How to get your Thai driving license

Last edited: November 18, 2018 at 03:42:23

Do you need a Thai driving license?

Well, this question should be easy to answer because the international rules are clear, but the interpretation of a Thai officer of police may not always be.

According to the rules (the UN Traffic Act of 1949 and the Thai traffic act of 1979), you do not need a local driving license when you are a tourist or visitor to Thailand and you have your national driving license with you in English with a photo. You can also have an international driving license that is normally obtainable from the local Automotive Assocation in your home country.
If you are a resident of Thailand, you do need a Thai driving license.
Mind you: the fact that nearly all motorcycle or car rental shops will be willing to rent a vehicle to you doesn't say confirm at all that you have the right papers, these businesses simply don't care whether you're driving legally or not, they just want to rent out their stuff to you.

So if you're on a tourist visa and you've got yourself covered with an English version of your national driving license or an international driving license, you should be okay. But if you're on a non-immigrant visa, chances are the officer that just halted you is not satisfied, you don't know for sure so if you're staying in Thailand long-term it's better to avoid a possible 400 baht fine and just get your local Thai driving license.

It's a worthwhile investment to get your Thai driving license because nowadays there are many roadblocks so you're bound to be halted when you stay for more than a few months. There is no greater satisfaction to the trouble of getting your driving license than to see the disappointed face of a police officer when he expected he could fine an ignorant farang but instead you present him the correct papers 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

Nowadays, you only need one or two days to get 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 and you can pick it up normally the next working day in the afternoon.
NOTE: 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).

Read more about how to get your residence certificate here.

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.

If you need two licenses (one for a motorcycle and one for a car), you need to bring double copies of all that.

If you have a student visa, you can a letter from your school.

4. Driving license office training days

The process will take 2 days if you apply for 1 license and 3 days if you apply for 2 licenses.

Programme Day 1:

  • Submit application and documents at 8:00 - 9:00hr.
  • Physical check up at 9:00 - 10:00hr.
  • Education process from 10:00 - 16:00hr: (watch video about traffic rules, English subtitles)

Programme Day 2:

  • Paper test at 10:00 - 12:00hr
  • Driving test at 13:00hr. This test 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.
  • Get the license after passing the test

Programme Day 3:

  • Driving test at 13:00hr for another license
  • Get the license after passing the test.

Re-do the tests:

  • If you don't pass the paper test, you can re-do it the next day or within 90 days
  • If you don't pass the driving test, you can re-do it on the same day or within 90 days after passed the paper test


  • for the driving tests, you need to bring your own vehicle

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.


Fee is 205 baht for each license.


Your license will be print it out for you in the form of a "smart card". Your first license is valid for 1 year, 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.

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day Posted on January 19, 2019 at 08:21:31
I have both Thai driving license (car and motorcycle) over 1 year. Can I renew the both license to the 5 years license., but I had not thai residence and on tourist visa. Can you assist on that?

Amy Posted on September 18, 2018 at 08:56:42
hi Can I have a Thai driving license based on tourist visa? Can you assist on that? Besides, can I switch the one year temporary dirving license into a five year's driving license? Can you help on that. You can contact with me visa Email. Thanks
Jj Posted on August 25, 2018 at 12:09:37
My home country driving license is exipre since 5 years, can I obtain a thai driving license on tourist visa?

markandhappy Posted on July 03, 2018 at 08:08:09
markandhappy - 2018-07-03
I do not have an international Drivers Permit. My Canadian drivers license is expired. I will need 2 Thai drivers licences - 1 for my car and one for my scooter. I am 27 days into a 60-day tourist visa that I will extend an extra 30 days.
Tomorrow, July 4, I go to Immigration Promenada to apply for a Non-Imm "O-A" 1 year visa based on retirement. That may take a month to process. Can I get a Thai DL?
G-mail Posted on June 14, 2018 at 20:21:07
Can you still get a license on a tourist visa? I thought they discontinued that. Can I do it on an O Visa for 90 days?
Rorschach Posted on March 13, 2018 at 08:06:07
how should i contact with you if i want to apply the DL with the tourist visa??
Sylvia Posted on February 12, 2018 at 02:44:55
What will be the procedure of renewing the license (expired and has one year grace period), went to the Land Office and they gave me a list of things to do which is exactly like applying for a new driving license. Please help to advise. Thanks.
Lee Pui Wai Posted on December 18, 2017 at 23:26:39
Hi im interesting in using your service to get Thai Chiang mai driving license. Please contact me for more information in details. Many thanks
Claire Posted on October 15, 2017 at 14:48:32
If I have a work permit, do I still need a Residency Certificate?