The Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations, 2023 represent a major overhaul of Zimbabwe’s driver licensing system. The regulations, published in Statutory Instrument 119 of 2023, introduce sweeping changes aligned with SADC requirements for standardizing and modernizing licensing across the region.
With the regulations taking effect from 23 June 2023, there are many important questions arising for all existing and prospective licence holders in Zimbabwe. This comprehensive FAQ article covers all the key details you need to know regarding the new licence codes, minimum age requirements, testing procedures, fees, application processes, validity periods and more.
Whether you are applying for your learner’s licence, taking the driving test, converting your existing licence, or renewing your licence – this guide addresses the most frequently asked questions with clear, accurate responses based on the gazetted regulations. Read on to ensure you fully understand the new rules so you can smoothly transition and comply with the updated licensing requirements. Feel free to contact the Vehicle Inspectorate Department, police or registering officer if any further queries arise.
The new Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations, 2023 take effect from the date of their publication in the Government Gazette, which is stated as 23 June 2023.
Some key changes include:
Introduction of new licence codes aligned with SADC requirements
New minimum age limits for certain licence categories
Stricter requirements for passenger vehicle licences
Provisions for issuing licences in electronic format
New fees payable for various licensing transactions
Acceptance of foreign licences and conversion procedures
Updated medical and competency testing requirements
New validity periods and renewal rules for learner’s and driver’s licences
Revised rules around duplicate licences
New offence codes for endorsements
Transitional provisions for existing licence holders
The new regulations introduce licence codes A, A1, B, B1, BE, C, C1, CE, D, D1, DE aligned with SADC requirements. These replace the old class-based system. Existing licence holders will be transitioned to the corresponding new codes. We have created easy-to-understand tables below that cover these new codes.
Code B (regular light motor vehicles) minimum age is now 18 years. For code C (trucks) and code D (buses), the minimum age is now 25 years. We have created a table below with some of these requirements
Yes, learner’s licences will now be valid for 12 months only. The minimum age remains 16 years in most cases. Stricter requirements are introduced for obtaining a learner’s licence for passenger vehicles.
Existing licence holders will automatically be transitioned to the new system and issued new licences with updated codes at no extra cost before the SADC go-live date.
Yes, existing paper licences will remain valid until they are converted to the new system. License holders may be required to convert to the electronic format after the SADC go-live date.
Yes, new application and renewal fees are stipulated in US Dollars in the regulations. Fees for duplicate licences, tests, etc. have also been revised.
The new regulations provide for converting valid foreign driving licences to local Zimbabwean licences upon payment of a $100 fee. Applicants will be issued corresponding codes unless determined otherwise by the Registrar.
The public notice contains the full regulations. Additionally, the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), police stations and registering officers should have details of the new licensing rules and procedures.
RTLD stands for “Road Traffic Licensing of Drivers”. The RTLD forms are prescribed application forms that are required for various licensing transactions under the new regulations in Zimbabwe. We have created a list of the forms below together with their descriptions.
Please see the table below which deals with this issue.
Changes to Medical Requirements
- Medical certificates can only be issued by registered medical practitioners, dental surgeons, opticians or psychologists
- Applicants must provide a valid learner’s or driver’s licence with a photo for identification purposes during medical exams
- The prescribed RTLD 6 form must be used for medical certificates
- Special medical certificates are required for certain conditions like wearing artificial limbs
Changes to Competency Testing
- Practical and oral/written tests required for learner’s licence
- Additional competency tests are required before issuing a certificate of competency
- Competency certificates are valid for 30 days and serve as a temporary licence
- Testing fees prescribed for different vehicle categories (Codes A/B -$25, Codes C1/C1E -$30, Codes C/CE/D/DE -$40)
- The minimum testing age lowered to 16 years for Codes A and B
- Evidence of prior driving experience may be required for certain categories like Code D
- Foreign licence holders may be exempt from certain tests
What are the different types of forms and their uses?
|Form Number||Form Title||Purpose|
|RTLD 1||Application for tractor driver’s permit||For getting temporary tractor permit|
|RTLD 3||Application for learner’s licence||For applying for learner’s licence|
|RTLD 4||Certificate of competency||Issued after passing driving test|
|RTLD 5||Driver’s licence||Issued upon meeting requirements|
|RTLD 6||Medical certificate||For certifying medical fitness to drive|
|RTLD 7||Application for duplicate licence||For applying for duplicate licence|
|RTLD 9||General application||For licence or certificate applications|
What are the new licence classes and how do they compare to the old ones?
Here is a table summarizing the changes in the classes of motor vehicles under Statutory Instrument 119 of 2023:
|Old Class||New Corresponding Class||Class Description||Example Vehicles|
|Class 1||D, DE, D1, D1E||Buses||Buses|
|Class 2||C, CE, C1, C1E||Trucks||Trucks|
|Class 3||A, A1, B1||Motorcycles, trikes, quad bikes||Two-wheelers, trikes, quad bikes|
|Class 4||B, BE||Cars and light vehicles||Cars, bakkies (trucks)|
|Class 5||BÊ||Agricultural/construction vehicles||Tractors, excavators|
What are the new licence classes and what do they mean?
It’s important to note that the new classification system is much more comprehensive than the old one which had few categories. Here is a list of the new classes and what they mean.
|New Class||Description||Example Vehicles|
|A1||Small motorcycles||Motorcycles up to 125cc|
|B1||Quadricycles||Quad bikes, motorized tricycles|
|B||Light motor vehicles||Cars, bakkies (trucks), mini-buses up to 3500kg|
|BE||B vehicles with trailer||Cars/bakkies (trucks) with trailer|
|C1||Light trucks||Trucks 3500-7500kg|
|C||Heavy trucks||Trucks over 7500kg|
|CE||C vehicles with trailer||Heavy trucks with trailer|
|D1||Light buses||Minibuses up to 16 seats|
|D||Heavy buses||Buses over 16 seats|
|DE||D vehicles with trailer||Buses with trailer|
|BÊ||Agricultural/construction vehicles||Tractors, excavators, etc|
What are the requirements and application fees for each licence?
Here is the table with new licence classes, requirements, and application fees:
|New Class||Requirements||Application Fee|
|A||16 years old, learner’s licence||$25|
|A1||16 years old, learner’s licence||$25|
|B1||18 years old, learner’s licence||$25|
|B||18 years old, learner’s licence||$25|
|BE||B licence for 1 year, learner’s licence||$30|
|C1||18 years old, B licence for 1 year, learner’s licence||$30|
|C||25 years old, B licence for 2 years, learner’s licence||$40|
|CE||C licence for 1 year, learner’s licence||$40|
|D1||25 years old, B licence for 5 years, learner’s licence||$30|
|D||25 years old, C licence for 5 years, learner’s licence||$40|
|DE||D licence for 1 year, learner’s licence||$40|
|BÊ||18 years old, learner’s licence||$25|
What kind of form(s) is/are required for each specific licence class?
Here is a table with the new licence classes and the required RTLD forms. This means that if you are applying for a given licence you need to make sure that you have filled these forms properly. See above for requirements for each licence class and make sure you fulfill these requirements.
You’re completely right, I sincerely apologize. Presenting tables clearly is an area I need to improve. Let me try this again:
|A, A1, B1||RTLD 3 (Learner’s Licence),RTLD 4 (Certificate of Competency),RTLD 5 (Driver’s Licence),RTLD 6 (Medical Certificate) and RTLD 9 (General Application)|
|B||RTLD 3 (Learner’s Licence),RTLD 4 (Certificate of Competency),RTLD 5 (Driver’s Licence),RTLD 6 (Medical Certificate) and RTLD 9 (General Application)|
|BE||RTLD 3 (Learner’s Licence),RTLD 4 (Certificate of Competency), RTLD 5 (Driver’s Licence),RTLD 6 (Medical Certificate) and RTLD 9 (General Application)|
|C, C1, CE, C1E||RTLD 3 (Learner’s Licence),RTLD 4 (Certificate of Competency), RTLD 5 (Driver’s Licence), RTLD 6 (Medical Certificate) and RTLD 9 (General Application)|
|D, D1, DE, D1E||RTLD 3 (Learner’s Licence), RTLD 4 (Certificate of Competency),RTLD 5 (Driver’s Licence), RTLD 6 (Medical Certificate) and RTLD 9 (General Application)|
What are the rules around duplicate licences?
Here are some of the key changes concerning duplicate licences under the new regulations:
- RTLD 7 form introduced for applying for duplicate licences
- Duplicate licence fees revised to $15 for both learner’s and driver’s licences
- Applicants must provide 2 passport photos and specimen signatures for duplicate licence application
- A driver can apply for duplicate licence if original is defaced, destroyed, lost, etc.
- Duplicate licence contains word “Duplicate” on front and has same information as original
- Police report required for lost or destroyed licences
- Original licence must be surrendered when obtaining a duplicate
- Duplicate learner’s licences are valid for the remainder of the original validity period
Here is a table listing the new offence codes and corresponding offences for licence endorsements under the regulations:
|A||Driving without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for others|
|D||Driving at a speed dangerous to the public|
|E||Driving in a manner dangerous to the public|
|F||Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both|
|G||Offence in terms of any other law related to driving a motor vehicle|
|I||Failure to carry out duties in the event of an accident|
|J||Driving with prohibited alcohol concentration in blood|
|K||Failure or refusal to take a breath test or provide blood sample|
|L||Disqualified from driving for a specified period or lifetime|