How to get your Thai driving license

Last edited: September 05, 2017 at 15:09:11

If you stay in Thailand just for a short holiday, and you want to ride a vehicle (motorcycle / car), most of the time you'll be able to get away with it using your national driving license, but officially you would need an international driving license (applied for in your home country or a translated license from your Embassy / Consulate).
Chances are, though, that police stops you on the road and asks for your driving license and then it depends on the officer if he's in a good mood or he wants to fine you 400 baht for it.

So, if you're staying in Thailand more long term, it's worth the effort to get your papers in order and to simply get a Thai driving license. It surely can feel good next time a Thai policeman waves you over (perhaps to get some money off you) to present him with a Thai driving license with a smile.
Another benefit is that at some less official places like shops but even at banks that are familiar with you, sometimes you can use your Thai driving license as an ID card instead of your passport, but that's not a guarantee, it simply depends on the staff. (Mind you, officially as a foreigner in Thailand nowadays you are obliged to show a passport to police officers on request, so it's a good idea to make a copy of it and keep it with you always.)

What papers do you need to prepare to apply for your Thai driving license?

Well, regulations in Thailand are always changing and things also depend on your personal situation, what kind of visa you've got, but in general this is the procedure:

1. Get your residency certificate

You need up to a week to prepare for this.
Take your rental agreement, your passport (make copies of the visa pages and your departure card) and 1 passport photo and go to the so-called G4T office located at Promenada Mall which cooperates with the Immigration office.
You pay THB 500 for the residence certificate costs 500 baht.
You can pick it up normally after 1 week, but some people report it can be faster.
The residence certificate you get from G4T is only valid for 30 days.

Alternatively, you can get a residence certificate from your Embassy / Consulate (valid for 1 year).

2. Get a health declaration

Every hospital in town provides this quick and easy service, just walk in and tell them you need a health declaration for your driving license. Prices vary between perhaps THB 50 and 150, and most of the time you'll walk out within half an hour.
The doctor officially has to check for 5 relevant diseases, but most of the time will just ask you some simple questions, it's a 2 minutes check up and you're out again.
Hospitals closer to the Driving License Office or smaller clinics may give you cheaper rate, but it's hardly worth it looking for differences, it's a one-time thing and you're done quickly.

3. Go to the Driving License Office

Officially, it's called the Land & Transportation office and it's on the way to Hang Dong coming from Airport Plaza.

Bring the following with you: passport (make copies of photo page, visa page and departure card); residence certificate; health certificate - original; driving license from your home country, international driving license, proof of ownership of your vehicle.

There are various timeslots for the driving license, it could be best to be there before 9am or before 1am.

On Day 1 you need to join a class on Thai driving laws which takes about 4 hours. After that, you need to do a test.
Many foreigners complain that the test is not very clear, that there are errors in the test or confusing information, or that some information is only explained in Thai, but hey we're in Thailand so just do it and you'll be fine.
An example of a test that was used in the past you can find here, the new tests may have changed but in essence they are the same.

On Day 2 you need to do a driving test at 10am. This is not so difficult if you've already been driving a motorcycle for some time, most important is that you can drive in a circle and can stop in time.

Total costs of getting the driving license is just a few hundred baht and the office will print it out for you in the form of a "smart card". Your first license is valid for 2 years, after that you can renew it for a number of years, depending on what visa you have.

If you have a driving license for your car in your home country, you can get a double card, one for a motorcycle and one for a car.

Leave a comment

Your email will not be displayed on this website, but we can answer you if needed.