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How to Obtain a Thai Driving License

How to Obtain a Thai Driving License

by Jeremie Schatz,
7 June 2022

Phuket draws a wide variety of characters, each one with a different situation. Some come for chunks of time here and there, others spend half the year here (often during their winter), while there are those who dedicate themselves to Phuket full time. One common denominator amongst the vast majority is the necessity to drive, for there are very few who can get by without a motor vehicle. And if you’re going to jump behind the wheel, or handlebars, you’ll need a Thai driving license and probably sooner than later.


Driving License Cr: promotions.co.th

First of all, the law requires drivers to obtain a Thai driver’s license after residing in the country for more than 60 days. It is perhaps the most well-known shakedown in the country – police checkpoints that often only stop foreigners and fine them for driving without a valid license and/or not wearing a helmet. While it’s widely promoted that foreigners must have an international driving permit (IDP) to present with their home country’s license, this isn’t actually true. An IDP’s purpose is show the information of a driver’s license in English should the original license not display. Contrary to popular belief, a valid car or motorcycle license from most countries is technically legal to use in Thailand. Police may try to argue this fact, but that is because they want your money. Also, many people fail to realize that, as is likely the case in their home country, a car license and a motorcycle license are not the same thing and the same is true in Thailand.


So it’s time to get a Thai license, and it’s important to keep in mind that it’s far easier to do this while the license from your home country is still valid. If it’s expired then you have to go through the entire process of taking the written test, waiting, driving test, waiting, paperwork, and more and more waiting. 

Here’s what you’ll need to prepare in order to obtain a Thai driving license:

  • A copy of the first page of your passport

  • A copy of your current valid visa in your passport

  • A copy of your most recent entry stamp in your passport

  • A copy of your departure card in your passport

  • A residence certificate from immigration issued within 30 days (A4-sized document)

  • A health certificate obtained from a clinic within the past 30 days

  • Book an appointment at the Phuket Land Transport Office

    • It may be possible to call to make an appointment, however they may want to check your paperwork in person before confirming your appointment

While there are mixed accounts floating around there, it seems that you are only eligible for a two year temporary license unless you have a non-immigrant visa, in which case you can get a license that is valid for five years.

 

Driving test Cr: viewdriverch.com

If you don’t have a valid license in your home country, don’t stress as the driving portion of the test is pretty straight forward. For a car license you have to drive around a small course and perform some basic maneuvers like parallel parking, using turn signals, etc. The motorbike test is similar except you have to ride along a narrow, raised concrete beam to show you have some semblance of balance. The written portion of the test has an english version and you can search online and find the answers and simply memorize them. 

There are many agents who you can hire that can assist to varying degrees. If you plan on traveling out of Phuket, you can take the test in another province where you may not need to make an appointment and wait as few other land transport offices are as busy as the Phuket branch.