Special Hardship Licence in QLD

The Licence

A special hardship licence in Qld or special hardship order is a type of restricted licence issued when you lose your licence for one of the following reasons:

  • You have exceed the two (2) demerit points allowed on a good driving behaviour period; or
  • You have been caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed suspension). 


In order to apply, you must:

  • Hold a Queensland Open or Provisional licence;
  • be able to show that losing your licence will result in extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of the means of earning a living; or
  • show severe and unusual hardship to you or your family for another reason other than by not being able to work.


You will not be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Licence if at any time in the last five (5) years:

  • the court has already disqualified you but you need to drive;
  • you have been convicted of a drink driving offence and need a licence (see Restricted Work Licence)
  • you have a learner’s licence;
  • you previously made a Special Hardship Order application;
  • have been convicted for dangerous driving;
  • had your provisional or open licence suspended, cancelled or disqualified (except for a SPER suspension);
  • you hold a non-Queensland driver licence that has been suspended; and/or
  • you are unemployed and looking for work

The Conditions

If you are granted a special hardship order you can only drive in accordance with the conditions in the special hardship order.

Generally the licence conditions will specify you may:

  • Drive for work purposes; and/or
  • Certain defined occasion’s e.g. taking someone to hospital on a regular basis to receive treatment or taking children to school where there is no public transport options at all.

Note that you cannot just generally apply for a Special Hardship Licence for completion of daily tasks such as taking the children to and from school and this must be accompanied by the inability to use any other mode of public transport nearby.

How to Apply

You must lodge an application for a special hardship licence within 21 days of the date the suspension starts. 

The application for the special hardship licence must be undertaken in the Magistrate’s court nearest to where you live. Once you have filed your application and supporting documents you will be given a court date to attend to have the application be heard.