It’s normal to think about people buying a car already having the driver’s license to go with it. After all, if you can’t drive the car legally, what’s the point of owning it.
But if you ask the relevant road-traffic authorities across our states and territories: ‘Can I buy a car without a license?”, the answer might not be what you expected. Because as it turns out, buying a car without a license is very much a thing. It’s legal and it’s probably more common than you imagine. But think about it; there’s no company or corporation or NGO or government body with a driver’s license, is there? And yet lots of these organisations own cars and have them registered in that company’s/organisation’s name.
Which brings us to the next logical question of can you register a car without a license? Again, of course, the answer is yes.
But back to the original question about a non-licensed person or entity buying a car. In WA, the only stipulation is that a human being (as opposed to a corporate entity) buying a car must be at least 16 years of age and must provide proof of identity. They must also be a resident of WA. This law is clearly designed to allow somebody on a learners permit and P-Platers to own their own car even before they’ve passed their license test. It makes plenty of sense.
In NSW, it’s more or less the same with absolutely no requirement to hold a license to buy a car, and the only thing you do need to supply is proof of identity. And the same goes for transferring registration into that unlicensed buyer’s name; no license required. It works the same across SA, QLD and VIC as well.
Even if you’ve lost your license or had it suspended, you can still be the legal owner of a car. It would be crazy to think that a business operator who lost their license for, say, speeding, was then required to sell the fleet of cars their employees use for their work.
The only time not having a license makes much of a difference is if you want to change ownership online at one of the state government websites. In some states, both parties must be licensed drivers (and both be resident in the state in question) to be able to do this online. If not, you generally need to attend a government service centre to make the transfer.