Living in Thailand you will soon realize that the rules of the road are quite different. A large number of the population do not have a proper driver’s license and lack any actual driving training in cars and/or motorbikes. When I came to Thailand I had never drove a motorbike in my life and my friend taught me and I began to learn how driving in Thailand is much different then my home country of America. At the time I was using my International Driver’s License even though it was just for a car the Thai police usually accepted it. That is until recently, many of the police officers are now being trained to read the International Driver’s License and I have been caught twice last month not having the proper license.

When you get caught without the proper license a few things can happen. 1. You are given a ticket of about 400 Baht, the police man holds your license and you drive to the police station and pay the fine. Then you return to where the officer was and show him you paid for it and you are on your way. 2. If you do not have anything for the officer to hold then he can hold your motorbike. Then you got to taxi down to the police station to continue the process. 3. Then there is the chance you can just pay the police officer right there as a bribe, something I have to admit I have done in the past but find it uncomfortable and it does not always work, especially if the officer is in a group of policemen.

I suppose 400 Baht which is only about 16 Dollars American really isn’t a big fine and if you are on vacation you can probably get away with it a couple of times. What I hate is the time it takes to drive to the station, wait in line to pay the ticket and then go back to the officer. If you arrive on a busy day you could be stuck in there for a couple of hours and if you miss the officer when you got back to where your ticket once was, well you got to return once again to the police station to retrieve your license the following day.

So just last week I got dinged again with a ticket and I decided that it was time for me to get my Driver’s License in Thailand. I have been avoiding it because it is a bit of a headache to get all the documents and so forth together and I will admit I was just lazy getting it since I was relying on my International License.

So what are the requirements and what do you have to do to get a Thai Driver’s License for both the Car and Motorbike?

The checklist for obtaining a Thai Driver’s License is below:
1. Application of Driving License (Though they just filled it in for me at the office)
2. Photocopy of Passport that show both Identity and Visa Stamp
3. A Non-Immigrant Visa Photocopy (Though I have heard of people on Tourist Visas Getting Licenses)
4. An original medical certificate from a doctor – Get at any local clinic about 150 to 300 Baht
5. Original Certificate of Residence from Thai Embassy – about 300 Baht
6. Photocopies of Your International or Local Driver’s License or both if you got them.
7. Your physical Passport, License so they know you don’t have fake documents.
8. Fee for Car License was 205 Baht and about 150 Baht for Motorbike

If you have all these things you can go down to your Local Land Transport Office (LTO) and start the procedure.

If you have the same class of license in your home country you can get a Thai license in the same class. Meaning if you can only drive a car in your country then you can only apply for a Thai Car License. If you want a motorbike license and you do not have one in your own country then you will have to take the tests, which I will explain more in detail on my next post. The only tests you will be required to do is a colorblind test, a reaction test and a depth perception test. If you don’t have a license of the vehicle class from your own country you will have do a computer test, watch a video and then take a physical driving test to prove you have the skills to drive.

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