW or the Translating and Interpreting Service of the Department of Home Affairs.
I have further questions about my Bus Driver Application, who can I speak with?
If you need to check your medical assessment, you can contact Service NSW on 13 22 13 or for all other enquiries phone Transport on (02) 8848 4700.