Getting the Thai driving license is not an insurmountable task. Moreover, between us, when we see how some locals drive, we would like it to be more complicated, right? … 😉 Be whatever, once you moved to the Kingdom of Siam and your new nest is unearthed, the driving license is the next step to take. In addition, the local police control a lot of parts of the country, especially when you rent a vehicle.
The rule is simple: you can use an International Driving License as a tourist, but if you stay in Thailand for more than 60 days, you must obtain a local driving license. Note that having your license from your valid country of origin will make the process a little faster, as you will not be required to take the theoretical and practical exams.
If you want to drive cars AND motorcycles in Thailand, you will need to apply for 2 different types of licenses, and you will have 2 cards, but you can claim both and get them at the same time at the Land Transportation Office. However, if your license from your country of origin is only valid for cars, you will have to pass the theoretical and practical exams for the motorcycle license.
If your Thai driving license is your first one, it will be a temporary driving license valid for 2 years. Once the first two years have passed, you will have to return to the Land Transportation Office and withdraw a normal driving license, valid for 5 years this time.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET A THAI DRIVING LICENSE
1. Medical Certificate
You can get it at any hospital, or any clinic. It will cost you between 50 and 100 baht, and is a very fast and very banal exam. In short, if your heart beats, you pass. 😉
2. Residence Certificate or Work Permit
You can obtain a certificate of residence either at the Immigration Office or at the Embassy. The process is completely free, you just need to provide the following documents:
- 2 photos of passport
- 1 copy of your rental agreement or an accommodation proof
- 1 passport
- Signed photocopies of all important pages of your passport (information, VISA, latest entry stamp, boarding pass, 90-day check card)
- 1 copy of the TM30 form signed by your landlord (this is a form that all hotels and apartments must provide if they are hosting foreigners)
Feel free to print all these pages twice, as you will also need them at the Land Transportation Office.
If you already have a Thai Work Permit, there is no need to get a Certificate of Residence, the Land Transportation Office accepts it as proof.
Be careful, getting a Thai driving license when you have a VISA Tourist can be a bit more complicated.
4. Valid Driving License or International Driving License
The process will be much easier if you have your driving license from your home country, or your international driving license. If your license is not in English, you must have it translated by your embassy. You will need double-sided photocopies of your driving license or photocopies of all pages of your international driving license.
5. The form for a thai driving license
This form is available at the Land Transportation Office.
You will need to have all the documents mentioned previously if you apply for a car license AND a motorcycle license at the same time. Photocopies of the medical certificate and residence certificate will be accepted for the second batch of documents.
TO GET YOUR THAI DRIVING LICENSE AT THE LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE
To avoid spending your whole day at the Land Transportation Office, do not hesitate to get there early in the morning. If you have to pass the exams, there is a good chance that they will be spread over 2 days. As with any visit to a government office, be sure to dress properly.
- Go to the information desk and present all your documents.
- You will be directed to a specific counter where you will have to present all your documents again.
- You will be directed to another specific counter where you will pass the daltonism and reaction time tests.
- You will have to watch a video of one hour related to road safety.
FOR those with their driving license from their home country or their international driving license: pay the license fee of 105 baht, take a photo and remove your driving license.
FOR the other ones:
- You will have to participate in a 5-hour course on trafic rules in Thai.
- You will then have to pass the written test of the Thai driving license on a computer in a special room. This test is composed of 50 multiple choice questions and you will need to obtain a 90% minimum score to pass it. If you fail, you can retake the test in the same day. If you fail again, you can take it again the next day.
- You will then have to pass the practice exam outdoors. For this, you will need to go to the Land Transportation Office the next day. Note that for this exam, you will have to provide the vehicles on which you will pass it.
- Pay the license fee of 105 baht, take a picture and go take your driving license.
RENEW YOUR THAI TEMPORARY DRIVING LICENSE
Renewing your driving license is a simple thing. You will simply need to have the same documents than for your first license application as well as your temporary driving license and present to the Land Transportation Office.
You will pass a vision test and a reaction test. You will then have to pay the license fee of 505 baht, and a new license will be issued with a validity of 5 years.
RENEW YOUR THAI DRIVING LICENSE AFTER 5 YEARS
The procedure for renewing your Thai driving license after 5 years does not require a medical certificate, so you will only have to pay 505 baht.
RENEW YOUR EXPIRED THAI DRIVING LICENSE
You can renew your Thai driving license up to 3 months before its expiry date. You can also do it up to 1 year after it expires without penalty.
If your license has expired more than 1 year ago, you must retake the theoretical test and pass 45 of the 50 questions to succeed.
If your license has expired more than 3 years ago, you must retake the theoretical test and the practical test.
USING A THAI DRIVING LICENSE ABROAD
The Thai driving license valid for 5 years can be used to obtain an international driving license, but this is not the case of the 2-year temporary license.
The Thai driving license is valid in the 10 Asian member countries of Southeast of ASEAN, but be careful with the police who sometimes do not necessarily apply this rule. It can also be used as an ID, for your flights instead of your passport for example.
But most of all, do not forget:
BE CAREFUL ON THE ROAD!