Jump to content
BANGKOK
Sign in to follow this  
BlissfullyIgnorant

Getting A Thai Drivers License In Chiangmai

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I've just recently got a Thai driver's license in Chiangmai, and given the fact that most of the information online is outdated, incomplete, Bangok specific, or just plain wrong, I thought I'd post here with up-to-date information.

Who Can Apply

1. Any foreigner with a non-immigrant visa.

2. Foreigners with Tourist visas (TR category only - NOT a visa on arrival) can apply *only* if they have a current driver's license from another country.

What You Need

1. Photocopies of:

* Your passport photo page

* The passport page with your Non-Immigrant or TR visa

* The passport page with your most recent entry stamp

* Your most recent departure card (usually on the same page as the last entry stamp)

2. Medical Certificate

This can be done at almost any medical center, but seeing as you're going to immigration in step 3, you can just do it in around 10-15 minutes at Chiangmai Ram 1 hospital (near Kad Suan Kaew at the N-W corner of the moat), at the clinic on the 4th floor. Cost is 50 baht, and the doctor will ask if you have any diseases, check you over with a stethescope, take your blood pressure, and ask for your current weight and height.

3. Certificate of Residence

You can get this at your embassy or consulate, but it's just as easy to get it from Chiangmai Immigration on the road to the airport. It will take around 30-45 minutes, and the cost is 300 Baht. You will need to fill in a basic form stating your name, Thai address, nationality, and date of birth. Note that you must know the tambon, and amphur where you live, as well as the street address. You must have two passport photos and a photocopy of your passport's photo page.

There is a small hut towards the back of immigration that can do the photocopying and make the passport photos for around 100 Baht if you need it. Note that the building your are going to is the one on your immediate LEFT as you enter the CM Immigration grounds. This building is only open Mon-Fri, and is closed between 12:00 and 13:00 for lunch.

NOTE: You will need both the original residence certificate *PLUS* a photocopy of it.

4. License photos

You need two, 1" wide photos for your license - note that the size is critical, and is NOT the same as a passport or visa photo. There is a shop on Hang Dong Road, directly opposite the Exit of Land Transport that can make the required photos for you for 80 Baht. They also have photocopying available of you need to photocopy your passport or residence certificate. They seem to open around 8:30 AM.

How long will it take?

If you already have a current license from another country, you'll be done around 9:30 - 10:30, of you have to complete the tests you'll be out around 13:00 - 14:00

How to Get Your License

Go to the Department of Land Transport situated on Hand Dong Rd, about 3 KM past Tesco Lotus on the left side (travelling away from CM). The department officially opens at 8:30 AM, but there are staff on duty to give you the application form from around 8:00 AM in the morning.

Get there between 8:00AM and 8:30AM to avoid long queues!

The license section is located on the 2nd floor - after entering the building go up the staircase on your left, and you will see a desk in the middle of the room signed "Information" in English. The lady there will check over your required documentation and photos, then give you the application form.

If you cannot read Thai, you will absolutely need a translator with you! The application forms are not available in English.

Fill in the application form and hand it over to counter #24 on the 2nd floor. The staff there will check your application, passport and residence certificate, and if all in order will intruct you to wait at the counter directly opposite (which has a testing room behind it).

STEP ONE - Vision And Reaction Testing (everyone must complete)

After about 8-12 people are waiting for testing, you will be called up as a group. There are four tests you need to complete at this stage:

1. Colour blindness test

For this test you will stand about 4-5M away from a white sign that has a number of coloured circles on it (red, green, and yellow). The circles range from about 1CM to 4CM in diameter. The instructor will point to three different circles and you must call out the colour for each. Speaking English is fine.

2. Reaction test

For this test you sit in a plastic chair, and have a plastic moulded accelarator and brake pedal sitting on the floor in front of you. About 4M in front is a "test center" box with a big green and red light on it. You depress AND hold the accelerator down (at which point the green light illuminates) - after a few seconds (7-10) the RED light will illuminate - you must jump on the brake pedal within 0.75 seconds to pass. It doesn't sound like much time, but I did it in 0.4 seconds on my first attempt.

NOTE: when I did my test, there were 3 chairs and pedal boxes. The 3rd pedal box had a sticky accelerator which meant you had to apply about 10KG of pressure to make it work.

3. Three dimensional vision test

This test is a little difficult to visualise with words, but I'll try my best.

You once again sit in the same plastic chair as for the reaction test, and look into a small opening in the "test center" box about 4M away. At the top of the "test center" there is a cutout about 20CM wide x 10CM high - when you look through this there are two white poles (about 1CM diameter), oriented vertically - one on the left, on on the right. The right pole is stationary, but the left pole can slide back and forth on a rail, and is spring loaded to pull it towards the rear. There are two strings coming out of the test center to your chair, and you are expected to pull them in such a way as to make the two white poles align. You must get the two poles withing 1 inch of each other in order to pass. (A photo would work much better here!)

4. Peripheral vision test

For this test you move around to the back of the "test center" and sit down with your nose in the provided "notch". Once in this position, you will be able to see a small light on both the extreme left and right side of your head. The instructor will light up each side once or twice each, each time with a different colour (red, green or yellow) - as he lights them you are expected to call out the colour (once again English is fine). You are also expected to keep your gaze straight ahead during this, but non-one does! - everyone looks to the left or right accordingly.

After you have completed the these tests, there's two ways to go:

1. If you have a current drivers license for another country, skip forward to STEP FIVE.

2. If you do not have a current drivers license from another country, you will need to complete the driver safety instruction, written test, and practical driving test. Keep reading..

STEP TWO - Safety Instruction

You will be directed (along with the others in your group) to proceed to one of the bigger testing rooms towards to rear of the building. You will be waiting up to an hour before the room opens. Immediately outside the room there are posters which display every question and answer in the test question pool (about 200) but it's only in Thai. Expect to see every Thai person trying to memorise the lot :)

Once the room opens, you must give all of your documentation and your passport to the girls at the main desk, you will then be instructed to sit at one of the 6 computers in the corner of the room, while the Thai's all sit at classroom style desks. Thai people sit through a presentation about 1 hour long with an actual instructor using slides on an overhead projector, but foreigners instead watch a 40 minute VCD video at the computer using headphones. The VCD is actually quite professionally produced, and features a native English speaker doing the narration. Even though foreigners will finish the presention well ahead of the Thai's you will still have to wait for the Thai's to finish before you can be tested. Good time to check out the hotties in the room, if you're so inclined :)

STEP THREE - Written Test

The written test is in English and is "Thaiglish" free, surprisingly. It's a 30 question, multiple choice type test with one "most correct" answer for each question. 22 correct answers scores a pass, but I've heard rumors that 2000 Baht will score a pass as well, if your really THAT stupid. I noted about 7 different test variations on the day I went.

The key with the written test is to choose the "most correct" answer, for example:

Which one of the following is true?

A. You cannot drive a car with a broken tail light.

B. You cannot drive a car with a broken windscreen.

C. You cannot drive a car with a flat tyre.

D. You cannot drive a car without a tax disc.

If you didn't choose the fourth option, I guess you'd better front up with 2000 Baht and a Thai negotiator :)

After completing the test, hand it in to the girls at the main desk and sit back down. The tests are marked while you're in the room, and you'll get your result back in about 10-15 minutes. If you pass you'll get your paperwork bundle back, if not they'll hang onto it and tell you to come back at 13:00 and try again.

Assuming you passed, keep reading..

STEP FOUR - The practical driving test

Bring your own vehicle for this!

Contrary to popular rumours, there are no vehicles for hire at the land transport office, it's strictly BYO.

The driving test is performed on a specialised circuit inside the department grounds, and takes around 2-5 minutes to complete. The only traffic you will encounter is others also doing the test, and it's a very good idea to stay well clear of them, seriously. They suck beyond your worst experience here.

There is a slight variation between the test for manual (tammadah) and automatic cars. The test officials do not sit in the car with you, rather they stand on the sidelines to watch your progress. Note that you must not have any passengers in the car with you, but it's quite OK to have a "coach" directing you from the sidelines.

1. Hill Start (Manual vehicles only)

You will be directed to head to a humpbacked bridge, where you must stop completely, then set off again without rolling backwards.

The following tests must be completed by everyone:

2. Demonstrate an ability to drive straight both forwards and backwards.

For this test there are two lines of poles arranged in straight lines (about 10M long). You must drive forwards through them, and then reverse back through them without hitting any of the poles.

3. Reverse Parallel Parking.

For this test you have 2 poles indicating the vehicle in front, and two poles indicating the vehicle behind. You must drive beyond the "front" vehicle, then reverse and parallel park between the two sets of poles. Under Thai law, your vehicle must be within 25CM of the kerb, and there is a red line painted on the road to indicate this. However, the red line seems to actually only be about 18-20CM wide, by my estimation.

Notes for this test:

* There are two strategically placed poles on your RIGHT side for this test, Don't hit them!

* You are allowed to "adjust" your parking position up to SEVEN times (!!!), in order to get your vehicle the required 25CM (20CM?) from the kerb.

* The parking "bay" provided is actually quite long, there's enough space to park a 3 tonne truck in there, so don't rush into your initial 45 degree turn - play it safe (in respect to the poles on your right) and reverse straight back a little further than you normally might.

4. Distance and vehicle width judgement.

For this last test there are two red lines painted across the road (about 80-90CM apart), and a thick red line painted along the kerbside. You must stop your vehicle so that the front wheels are situated between to two red lines, and so that both the left hand side wheels are on the thick red line. Easiest test of an easy test..

Once again, if you can't pass this incredibly simple driving test, rumour has it 500 Baht will do the trick.

After you've completed the pratical driving test, head back to the main building and up the 2nd floor.

STEP FIVE - Pay the fee

Go to counter #24 again with your passport, documentation (and drivers license if you have skipped to this step). Here they will check over everything again, ask you for the 105 Baht fee, give you a receipt, and direct you to go back the the "Information" counter to get a number.

STEP SIX - Submit your papers

When your number is called, proceed to the relevant counter (normally 22, 23 or 24) and give them all of your documentation and the receipt for the license fee.

STEP SEVEN - Get your license!

Move up to the vicitinty of counter #20 and wait for your name to be called. This usually takes 20-40 minutes, and as always expect them to refer to you by your (mispronounced) first and middle name.

When called up, check that they have spelt your full name correctly, and (if you can read Thai) ensure that your address details are correct. Next you sign the back of the license, and are asked of you'd like to pay an additional 10 Baht for laminating (IMHO a very good idea). Give them 10 Baht and remain standing at the counter while they laminate it for you (takes only a few moments).

That's it, you've now got a 1 year Thai drivers license, just be mindful to hold it by the edges until it cools down from the laminating process!

Copyright © 2005 BlissfullyIgnorant. All Rights Reserved. This text must not be reproduced in part or in whole without written consent. The information in this text is provided without warranty of any kind, and is not fit for any purpose, whatsoever. Read and use at your own risk.

Edited by BlissfullyIgnorant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, read it all.......

Question? You say if you have a license from another country, I can skip steps 2-4, now when you say "Another Country" are we talking a Western Country?

I haven't had a USA license in 20 years, but have had licenses from countries that I am working, like right now Afghanistan. Would this suffice?

Great thread by the way...... been looking for this information for years, I had decided to go to Buriram and just pay off the system, but this might just save me the drive!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Question? You say if you have a license from another country, I can skip steps 2-4, now when you say "Another Country" are we talking a Western Country?

AFAIK the only requirement is that the license is current, and in English. If not English, a certified translation may suffice, but at the end of the day the tests are all extemely simple for a competent driver, so there's no reason not to just do them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who Can Apply

1. Any foreigner with a non-immigrant visa.

2. Foreigners with Tourist visas (TR category only - NOT a visa on arrival) can apply *only* if they have a current driver's license from another country.

Can you provide a link, Thai or English where it states that a tourist can obtain a licence? This has never been the case in the past, and Thai legislation takes years to enact. I was only at the Dept of Lands and Transport the other day, and saw no mention of this. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you provide a link, Thai or English where it states that a tourist can obtain a licence? This has never been the case in the past, and Thai legislation takes years to enact. I was only at the Dept of Lands and Transport the other day, and saw no mention of this. Thanks

I have a photocopy of the foreigner licensing rules, as issued by the Department of Land Transport, Hang Dong Rd, Chiangmai sitting right here. It clearly states what I mentioned above re: foreigners with TR class visas, but admittedly is about 3-4 months old.

Before making this post I enquired again with my neighbour (who works for the dept.), and he confirmed what I've posted here. As with anything in Thailand, there's laws, then rules, then the actual implementation - all of which can differ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you provide a link, Thai or English where it states that a tourist can obtain a licence? This has never been the case in the past, and Thai legislation takes years to enact. I was only at the Dept of Lands and Transport the other day, and saw no mention of this. Thanks
I have a photocopy of the foreigner licensing rules, as issued by the Department of Land Transport, Hang Dong Rd, Chiangmai sitting right here. It clearly states what I mentioned above re: foreigners with TR class visas, but admittedly is about 3-4 months old.

Before making this post I enquired again with my neighbour (who works for the dept.), and he confirmed what I've posted here. As with anything in Thailand, there's laws, then rules, then the actual implementation - all of which can differ.

Years ago, it was indeed the case that one could apply for a Thai driver's license with a TR visa but it seems to me about ten years ago the law was enacted that required license applicants have a non-immigrant visa. I've never been able to renew my license without the people at the office in Hang Dong seeing a non-immigrant visa. It would indeed be news if this policy has changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that the licence you show from your own country must have a photo - or else you must have an international licence then you can avoid doing the driving test parts (steps 2 to 4??). Note that the international licence is **Very** hard to photocopy, black pen on dark grey background!

As an aside I always thought that the renewal after the first one year licence can be for 5 years, but someone said only 3 years the other day. Just about to do my first renewal so wonder which is correct?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If somebody was only in Thailand for a couple of months and didn't have an international licnese but did have a valid license (with photo) from there own country and they wanted to rent a car. Is that acceptable or should you get a Tahi license? And what difference would this make if you were involved in a road accident?

Edited by Sunshine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As an aside I always thought that the renewal after the first one year licence can be for 5 years, but someone said only 3 years the other day. Just about to do my first renewal so wonder which is correct?

I asked this question at "Step Six" only last Tuesday, and was told that a new license is valid for one year, but subsequent renewals would be valid for 5 years. The fellow was quite clear on this, and noted that I wouldn't need to bring a medical certificate when renewing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On making some enquiries at the department yesterday, I was told that one had to be in possesion of a "Non Immigrant" to apply for a Thai licence, and the copy of the form that I have states this. Maybe they have old and new forms for some inexplicable reason :o

Yes you can renew your licence for a period of five years for a cost of 505 baht. The medical is waived, but you still have to produce both copies and originals of all pertinent documents

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On making some enquiries at the department yesterday, I was told that one had to be in possesion of a "Non Immigrant" to apply for a Thai licence, and the copy of the form that I have states this. Maybe they have old and new forms for some inexplicable reason :D

  Yes you can renew your licence for a period of five years for a cost of 505 baht. The medical is waived, but you still have to produce both copies and originals of all pertinent documents

:D If you do NOT have a NON - B or NON - O Visa, you cannot have a driver's License. Simply Tourists are forbidden to obtain the License if it is a Tourist Visa ( Department of Transport Information Central Thailand).

First License is 1 year, with a current NON- Immigrant Visa then only after the 1 year has expired, then you may renew for 5 years at 505 Baht. But you must hold a current NON - Immigrant Visa to do so. Central Thailand Motor Registry requested my Work Permit book for evidence of validity on NON - Immigrant Visa.

The issue about the 5 year renewal was a small challenge on the fact the new LAWS for 3 year NON- Immigrant Visas didn't support the issue of the 5 year License renewal..... Totally clashing rules and LAWS, who really makes all these counter LAWS to clash with current LAWS GO LEFT, BUT GO RIGHT, NO Wait, U Turn,,,, 1 stop "chop" shop. Ahhhhggggg, are we there yet ? :o wait, what was your name again Mr. Okemura ? NO , NO, not Okemura, Sakemura ! Yes, as I was saying Mr. Cracked Mirror, NO NO ! Not cracked Mirror, MR. o'h forget it, I am out of here, my visa is expiring next week. :D

"Anyone experiencing difficulties reading this, see Daffy Duck & Company. :D

Daveyo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Thai driving license has expired since I left the country. I will be returning for just a couple of months and want to rent a car. Will my UK driving license be sufficient. What do insurance companies require. I know that many countries let you drive on a foreign license for a limited time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sunshine, if you want to rent a car, it depends on what car you rent, because the price varies on their models. Also it can get quite expensive as time goes on. Hmmm, I do believe the smallest I have rented a while back, it was like around 1,400 baht per day. Almost the same as in USA, so your not saving as much. As of your drivers license, since your staying only here for a couple months, you need your passport, your foreign drivers license and some thai person to vouch for you because the Thai person has to sign their name on your behalf. That is what I did based on my prior experience. Another way is AAA Club International Drivers license good for 1 year, and costs only 10.00 USA dollars. Most countries do honor that kind of License and so does Thailand. However your passport is a super must to get to rent that car.

Then the shindig begins, oh clyde left turn, no clyde right turn, hey which way, darn whoooooooooooosh the motor bike just misses you and your nightmarish brain begins to wilt like the stilt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, and by the time your done, your a nervous wreck. Thai drivers are demolition derby drivers, so be careful brother.

Good luck.

Daveyo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that Thailand insists on an international licence - but if it has a photo and is in English then I suspect the bobby on the beat will accept it, unless it is too near the end of the month and they are broke.

The main problem is always if you have an accident then the insurance company can claim you are uninsure and make you pay for the other parties imported jag and the millions for the injuries to the other people. Personally I don't drive a car here, just my little dream ......................

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...