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.

When do the new regulations take effect?

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.

What are the main changes in the new regulations?

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

How do the new codes work?

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.

What are the new minimum age limits?

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

Are there any changes to learner’s licences?

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.

How will existing licences be converted?

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.

Can I still drive with my old paper licence?

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.

Will licence fees increase?

Yes, new application and renewal fees are stipulated in US Dollars in the regulations. Fees for duplicate licences, tests, etc. have also been revised.

How do I convert my foreign licence?

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.

Where can I get more information?

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.

What does RTLD stand for?

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.

How long is each licence valid for? What do I do once a licence has expired?

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 NumberForm TitlePurpose
RTLD 1Application for tractor driver’s permitFor getting temporary tractor permit
RTLD 3Application for learner’s licenceFor applying for learner’s licence
RTLD 4Certificate of competencyIssued after passing driving test
RTLD 5Driver’s licenceIssued upon meeting requirements
RTLD 6Medical certificateFor certifying medical fitness to drive
RTLD 7Application for duplicate licenceFor applying for duplicate licence
RTLD 9General applicationFor 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 ClassNew Corresponding ClassClass DescriptionExample Vehicles
Class 1D, DE, D1, D1EBusesBuses
Class 2C, CE, C1, C1ETrucksTrucks
Class 3A, A1, B1Motorcycles, trikes, quad bikesTwo-wheelers, trikes, quad bikes
Class 4B, BECars and light vehiclesCars, bakkies (trucks)
Class 5Agricultural/construction vehiclesTractors, 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 ClassDescriptionExample Vehicles
A1Small motorcyclesMotorcycles up to 125cc
B1QuadricyclesQuad bikes, motorized tricycles
BLight motor vehiclesCars, bakkies (trucks), mini-buses up to 3500kg
BEB vehicles with trailerCars/bakkies (trucks) with trailer
C1Light trucksTrucks 3500-7500kg
CHeavy trucksTrucks over 7500kg
CEC vehicles with trailerHeavy trucks with trailer
D1Light busesMinibuses up to 16 seats
DHeavy busesBuses over 16 seats
DED vehicles with trailerBuses with trailer
Agricultural/construction vehiclesTractors, 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 ClassRequirementsApplication Fee
A16 years old, learner’s licence$25
A116 years old, learner’s licence$25
B118 years old, learner’s licence$25
B18 years old, learner’s licence$25
BEB licence for 1 year, learner’s licence$30
C118 years old, B licence for 1 year, learner’s licence$30
C25 years old, B licence for 2 years, learner’s licence$40
CEC licence for 1 year, learner’s licence$40
D125 years old, B licence for 5 years, learner’s licence$30
D25 years old, C licence for 5 years, learner’s licence$40
DED licence for 1 year, learner’s licence$40
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:

Class(es)Forms Required
A, A1, B1RTLD 3 (Learner’s Licence),RTLD 4 (Certificate of Competency),RTLD 5 (Driver’s Licence),RTLD 6 (Medical Certificate) and RTLD 9 (General Application)
BRTLD 3 (Learner’s Licence),RTLD 4 (Certificate of Competency),RTLD 5 (Driver’s Licence),RTLD 6 (Medical Certificate) and RTLD 9 (General Application)
BERTLD 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, C1ERTLD 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, D1ERTLD 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:

ADriving without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for others
BReckless driving
CNegligent driving
DDriving at a speed dangerous to the public
EDriving in a manner dangerous to the public
FDriving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both
GOffence in terms of any other law related to driving a motor vehicle
HOther offence
IFailure to carry out duties in the event of an accident
JDriving with prohibited alcohol concentration in blood
KFailure or refusal to take a breath test or provide blood sample
LDisqualified from driving for a specified period or lifetime