The following article is to provide a better understanding of Driving Licences in Namibia as well as the requirements. The information is provided in good faith and should not be substituted for a professional legal opinion and does not constitute legal advice.
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A drivers license is important in Namibia: most jobs require one. In addition, long traveling distances between spaced out towns and cities as well as a lack of public transport make getting around rather difficult.
But a Namibian drivers license, upon closer inspection, can be quite confusing. What code drivers license is needed for which vehicles? What code drivers license should you get for day-to-day driving? What about learners licenses? Do they have different codes?
With all this in mind, I’ve broken down the most important information for you. Read on below to find answers to your questions!
Tare is the weight used to determine the license fees of a vehicle. Also known as the curb weight, it gives the weight of the unloaded, empty vehicle (including permanent fixtures but excluding fuel).
GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) is the maximum total mass a vehicle was designed to operate with when loaded.
What Drivers Licence Codes Exist in Namibia?
Namibia has only three basic drivers license codes:
- Code A
- Code B
- Code C
Each code can be amended by a suffix of 1 or E. The number 1 after the code letter indicates a size restriction of the vehicle type, while the letter E shows that a combination vehicle can be operated.
A combination vehicle is the vehicle relevant to the code letter plus a trailer with a GVM of more than 750 kg.
What is a Code A Drivers License?
The Namibian code A license is for motorcycles. The variation A1 limits you to operating a motorcycle with an engine capacity of not more than 125 cc.
Motorcycles are excluded from all other codes.
What is a Code B Drivers License?
The Namibian code B drivers license allows you to operate a motor vehicle with a tare weight not exceeding 3,500 kg. This can be done with or without a trailer if said trailer’s GVM is equal to or less than 750 kg.
Only a code BE license allows vehicles under 3,500 kg tare weight to be operated with a trailer that has a GVM of over 750 kg.
What is Code C Drivers License?
The Namibian code C drivers license is also know as a heavy vehicle license. It has a few variations depending on which weight and combination of vehicles will be operated. The license is issued according to what was used during the driving test.
A code C license enables you to drive any vehicle with a tare weight of 16,000 kg or more (such as a large bus or truck). A trailer may be attached as long as its GVM is equal to or less than 750 kg.
You must acquire a professional endorsement on your code C license before being allowed to actually operate the specified vehicle type/s. Professional endorsements were previously known as Public Driving Permits and indicated by the letters PDP. They are now signified by the letters PA for Professional Authorisation.
C1 Drivers License
A code C1 license allows you to drive a vehicle with a tare weight greater than 3,500kg but less than 16,000 kg. A trailer may be attached as long as its GVM is equal to or less than 750 kg.
C1E Driving Licence
A code C1E license allows you to operate a C1 vehicle plus a trailer with a GVM above 750 kg.
CE Drivers License
A code CE license, finally, means you can operate a C vehicle plus a trailer with a GVM of over 750 kg. This is the highest code license you can obtain in Namibia.
When Do You Need Professional Authorisation (PA / PDP)?
A Professional Authorisation – indicated by the letters PA on your license – is required by anyone transporting passengers or goods for reward. This kind of endorsement was previously known as a Public Driving Permit (shown by the letters PDP).
Additionally, a PA must be obtained for a code C license, even if you only want that license for recreational purposes (such as a large motorhome).
How Do You Get a PA in Namibia?
There are three categories for Professional Authorisation:
- Goods (G)
- Passengers (P)
- Dangerous Goods (D)
To apply for a Professional Authorisation (PA) for Passengers and/or Dangerous Goods, you must be at least 25 years old. Dangerous Goods additionally require proof that you completed an approved training course for the transport of dangerous goods.
The application for a PA must be accompanied by a medical certificate, submitted on the approved NaTIS form (available from NaTIS offices) and completed by a doctor.
Additionally, you will need a certificate of conduct from the Namibian Police (also called a code of conduct). Fill out the Application for Professional Authorisation (available from NaTIS offices) and submit it with the documentation discussed above.
The application itself is conducted as drivers license renewal, which means that you will have to pay N$110 for the PA application plus N$200 for the issuance of a new drivers license card.
The PA is valid for two years only and must be renewed in time, otherwise it lapses.
What are Learners License Codes?
There are three learners license codes in Namibia: 1, 2 and 3.
Code 1 learners licenses are for motorcycles. At age 16, you can already get a code 1 learners license – but it will only allow you to operate motorcycles with an engine capacity of up to, and including, 125 cc. The same code 1 obtained at age 17 will let you ride motorcycles with an engine capacity of above 125 cc.
Motorcycles are excluded from all other learner licenses.
The code 1 learners license allows you to test for a code A drivers license.
Code 2 learners licenses are for motor vehicles with a tare weight not exceeding 3,500 kg. You may practice driving with a trailer of any size. You can apply for a code 2 learners license at the of 17.
The code 2 learners license allows you to test for a code B drivers license. Note that in order to operate combination vehicles in this class, you must do the code B drivers license test with a trailer that has a GVM exceeding 750 kg (giving you a BE drivers license).
A code BE drivers license is useful if you plan on moving smaller loads, like horse boxes or small boats.
Code 3 learners licenses let you practise operating motor vehicles with a tare weight of over 3,500 kg, as well as combination vehicles of this class (with any size trailer). You can apply for a code 3 learners license at age 18. You do not need a Professional Authorisation (PA) for a code 3 leaners license.
As with a code 2 learners license, the final driving test needs to be done with a vehicle matching the specifications of the end license you want. For example, if you have a code 3 learners license and use a vehicle with a tare weight of under 16,000 kg for the drivers test, you will only be issued with a code C1 drivers license.
Similarly, if you use a vehicle with a tare weight of over 16,000 kg and attach a trailer of over 750 kg GVM for the test, you will get a code CE drivers license (the highest code in Namibia).
You can find your local NATIS business hours here.
What License Do You Need for Cranes, Tractors and Forklifts?
Many times we get asked whether a special license is needed to drive a mobile crane, tractor or forklift. For the safe operation and specific uses of these, an appropriate training course is necessary, as they require special skills.
However, if these vehicles are appropriately licensed, anyone with a code B drivers license can drive them on a public road, regardless of tare weight.
That’s because the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations of 2001 (§ 110, table 2) authorise a code B drivers license as follows:
“Code B, a tractor or other motor vehicle being mobile, agricultural or industrial equipment or machinery not designed principally for the conveyance of persons or goods, with or without a trailer.”
Therefore, vehicles “not designed principally” to transport people or things – such as cranes, tractors, forklifts or cherry pickers – can be operated on a public road with a code B drivers license.
Below is a reproduction of table 2 from § 110 of the Namibian Road Traffic and Transport Regulations, 2001.
|CODE||CLASS OF MOTOR VEHICLE||AUTHORISATION|
|A1||A motorcycle with an engine cylinder capacity not exceeding 125 cubic centimetres, or propelled by electrical power, but excluding – (i) a pedestrian-controlled vehicle propelled by|
electrical power derived from storage batteries; or
(ii) a vehicle with a tare not exceeding 230 kg specially designed and constructed, and not merely adapted, for use by a person suffering from a physical defect or disability or a person of old age and used solely
by that person.
|A||A motorcycle with an engine cylinder capacity exceeding 125 cubic centimetres.||Codes A and A1|
|B||A motor vehicle, being – (i) a motor car, the tare of which does not exceed|
3 500 kg; or
(ii) a minibus, bus or goods vehicle, the gross vehicle
mass of which does not exceed 3 500 kg;
without a trailer, or with a trailer the gross vehicle mass of which does not exceed 750kg, but excluding an articulated motor vehicle.
|Code B, a tractor or other motor vehicle being mobile agricultural or industrial equipment or machinery not designed principally for the conveyance of persons or goods, with or without a trailer|
|BE||A motor vehicle, excluding a tractor, being –|
(i) an articulated motor vehicle, of which the gross combination mass of the truck-tractor does not exceed 3 500 kg;
(ii) a combination of –
(aa) a motor car the tare of which does not exceed 3 500 kg; or
(bb) a minibus, bus or goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which does not exceed 3 500 kg,
with a trailer, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 750 kilograms.
|Codes B and BE|
|C1||A motor vehicle, being –|
(i) a motor car, the tare of which exceeds 3 500 kg but
not 16 000 kg;
(ii) a minibus, bus or goods vehicle, the gross vehicle
mass of which exceeds 3 500 kg but not 16 000 kg,
without a trailer, or with a trailer the gross vehicle mass of which does not exceed 750 kg, but excluding an articulated motor vehicle.
|Codes C1 and B|
|C||A motor vehicle, being a bus or a goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 16 000 kg without a trailer, or with a trailer the gross vehicle mass of which does not exceed 750 kilograms, but excluding an articulated motor vehicle.||Codes B, C and C1|
|C1E||A motor vehicle, excluding a tractor, being –|
(i) an articulated motor vehicle, of which the gross combination mass of the truck-tractor exceeds
3 500 kg but not 16 000 kg;
(ii) a combination of a motor vehicle and trailer, the
gross vehicle mass of the trailer of which exceeds 750 kg, but the gross combination mass of the drawing vehicle of which does not exceed 16 000 kg.
|Codes B, C1, BE and C1E|
|CE||A motor vehicle being –|
(i) an articulated motor vehicle of which the gross
combination mass of the truck-tractor exceeds
16 000 kg;
(ii) a combination of a bus or goods vehicle, the gross
combination mass of which exceeds 16 000 kg,
with a trailer the gross vehicle mass which exceeds 750 kg.
|Codes B, C1, C, BE, C1E and CE|
Frequently Asked Questions
Namibian Learners and Driving Licenses
- How long is a Namibian learners license valid for?
A Namibian learners license is valid for a period of 18 months from the date of issue.
- How long is a Namibian drivers license valid for?
A Namibian drivers license is valid for a period of 5 years from the date of issue.
- How long is a Professional Authorisation (PA/PDP) valid for?
A Professional Authorisation is valid for 2 years. So although your drivers license may be valid for longer, once your PA lapses after 2 years, you are legally not allowed to drive vehicles with a tare weight of above 3,500 kg or transport goods/passengers for reward.
- What do I need to renew my drivers license?
- An acceptable identification document, normally a certified copy of a Namibian ID or copy of a traffic registration number certificate.
- The prescribed fee: N$200 (issue of driving license card for any code of license)
- For a Professional Authorization application, an additional fee of N$110
- The completed application form from NaTIS: Application For Driving Licence (Regulation 116) – form code DL1