Jump to content
Thai Visa Forum

Driving Without An Idp


Recommended Posts

Have a UK licence, understand that you're supposed to have an international driving permit too.

Was planning to pick one up at the airport.... but just realised that it's Sunday and it will be closed.

How likely are we to be stopped by the cops? And if we are, what would the fine or bribe be? (Would be driving a car.)

Edited by soil
Link to post
Share on other sites

I always just used my state drivers licence from USA.

Finally got my Thai drivers licence 2 years ago, but used the above for about 3 years beforehand.

Never got a fine for it. Except once because it had expired. (that's why i got the Thai one and it opens a lot of doors now that i have it)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thai law states that you should have an international driving licence to accompany your home country’s licence.

If you are stopped most Thai police can't read English but do understand what most foreigners driving licence look like and providing they can see your mug shot on the licence you might get away with it.

And here's the big BUT!!

In the event of an accident in a hired vehicle you could find yourself uninsured with not holding the right licences according to Thai law.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding how likely are you to get stopped - in my experience very likely if you are driving out in the provinces- less likely in Pattaya or Bangkok - if you are in a province bordering Cambodia or Burma expect random roadblocks - often they just wave a farang through because they dont speak English (or other Farang languages) but occasionally they will stop you and I found that they completely ignored my US driver's license and closely inspected the passport and the IDP. In Tak province I was stopped 4 times between Mae Sot and the small town to the north where we were headed (in a distance of 40Km - and I dont look like a Karen refugee). Similar experience in Sa Kaew, Surin and Si Saket. Individual results may vary.

Edited by dpgraves
Link to post
Share on other sites
Thai law states that you should have an international driving licence to accompany your home country’s licence.

If you are stopped most Thai police can't read English but do understand what most foreigners driving licence look like and providing they can see your mug shot on the licence you might get away with it.

And here's the big BUT!!

In the event of an accident in a hired vehicle you could find yourself uninsured with not holding the right licences according to Thai law.

You should have an IDP and your overseas license with a photo on it but they will except just your ODL.

I agree with nam thip you could have a problem if in involved in a accident especially if someone is hurt.

Link to post
Share on other sites
You should have an IDP and your overseas license with a photo on it but they will except just your ODL.

I agree with nam thip you could have a problem if in involved in a accident especially if someone is hurt.

disagree

there is no law requiring uk lisence to be backed by IDP in LOS. uk lisence is good as long as you are not here for more than 90 days.

after 90 days a thai lisence is required to drive legally. having an accident, lisence is sometimes compared with passport stamps.

my lisence is Scandinavian, never had a problem with accidentclaims or official police fines for 7 years. never more than 90 days between visatrips though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
disagree

there is no law requiring uk lisence to be backed by IDP in LOS. uk lisence is good as long as you are not here for more than 90 days.

after 90 days a thai lisence is required to drive legally. having an accident, lisence is sometimes compared with passport stamps.

Do you have a web source to back up that claim ??

I have always been told that your home drive license must be supported by an IDP when driving in Thailand, assuming you don't have a license from another ASEAN country. I've never heard of a 90 day 'allowance'. When I first arrived here I only had my UK license, no IDP, and after an accident the policeman would not accept my UK license. Admit that my UK license was the old style and did not have a photo.

Edit - a quick google search found this ...

"Valid Thai or International Driving Licences are accepted"

and on another site...

"An international driver's license is accepted in Thailand. A foreign license holds no weight here. If you decide to stay in Thailand you should obtain a Thai license. Some Insurance companies will put in fine print in Thai that you must be the holder of a CURRENT DRIVERS LICENSE which means a THAI DRIVERS' LICENSE not an international to claim insurance if you have an accident."

Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you have a web source to back up that claim ??

I have always been told that your home drive license must be supported by an IDP when driving in Thailand, assuming you don't have a license from another ASEAN country. I've never heard of a 90 day 'allowance'. When I first arrived here I only had my UK license, no IDP, and after an accident the policeman would not accept my UK license. Admit that my UK license was the old style and did not have a photo.

Edit - a quick google search found this ...

"Valid Thai or International Driving Licences are accepted"

and on another site...

"An international driver's license is accepted in Thailand. A foreign license holds no weight here. If you decide to stay in Thailand you should obtain a Thai license. Some Insurance companies will put in fine print in Thai that you must be the holder of a CURRENT DRIVERS LICENSE which means a THAI DRIVERS' LICENSE not an international to claim insurance if you have an accident."

Time to get a Thai drivers license............

So as to not waste a whole day, can any members tell me exactly what I need to take to the Department of Motor Vehicles (pictures, documents, etc.) and also where the building is in Phuket Town? Is it near Immigration or the Labor Department building?

Thanks in advance.

Cheers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
disagree

there is no law requiring uk lisence to be backed by IDP in LOS. uk lisence is good as long as you are not here for more than 90 days.

after 90 days a thai lisence is required to drive legally. having an accident, lisence is sometimes compared with passport stamps.

Do you have a web source to back up that claim ??

I have always been told that your home drive license must be supported by an IDP when driving in Thailand, assuming you don't have a license from another ASEAN country. I've never heard of a 90 day 'allowance'. When I first arrived here I only had my UK license, no IDP, and after an accident the policeman would not accept my UK license. Admit that my UK license was the old style and did not have a photo.

Edit - a quick google search found this ...

"Valid Thai or International Driving Licences are accepted"

and on another site...

"An international driver's license is accepted in Thailand. A foreign license holds no weight here. If you decide to stay in Thailand you should obtain a Thai license. Some Insurance companies will put in fine print in Thai that you must be the holder of a CURRENT DRIVERS LICENSE which means a THAI DRIVERS' LICENSE not an international to claim insurance if you have an accident."

sorry not very good at posting websources. perhaps Scubabudda will post it later. was actually a long thread here about it some months ago.

you are allowed to drive in thailand on a list of countries DL in English language, within the permit to stay provided by 30day entrystamp or touristvisa, which is max 60+30= 90 days

I can see why your DL lisence not having photo was not accepted, and perhaps this was also while IDP was required in combo with DL?

Obtaining Thai lisence is usually not permitted by most LTD if your permit to stay is shorter than 90 days, IOW not on touristvisa.

Claimed some accidents on my DL, compared with passport stamps some times, never a problem. different insurance companies, and fined in different policedistricts.

Edited by katabeachbum
Link to post
Share on other sites
Time to get a Thai drivers license............

So as to not waste a whole day, can any members tell me exactly what I need to take to the Department of Motor Vehicles (pictures, documents, etc.) and also where the building is in Phuket Town? Is it near Immigration or the Labor Department building?

Thanks in advance.

Cheers.

Been quite a few topics in the past. Quick search ...

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/Driving-Test...driving+license

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?au...&CODE=mod#X

Link to post
Share on other sites

The police don't care if you have a IDP or not, they also don't really care if you have a driving license as long as you can produce something which looks like one.

You might get in trouble if you have an accident, but even that is not for certain as sometimes they don't even check. You would most likely have problems if trying to claim off insurance.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The police don't care if you have a IDP or not, they also don't really care if you have a driving license as long as you can produce something which looks like one.

That has not been my experience !! UK license only not accepted. Although I have heard plenty of people saying they had no problem showing home license at police check. I guess it just depends on the mood of the policeman and whether he has made his 'fine quota' for the month ... :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

90% of the time, on the ground, a home country license (hopefully photocard) is accepted.

I am not sure I agree that an IDP is not needed.. I understand an ASEAN license is accepted (so Aussies are OK) but I dont think its any and all.. I was told by an insurance company it was Thai or IDP, I have read multiple times that an IDP is required, and also infur this from the way that they accept an IDP to convert to Thai but refuse a home country license alone (usually)..

But its Thailand.. Theres not 'rules' as much as guidelines. Until it goes wrong.

Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.phuketgazette.net/issuesanswers...ails.asp?id=798

Are Malaysian driving licences valid in Phuket?

I currently hold a Malaysian driving licence and I would like to drive in Phuket. Can I drive in Phuket with my Malaysian licence? Or will I need an international driving licence?

Victor, Malaysia. Wednesday, March 30, 2005

“There is an agreement that allows people from the Asean countries – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – to use their home country licenses in the other member-countries.

In this case the driver should get a English translation of his Malaysian driving licence from his local transportation office. This will enable him to drive legally in any Asean country.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 Teerayuth Prasertphol, Chief Technical Officer of Phuket Provincial Transportation Office (PPTO),

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty definitive !!

http://www.phuketgazette.net/issuesanswers...ails.asp?id=162

Driving into Thailand

My Thai wife and I often drive to Thailand in a car registered in Malaysia. Is she allowed to drive a car with foreign plates in Thailand? She has an international driving license that was issued in the US.

Frank Van hanegem, Kuala Lumpur. Thursday, April 12, 2001

To drive legally in Thailand you must have either an international driving license or a Thai driving license. To bring your car into Thailand, you must first prove to Malaysian Immigration that you own the car. They will then give you a permit that will allow you to take the car out of Malaysia. This permit must be shown to the Thai immigration officer when you enter Thailand.”

Thursday, April 12, 2001 Alisara Aumlaor, Phuket Provincial Transportation Office.

Amusingly enough tho, that directly contradicts the info above about ASEAN drivers because shes a Malay..

Link to post
Share on other sites
90% of the time, on the ground, a home country license (hopefully photocard) is accepted.

I am not sure I agree that an IDP is not needed.. I understand an ASEAN license is accepted (so Aussies are OK) but I dont think its any and all.. I was told by an insurance company it was Thai or IDP, I have read multiple times that an IDP is required, and also infur this from the way that they accept an IDP to convert to Thai but refuse a home country license alone (usually)..

But its Thailand.. Theres not 'rules' as much as guidelines. Until it goes wrong.

Australia is not an ASEAN country, as far as I know ... :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
90% of the time, on the ground, a home country license (hopefully photocard) is accepted.

I am not sure I agree that an IDP is not needed.. I understand an ASEAN license is accepted (so Aussies are OK) but I dont think its any and all.. I was told by an insurance company it was Thai or IDP, I have read multiple times that an IDP is required, and also infur this from the way that they accept an IDP to convert to Thai but refuse a home country license alone (usually)..

But its Thailand.. Theres not 'rules' as much as guidelines. Until it goes wrong.

Australia is not an ASEAN country, as far as I know ... :)

Australia is not an ASEAN country. Australia and LOS has an individual agreement on regulations and trade, but cant recall the name now. However OZ DL goes in the same bunch as US, EU, UK and something like 70-80 nations.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Australia is not an ASEAN country, as far as I know ... :)

OK wrong again..

I got that idea from the 3 month biz card they can get, but your right its an APEC card not an asean card.

Link to post
Share on other sites
90% of the time, on the ground, a home country license (hopefully photocard) is accepted.

I am not sure I agree that an IDP is not needed.. I understand an ASEAN license is accepted (so Aussies are OK) but I dont think its any and all.. I was told by an insurance company it was Thai or IDP, I have read multiple times that an IDP is required, and also infur this from the way that they accept an IDP to convert to Thai but refuse a home country license alone (usually)..

But its Thailand.. Theres not 'rules' as much as guidelines. Until it goes wrong.

Australia is not an ASEAN country, as far as I know ... :)

You are correct, official advice in Australia is you must have an IDP if you want to drive in Thailand as a tourist.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 years in Thailand. Through 100's of police checks. Never a problem showing my British licence. Never had an accident though.

7 years. My TGF lost her thai DL frequently, so all her accidents and mine where all claimed from different insurancecompanies on my Scandinavian lisence.

Like 20 times at some hundred thousands baht over the years. Never had an IDP.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok...lots going on here....I'll do my best to sort this all out. Information concerning IDP's is very confusing. It's not cut and dry as some would like to think. There are different requirements depending on what country you are coming from and going to, and different requirements whether you are a resident or a visitor to that country. There is a lot of bad information out there often spread by people trying to get other people to buy a scam IDP/IDL.

I will also preface this with the following: You will find an exception to every law, experience, rule, and guideline quoted here. This is Thailand and every province, cop, insurance carrier, and day of the week is different from the next.

OP: (That's you, soil) Unless there is an automobile association office at the airport, you will not be able to get a real IDP there. I am curious what you mean by "it" when you say "it" will be closed. What is "it" exactly? Are you talking about a Thai airport or UK?

First, a bit on legal vs. illegal IDP's:

In most if not all western countries, including the states, the UK, Canada and Austrailia, ligitimate IDP's are only legally issued by automobile associations. There are lots of illegitimate/scam IDP's for sale out there. See the banner ad in this thread which says "International Drivers Document" for an example of an illegitimate IDP. Having said that, most police don't know or care if it is a legitimate or illegitimate IDP, and there is apparently no law preventing unscrupulous people from selling them as long as long as they are careful about the wording in the descriptions. Despite their illegitimacy, in practice these IDP's often end up working just fine for the users because your average cop/insurance person/rental car employee doesn't know that much about UN Conventions on Road Traffic. So why not get an illigitimate IDP then? Because these illegitimate IDP's cost several times more than the legitimate ones, thus making them a scam really. Why pay 3 to 10x more for something that may get rejected when it is discovered as fraudulent later on?

And in case the OP or others aren't aware, an IDP is simply a translation of your resident country's valid drivers license into several languages as agreed to by most counties through various UN Conventions. An IDP must be kept with your UK license and presented with it when requested by police. It is still the UK license that allows you to drive legally in a foreign country. An IDP is a paper booklet shaped more like a passport than an ID card. Any business offering you a pretty shiny ID card with your picture on it along with your IDP is trying to sell you a fraudulent IDP.

LivinginKata:

Your home DL was denied because it had no picture. This is covered in the UN Conventions. And DL's have had pictures for 30-40 years. Are you really using an account from 30-40 years ago as somehow relevent today? When did you first come to Thailand?

Also, LivinginKata, there are lots of problems with the quotes you provided:

Firstly, your quoted text containing the statement: "An international driver's license is accepted in Thailand. A foreign license holds no weight here." is from here: http://www.asiatradingonline.com/thaidriving.htm. I have dealt with asiatradingonline before. The information contained there should be considered dubious at best. I had a very bad experience buying from them and have since found others that did as well. Information from that site should be taken with a grain of salt. Notice that the line above states they used to provide a link to what turned out to be a bogus IDP company. Kudos for them taking down the link, but realize that that page was originally written to get people to follow the link. It's not clear if those phone numbers in the same paragraph are for getting an IDP for you Thai license or what. The information on that page is vague, contradictory not credible. They use the term "international drivers license" numerous times, which makes no sense as their is no such thing. I think they are referring to the "international drivers permit" but I am not sure.

Now, after what I just wrote about there being no such thing as IDL's, this next bit might seem contradictory, but it's not.

Whoever wrote that line, "An international driver's license is accepted in Thailand. A foreign license holds no weight here." probably didn't understand that they were contradicting themselves. What most people don't realize, and what the illegitimate IDP touts don't want you to know is that because our UK, American, Canadian, Austrailian etc, etc drivers license's are already in English and contain a photo, they are already considered international drivers licenses i.e. no IDP is needed in most cases. That is why the cops always accept them with no IDP. And this is what is meant by "International Drivers Licenses are accepted." This makes sense because if your DL is already in English and already has a photo of you, why on earth would you need a translation document (the IDP) translating into 10 languages, non of which are Thai?

The second line: "A foreign license holds no weight here." may be true, if they are referring to residents not visitors. Although, when I got my Thai DL, I had a current California DL valid for both car (class "C") and motorbike (class "M"). I was asked to bring in a printout of the California DMV website page which describes what is class C and class M. That way I didn't have to sit for the written test or take the driving test. I would hardly consider that "no weight."

As a side note, Thailand does not differentiation between a 125cc motorbike and a 1400cc big bike.

Katabeachbum: You are right about the 90 days, however, the 90 days in which visitors can drive on their home country license is not technically reset by a visa run. I saw that in another forum as well. The clock starts when you enter the first time. I know cops aren't enforcing that way. Anyway, technically (by law) we are residents so we now need a Thai license even if on a tourist visa. If the police determine you are a resident, and still using your home license even if you have an IDP, they could technically give you a ticket.

As far as needing an IDP or Thai license for insurance claims, I think the jury is still out on that one. It may depend on the company. There are accounts from both sides. I submit testimony of Thaivisa member Bubba:

My insurance policy has a clause that states that only a "valid drivers license" is required for the class of vehicle insured. After inquiring, I got it in writing that this includes foreign licenses. And just to verify that whilst driving on a foreign license, my car was smashed by an uninsured pickup with my repair bill being 24,000 baht. My insurance company sent their adjuster out, he made out a report, and I was compensated fully.

The police officer taking the report didn't have a problem with my lack of a Thai license either.

In terms of how DL's are dealt with in practice, I echo the others experiences. I first came here in 2001 and never bothered getting a Thai DL until last year. I have been through lots of police checkpoints, gotten a ticket for no helmet, and my valid California DL with no IDP was accepted each time without question. I have rented bikes, cars, and purchased, but thankfully never had to use 1st class 3rd party insurance and a Thai DL or IDP was never asked for.

Here is another scam IDP company local to us here in Phuket. Not sure how this company stays in business. I guess there are enough suckers out there.

http://phuketdir.com/intlicense/

Summery:

Do you need an IDP in Thailand?

For driving or renting cars or motorbikes:

Technically: Yes and No. Technically you can drive on your home country's valid license until your tourist visa or 30 day entry stamp expires or until you establish residency, whichever comes first. Having an IDP does not change anything with respect to the 90 days. However, it should be noted that there is the occasional report of a Thai police officer asking for an international license or permit. If it is clear to the cop that the foreigner is a resident and does not yet have a Thai license, you may be in trouble. If the foreigner is on a tourist visa, I believe this to be an attempt by the cop to collect tea money, or the cop is stupid. Likely both.

In Practice: No you do not need an IDP in Thailand, but having it doesn't hurt. Police almost always accept the foreign license alone (and sometimes Blockbuster Video cards) with seemingly no time limit.

For insurance claims in event of accident:

It depends. Check with your provider. It's possible and IDP is needed but it is equaly posible that a Thai DL is needed. There does seem to be some evidence through hearsay that an IDP is needed, but I have never been asked to show proof of any license when getting car insurance, and others have reported being in accidents while on a foreign license with no IDP and it made no difference.

If you have the time and you want a little more peace of mind, go ahead and get a legitimate IDP at home if you want . You'll probably never use it in Thailand. If you plan on staying long in Thailand, get a Thai DL. It has many other valuable uses besides a DL.

Since we keep getting the same questions here, I will try to provide some more concrete sources of information as to the actual laws. As I said the English section of both the RTP and the LTD are down. I think we are all pretty clear now how it works in practice, or "on the ground" as LivinLos said, but it would be nice to know have a concrete source of the actual law.

Edited by ScubaBuddha
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just bite at bits of it..

OP: (That's you, soil) Unless there is an automobile association office at the airport, you will not be able to get a real IDP there. I am curious what you mean by "it" when you say "it" will be closed. What is "it" exactly? Are you talking about a Thai airport or UK?

As he said UK Assume departing UK with a UK license.

In the UK the RAC and AA have booths in ferry terminals and airports to process / sell them on the spot.

Can you get to a UK post office today ?? They process them on the spot in main town post offices.

Link to post
Share on other sites
LivinginKata:

Your home DL was denied because it had no picture. This is covered in the UN Conventions. And DL's have had pictures for 30-40 years. Are you really using an account from 30-40 years ago as somehow relevent today? When did you first come to Thailand?

Nope, I only got a photocard license from the UK a few years back.. Until then I had the old style paper one without picture.

In general I agree with your points, but you do export USA rules and situations and apply them globally when its not always that way.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now, after what I just wrote about there being no such thing as IDL's, this next bit might seem contradictory, but it's not.

Whoever wrote that line, "An international driver's license is accepted in Thailand. A foreign license holds no weight here." probably didn't understand that they were contradicting themselves. What most people don't realize, and what the illegitimate IDP touts don't want you to know is that because our UK, American, Canadian, Austrailian etc, etc drivers license's are already in English and contain a photo, they are already considered international drivers licenses i.e. no IDP is needed in most cases. That is why the cops always accept them with no IDP. And this is what is meant by "International Drivers Licenses are accepted." This makes sense because if your DL is already in English and already has a photo of you, why on earth would you need a translation document (the IDP) translating into 10 languages, non of which are Thai?

The second line: "A foreign license holds no weight here." may be true, if they are referring to residents not visitors. Although, when I got my Thai DL, I had a current California DL valid for both car (class "C") and motorbike (class "M"). I was asked to bring in a printout of the California DMV website page which describes what is class C and class M. That way I didn't have to sit for the written test or take the driving test. I would hardly consider that "no weight."

That may be the facts in the USA or the UK.. I have been told multiple times thats not the facts here and I find it hard to see any wiggle room in the statement from Alisara Aumlaor, Phuket Provincial Transportation Office who states "To drive legally in Thailand you must have either an international driving license or a Thai driving license" Thats from the horses mouth !!

A secondary issue you havent discussed in 'legality' is insurance.. To drive legally you must be insured.. So then the question of is the insurance valid without an IDP ?? I have had different insurance companys say both yes and no, try getting them to put it in writing tho !!

Again, in general we agree, but I think your exporting the US rules on IDP's to Thailand, and I dont think they fit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess we all agree the reality is very different from the actual law.

I also believe Scuba's statement that english language dl's are the same as IDP is not correct. And by correct i mean by the Thai law they are not the same as IDP as defined in UN conventions. In many places the Thai law is quoted the same as most countries around the world, and probably this is due the same UN conventions that Thailand has ratified as well as other countries. But usually the quote is the common one. You are able to drive with your home country licence backed up by IDP. If you are residing or stay over 90 days or 180 days or whatever you need local thai dl regardless on how many visa runs you do in the meantime.

So far this is all hearsay, including above, until someone provides copy of the law. Maybe some of the excellent legal companies sponsoring the forum could check this out and clear this for good ?

Link to post
Share on other sites
I also believe Scuba's statement that english language dl's are the same as IDP is not correct.

One thing that anecdotally backs that up is.. I dont have a full UK bike license, but my UK issued IDP covers me for motorcycles (with certain restrictions). So the statement that an IDP is exactly equal to a translation of my license is not factual.

So far this is all hearsay, including above, until someone provides copy of the law.

Again so the word of the transport office isnt enough ??

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...