Forklift drivers who are immigrating often ask this question, can you use your forklift license issued in my country to get a job as forklift operator in other country? We will try to enlighten you about this matter.

Importance of Having Forklift License

Before I delve in answering that important question, let me discuss first the importance of having a license for you to figure out why it is necessary.

In business perspective:

can you use your  forklift license in other country

Most employers prioritize the safety and well-being of their workers. This is evident in their preference to hire forklift operators who are already licensed. By doing so, employers can be confident that these applicants have undergone proper forklift safety training and possess the necessary skills.

Another advantage of hiring licensed operators is cost savings. Employers can avoid the expenses and logistical challenges of sending new employees to training schools for several days. This reduces costs associated with training, minimizes work interruptions, and avoids potential disruptions to production, ultimately enhancing business productivity.

A third consideration is the legal obligation for operators to be properly trained. In the event of a forklift-related accident, an investigation will be conducted. If it is determined that the involved operator lacked the necessary training and skill to operate the forklift safely, the company might encounter difficulties when claiming insurance. There's even a risk that the insurer could reject the claim.

Lastly, employing licensed operators ensures compliance with government regulations. Countries such as the UK, US, Canada, and Australia have established forklift licensing standards. While some countries might have stricter requirements than others, compliance is crucial. Regardless of an employee's experience, if workers and companies do not adhere to the prevailing government regulations, they risk severe violations and penalties.

If you want to know what could be your punishment for not complying to regulation, you can read this article:

In personal point of view:

It is essential to possess the necessary documentation, such as a license, that attests to your competence in operating forklifts. This license can serve as evidence of completed training. With a forklift license, hiring managers are more likely to select you, making it easier for you to secure a job.

Furthermore, having a forklift certification can enhance your chances of receiving a promotion, especially if it's something you've been aspiring to for a long time.


Can You Get a Job If You Have Forklift License Issued in Other Country?

The obvious answer is NO. There are three reasons for this:

1. Standards of Forklift Training

Different countries have their own unique standards. Some might have more rigorous standards for forklift operations in the workplace compared to others. The training standards a country adopts are designed to protect its workers.

For instance, in the UK, a forklift training provider must be accredited by one or several of the following accrediting bodies: RTITB, LANTRA, NPORS, ITSSAR, CITB, and AITT.

Moreover, in the UK, training courses are tailored based on the trainee's skill level. There are four options available: novice, refresher, semi-experienced, and conversion training.

In contrast, some countries do not have such specific accreditation for training providers or categorization of skills.

2. License Processing

Licensing procedures also vary between countries. In Australia, forklift operation is classified as high-risk work. Consequently, after completing a forklift training course, an applicant must submit several documentary requirements to the local territorial licensing authority. In contrast, some countries don't have such processes. As a result, a forklift license issued in other country may not be valid if you're seeking employment.

3. Government Regulation

The country in which you intend to work has specific regulations with which you must familiarize yourself before accepting a job. For more details related to forklift operation regulations, please see below.

Each country has specific forklift operation regulations:

  • Licensing: Most countries require a license or certification, often involving both theoretical and practical tests.
  • Training: Regular safety and equipment training is commonly mandated.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Regular checks to ensure forklifts are in good condition are crucial.
  • Work Environment: Guidelines typically include clear signage and designated pathways.
  • Safety Gear: Helmets, safety shoes, and high-visibility jackets are often required.
  • Operating Rules: Regulations may dictate speed limits, loading/unloading guidelines, and safe operation near pedestrians.
  • Emergency Protocols: Knowing emergency stop mechanisms and evacuation plans is essential.
  • License Renewals: Many countries require periodic renewals or retests.
  • Foreign License Recognition: Not all countries recognize licenses from abroad. Check local requirements.
  • Legal Consequences: Non-compliance can result in fines or legal action.

Always consult local regulatory bodies or legal experts for specific regulations in your intended work country.

What Can You Do If You Hold of Foreign Forklift License?

One of the advantages of seeking a forklift job in other country is that forklift training is readily available. However, you may still need to undergo a training course tailored to the specific type of truck you wish to operate in order to obtain the necessary license.

Given your existing training and experience, you should be able to pass the training tests with ease.

The forklift license you obtained in your origin country can serve as proof of your qualifications for the job. To secure employment, you can present your original forklift license, a certificate of employment from your previous employer, and your newly acquired license. These documents will attest to your credentials and enhance your chances of being hired.

Forklift Training Regulations in Different Countries

In the US

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178 – contain provisions related to safe use of powered industrial equipments for general industry. The specific provision are 1910.178(l) (operator training), 1910.178(l)(1)(i) and 1910.178(l)(1)(ii) (obliging the employer that workers are competent prior to operating forklifts by giving them the necessary training), and 1910.178(l)(4) (refresher forklift training)


Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and Guidance L117 incorporates the guidance on operator training for stacking rider-operated lift trucks it also It includes an outline of the main legal requirements concerning forklift.

Other regulation that may be deemed related are the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 98 and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

In Canada

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Clause 25(2)(a) specifically states that it is the employer’s responsibility to supply the necessary information, instruction and supervision to protect the welfare of the employees.

Regulation for Industrial Establishments, Regulation 851 specifically the Clause 51(2)(a) the states that forklift is only to be driven by someone who is “competent.” A competent person is described as someone who is knowledgeable, trained and experienced in conducting the work involving lift truck and clause 51(1)(b) says that examination of the forklift’s handling capability is only to be performed by competent person as well.

In Australia

In this country, operating a forklift is classified as high-risk work. Before you can pursue training and apply for an HRW license, you must determine the category of the truck you intend to drive. There are two categories: the LO and the LF licenses.



Requirements Vary

If you have a forklift license, you may be wondering if you can use it to work in other country. This is a matter we received frequently received from our readers.

In most cases, you can use your forklift license to work in other country. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you will need to check with the country's regulations to make sure that you're up to their standard. Second, you may need to get a new forklift license if the country has different requirements than your home country. Finally, you should be prepared to speak the language of the country you are working in, as this will make it easier to communicate with co-workers and customers.

If you have a valid forklift license from your home country, you may be able to use it to operate a forklift in other country. However, it is important to check with the local authorities to ensure that your license is valid in their jurisdiction. There may be some restrictions or requirements that you need to meet in order to use your forklift license in other country.

For example, you may need to have a certain amount of experience operating a forklift in your home country before you will be allowed to operate one in other country. Additionally, you may be required to take a safety course or pass a safety test in order to use a forklift in other country.

Although a forklift license is not required in every country, it may be beneficial to get one if you plan on working with in other country. A forklift license may help you get a job and help you boost your chance of receiving better pay. If you are planning on to work in other country, it is important to research the requirements of that country.



Requirements and Regulations Differ

Forklift training standards, requirements, and regulations vary widely across countries and regions. Their primary objective is to ensure the safety of operators, coworkers, and the surrounding environment. Training typically covers basic equipment operations, safety protocols, emergency response, equipment maintenance, and load handling techniques.

Before being certified, operators in many countries need to pass both a written and practical test, and some jurisdictions require periodic renewals or refresher courses. Depending on the type of forklift or work environment, there might be specialized training categories, such as LO and LF licenses. Some countries also have age restrictions for forklift operators and may require medical examinations to ensure physical fitness.

Foreign licenses might not always be recognized, necessitating local training or certification. Employers often play a pivotal role in certain regions, responsible for ensuring their operators are trained to local standards. Non-compliance with local regulations can lead to fines, legal actions, or business license revocation. As technological advancements occur and new safety research emerges, training standards and regulations are subject to change. Thus, it's crucial for operators and employers to stay updated and consult local regulatory bodies or industry organizations. 


Your Credential May Not Be Applicable

If you have a forklift license from one country, you may be able to use it to operate a forklift in other country. However, it is important to check with the authorities in the country you wish to work in to ensure that your license will be accepted.

There may be some requirements that you need to meet, such as taking a test or completing a training course or being registered in the jurisdiction, before you can begin work. Even if you are able to use your experience, it is always a good idea to brush up on your skills and knowledge before operating a forklift in a new country.

There are a few process that are different when getting a forklift license to work in other country. The first is that you will need to find out what the specific requirements are for the country you are wanting to work in. Each country has different rules and regulations when it comes to operating a forklift.

The process for this will vary, but you will likely need to take a written and practical examination. Once you have passed these exams and have been issued a license, you will be able to operate a forklift in your job assignment.

Challenges with International Recognition for Forklift Operators

When you want to use your forklift license in a different country, you might face some problems. Here's why:

  • Different Rules and Tools: Every country has its own way of doing things. They might use different forklifts or have different places where forklifts are used. They also might have their own safety rules. So, what you learned in your home country might not match what they want in the new country.

  • Legal Problems: If a company hires someone with a foreign license and something goes wrong, there could be legal trouble. The company might get blamed or have to pay money. So, many companies are careful and want to make sure your license matches their country's standards.

These challenges can make it hard to work in a new country. But understanding these problems can help you prepare and find solutions.


Tips for Forklift Operators Going Abroad

If you're a forklift operator thinking about working in another country, here are some easy tips to help you out:

  • Check the Rules First: Before going to a new country, find out what they need for forklift operators. Every country has its own rules. Look them up online or ask someone who knows.

  • Keep Learning: The world of forklifts keeps changing. So, always try to learn new things. This way, you'll always know the latest ways to use a forklift safely and well.

  • Join Forklift Groups: There are groups of forklift operators from all over the world. Join them! They can give you good advice, tell you about their experiences, and help you find work.

Remember, working in a new country can be tricky, but with these tips, you'll be ready to go. Good luck!

To Conclude This

If you have knowledge and experience and are planning to work as a forklift operator in other country, it certainly gives you an advantage. Your foreign forklift license can serve as evidence of your qualifications for the job. However, due to differing standards between countries, the license issued in your country of origin may not be recognized in your destination country. To obtain a new forklift license there, you'll need to enroll in and complete a forklift training course.

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