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Applying for a testing officer (O) endorsement

Current application processing times

Our Palmerston North office was evacuated on 13 June 2019, and we have limited capacity for processing some applications. We’re very sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

In addition, we are strengthening our compliance processes, including making improvements to what is considered fit and proper behaviour. This requires more in-depth checking and we are hiring and training team members to help as we get used to the changes. We will continue to review timeframes over the coming weeks.

To help minimise delays, please ensure you submit your application as early as possible. Standard applications (more likely to be processed without delay) are those where the following are met:

  • Application completed correctly
  • All required documents are attached
  • No fit and proper check issues
  • No prior Transport Agency concerns related to driving.

Check the table to see how long it will take us to process your application.

Who needs a testing officer endorsement?

To conduct practical driving tests, you must be employed by the NZ Transport Agency, a testing agent contracted to the Transport Agency or the NZ Defence Force.

Before applying for the testing officer (O) endorsement you must have proof of employment with one of the above agencies.

If you’re not sure whether you need an O endorsement or if you require the name of the current agent, please call us on 0800 822 422, email or contact any Transport Agency office.

You must also have an O endorsement on your driver licence before you can start conducting tests.

What do I need to apply?

  • You must have held a full New Zealand car licence (class 1) for at least two years

  • You'll need to complete certification training
  • You’ll need a medical certificate (unless you’ve provided one to the Transport Agency in the last five years)

  • If you’re not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you’ll need a work permit or visa approving work in New Zealand in the appropriate field

  • You’ll need a current passport or New Zealand driver licence, or another form of acceptable evidence of identity.

How do I apply?

  1. Complete an Application for new V, I or O endorsement application form (DL20B) [PDF, 531 KB].
  2. Take the completed form and the above documents to a driver licensing agent.
  3. Pay the application fee.
  4. The agent will take your photo and signature. 

You must have held a full licence for two years

To get an O endorsement, you must hold, and have held for at least two years, a full New Zealand class 1 driver licence.

Holding an equivalent overseas licence doesn’t meet this requirement. If you’ve held an overseas licence, you may be able apply for an exemption to get your overseas driving experience recognised. 

You must also hold each class of licence that you want to conduct tests for. For example, if you want to conduct class 2 tests, you must have a class 2 on your driver licence.  

We’ll check if you are a fit and proper person

Your application will be sent to the Transport Agency so that a fit and proper person check can be done. This will check on things like transport-related offences, criminal convictions and past complaints about you.

Further information about the fit and proper person criteria

Medical certificate

It’s important that commercial drivers are in good health. We want to ensure that you won’t cause an accident through a health-related incident when you’re responsible for the lives of passengers or driving large vehicles on public roads

Ask your doctor to complete a Transport Agency medical certificate for you.

Eyesight requirements

Good vision is essential to driving a vehicle safely. You’ll need to provide proof your vision meets the standards for safe driving. 

Testing officer (O) certification tests

Once you’re employed with the testing agent you can then start certification training.

It’s the responsibility of the testing agent to provide you with the testing officer’s manual and to train you to conduct tests appropriately to meet the standards required.

You’ll be required to demonstrate your understanding of the requirements of driver testing by successfully completing the certification testing administered by the Transport Agency. This involves sitting and passing a range of theory and practical tests about testing procedures as well as conducting and marking practical tests. The testing agent will arrange for you to sit the tests when you’re ready.

Application options

If you want to, you can make your application before starting the certification training. You can then do the training while the application is being processed (it can take up to 10 working days).

If you’re not sure whether you might pass the fit and proper person check, you can choose to make your application and have the check done first. If you pass the check, you’ll be sent a Notice of determination to let you know, and you can then do your certification training.

You can’t conduct tests until you have the endorsement on your licence

You can’t start conducting tests just because you’ve got the necessary certificates. You must successfully complete the application process and get the O endorsement added to your driver licence first.

How much does it cost to apply?


1 year

5 years

Endorsement application



Vetting fee



Certification tests



Total cost



What happens next?

Your application will be sent to the NZ Transport Agency to be processed, and for the fit and proper person check to be performed.

  • If you’ve provided all the necessary information with your application and all the endorsement requirements have been met, please allow 10 working days for your application to be processed.

  • If some information hasn’t been provided yet, or if some requirements haven’t been met, your application will take longer to process.

If you're cleared and your application is granted, your endorsement will be approved and your new licence will be made and sent to you.

If you’re not cleared, you’ll receive a letter explaining this and the process you may take to appeal the decision in the district court.

Use our online tracking tool(external link) to view your application status:

Status What does this mean?
Received We’ve got your application, but we haven’t started working on it yet. We’ll send you an email to let you know it’s been received.
Gathering information

We’re waiting for something.

For example, we could be waiting for vetting information from the police, or reviewing your medical certificate.

We’ll contact you if we need more information from you.

Processing We’ve got all the information we need, and we’re now assessing your application.

We’ve finished processing your application.

  • If your endorsement is approved, we’ll send you a new photo driver licence (and ID card) within 15-20 days.

  • If your endorsement is declined, we’ll send you a letter explaining why, and what you can do.


Download Factsheet 48: O endorsements – how to become a testing officer [PDF, 61 KB]

Download Factsheet 66: Driver licensing courses for licence classes and endorsements [PDF, 68 KB]


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