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Thai Driving Licence - use in UK


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Dear All,

 

I emailed my local car hire firm in the UK enquiring if my full Thai driving licence was sufficient to hire a car when I visit England.

 

 I have just received their reply - they CANNOT rent me a car as the insurance company will not accept a Thai licence.  I am 70 years old and was considering letting my UK licence lapse and using my Thai one on visits to England but that is now not possible. 

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I rent a van  through a local storage company in the UK.  I have an account with them that I presume helps. I believe they are more interested in the credit card than my licence. They accept my wife's Thai DL.  

 

When I've rented through Eurocar they need your licence to complete a check on your record of 'misdemeanors'.   I have also come across companies that have a 65 year old cut off age limit.

 

You are legally entitled to drive on a Thai licence in the UK.  The absolute nonsense is that after driving for 1 year in the UK, you then have to take a test.

 

Try a few different companies and tell them you have a Chase Saphire Preferred no limit card.

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I always use my Thai license in the UK when i hire not had any issues last 10 years. They must have it wrong as Thai tourists would need to use their licenses when they visit.

 

 

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I've used Avis in the UK many times with my Thai license but if you still have a valid UK address you ought to be able to renew your licence online pretty easily.  Over 70 you have to do it every 3 years.

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16 minutes ago, wobblyjohn said:

I think if you only have a Thai license you will need to get an international driving permit 

 

My wife just said the same. That's what she did - she has a U.K. one now. 

 

I renewed my UK one - 10 yr (whilst in the UK) a couple of months ago and it took about a week to get a new one from submission to receipt.

 

You can do it all online - you obv' need a UK address for the D.L. and Royal Mail delivery.

Edited by Pmbkk
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The reason I would think an IDP would be required/helpful is a Thai driving license is written in Thai - and as most Europeans don't read Thai & thus wouldn't know what your "license" is/would cover without it e.g. vehicle type, type of license.

 

If you just turn up with a Thai license I think you may well encounter problems at a rental firm(unless it's Honest John's down the back alley). IDPs are not expensive so would be helpful at a minimum.

 

 

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Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

 

When the time comes for my next visit I will contact more hire companies.  The UK has currently extended licences which expired last year for 11 months but I cannot envisage going back to the UK until at least well into the autumn.

 

Once again - thank you for your input.

 

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4 hours ago, wobblyjohn said:

I'm sure you need to be UK resident to hold a UK license 

Not necessarily. As long as you are a UK citizen with the right of abode there, you can keep your license. However, the address on the license must be somewhere at which you can be contacted. If that is not the case then you  would be committing an offence to use that license.

 

I was frequently in that situation when I was working abroad which is why I always used my 'host country' license when I visited the UK.

 

Edited by Moonlover
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Several of the posts above are giving incorrect or misleading information. I have always used my full Thai Driving License to hire a car whenever I visit the UK. I have never been asked for an International Driving Permit. The Thai Driving License has your name and date of birth in English on it, plus your photo, which is all they need. As long as you have a valid credit / debit card to make payment (which may include a deposit) any decent car hire company will accept your business. If one company refuses, simply try another one. There are thousands of tourists renting cars daily in the UK (pre Covid) they all use driving licenses from their country of origin and obviously would not have UK licenses.

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I have used Thai driving licence with Thrifty and Europcar with no issues. Easier than using UK driving licence as  no need to provide utility bills as proof of UK address. In fact i no longer have UK address and UK licence expired so need to use Thai licence. 

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Quite simply use the gov.uk to check your status 

https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence  accordingly I found 

 

Driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence

You can drive any type of small vehicle (for example cars or motorcycles) listed on your full and valid licence for 12 months from when you last entered Great Britain (GB)

If you’ve got a bus or lorry licence you can only drive buses or lorries that are registered outside Great Britain if you’ve actually driven the vehicle into Great Britain yourself.

 

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I've used my Thai licence many times in the UK.

Only once was I refused by an ignorant National Car sales guy.

I just walked to the next booth.

The simple answer is to get the Thai international driving license.

It looks very similar to the British one you get in the post office, and as far as I'm aware cannot be refused.

My only other concern is your age when renting a car. Different companies may have different things to say about that.

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I think there are a few people who think they can nominate which license they are driving on, UK or Thai.

If you have a UK licence in your pocket, that's the licence you are driving on. You can only use a Thai license if you don't have a UK license.

 

Edited by Peterw42
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I have used my Thai driving licence on many occasions to hire cars in the UK, from a number of different firms. I was asked once for an IDP and once for my passport, but never refused a hire. The age limit is up to 79, past that and you will be refused due to insurance limitations. My last UK car hire was July 2019 Eurocar via a company called Keddy. Collected at and returned to Heathrow.

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I have used my Thai licence many time in England, Last time about 3 years ago I was 77 years old and had no problem hireing.

 

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20 hours ago, Upnotover said:

I've used Avis in the UK many times with my Thai license but if you still have a valid UK address you ought to be able to renew your licence online pretty easily.  Over 70 you have to do it every 3 years.

Just done it

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18 hours ago, Pmbkk said:

 

The reason I would think an IDP would be required/helpful is a Thai driving license is written in Thai - and as most Europeans don't read Thai & thus wouldn't know what your "license" is/would cover without it e.g. vehicle type, type of license.

 

If you just turn up with a Thai license I think you may well encounter problems at a rental firm(unless it's Honest John's down the back alley). IDPs are not expensive so would be helpful at a minimum.

 

 

If you actually have a Thai Drivers Licence I would suggest that you have another look at both the front and back

All the relevant information is in both Thai and English

On the back  mine shows a picture of a car, pickup and mini bus.

It is pretty much the same as my Australia Licence which apart from being in English defines the vehicles I can drive rather than showing a picture.

 

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The test you have to go through to gain a full Thai driving licence, compared to the equivalent UK licence.

The test and therefore the quality of driver is not the same.

You may be an excellent driver but they have to take it on the average Thai licence holder.

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