Although international driver’s licences can be used in Thailand it is advisable for all foreigners who stay for longer than 3 months to apply for and obtain a Thai driving licence. By holding a Thai driver’s licence foreigners that do so are not usually seen as tourists by the police, they can also used in the same way as a work permit in gaining entrance to a large number of tourist attractions for the same price as Thais and not at the tourist price.
Furthermore, in the small print of many car insurance companies policies it is a condition that to be fully covered under the policy those insured for driving the vehicle hold a valid Thai driving licence.
So now you’ve checked your policy and seen that you’re not actually covered as you previously believed you need to know how to go about getting that policy validated and getting yourself a Thai driver’s licence. And for those of you who think it may well be the same kind of experience as going to extend your Visa at the immigration office, it’s not, the process is relatively simple and you will be dealing with officials who are a lot more friendly, helpful and easy going than their immigration counterparts.
To get the ball rolling, as long as you fit the following criteria you are eligible to apply for a Thai driver’s licence, if you don’t then you need to look into changing your insurance policy to one where it is not a condition to hold the Thai licence:
• You should be at least 18 years of age, in good health and of sound mind.
• As the licence is only available for non-tourist you must hold a valid Non-Immigrant Visa.
So now you know that you’re eligible to apply for a Thai licence what do you need to apply?
• A valid Passport with your valid Non-immigrant Visa
• Photocopies of the photo page of your passport, current non-immigrant visa, the last entry stamp in the passport and the immigration card, each page needs to be signed.
• Either a valid work permit or a certificate of residence from your local immigration office. The certificate cannot be older than 30 days.
• A doctor’s certificate confirming the applicant is in good health, both physically and mentally. The certificate cannot be more than 30 days old.
• 2 recent 2.5 inch photos.
• Your original driver’s license from your home country.
So now you know you’re eligible to apply for a Thai driving licence and you’ve got all your paperwork together, so know you need to know where to go and what to do:
You, along with your Thai partner or a Thai Friend, should head along to your local Department of Land Transport. The reason I say to take a Thai partner or friend is that that the application forms you need to complete are all in Thai and you will need some assistance in filling them. Once at the office follow the procedure below and you’ll have your Thai driving licence in no time:
• Obtain and fill out a1 year temporary driving licence application.
• Pass your completed form and all required documents to a representative to be checked.
• All the documents will be given back to you and you will then be required to see another representative to have the documents verified again and stamped.
• Once your documents have been stamped you will be required to visit a test area where 3 tests will be carried out; Color Blindness Test, Reflex Test and a Depth and a Perception Test.
• If you manage to pass all three tests an official will sign your documents and pass them back to you and you need to return to the area where you had your documents checked and stamped.
• You are then given a queue number, once your number is announced see the assigned official and pass them all your documents.
• The official will check all the documents one more time and you will be required to pay for your licence (105 Baht) and sit and wait.
• Your name will then be called and you will officially be the holder of a 1 year temporary driver’s licence.
Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office
Address: 42/1 Rattanakosin Song-Roy-Pee Road, Taladnua, Muang, Phuket 83000 Thailand
Tel: + (66) 076.214.930 ext. 102