In Thailand we all get a little tired of paying fines for not having a Thai driving license, but most applicants who wish to obtain a Thai driving license do not understand the requirements and where to obtain one from. so below I have given details on how to obtain the Thai driving license and the documents required.
A Thai driving license for most foreigners is given in two separate licenses. One is to drive a motor vehicle and the second is to drive a motorcycle. They are both separate driving licenses and my advice is if you are going for a license to drive a motor vehicle then get the motorcycle license whilst you are there.
The first license that you will be given will be for one year. After one year you can extend the driving license for a concurrent 5 years. Because we are foreigners and have been taught how to drive a vehicle properly in our own country to European standards, getting the license is just about passing protocol and having the correct documentation with you. So unless you do something to upset the powers that be, you should walk out of the test center with your driving license on the same day.
The test itself is not difficult but take a Thai talking person with you to help you through the process. It starts with a theory test which is a multiple choice test and is done on a computer. The second part is a 30 minute pep talk from the examiner that it normally conducted in Thai which most people do not understand anyway and the last part is the practical.
In a motor vehicle, the test can last about 5 minutes and most foreigners can pass with there eyes closed “ but do not close them” and the motorcycle test is constantly changed but normally consists of driving around the test center over planks of wood and around cones. Usually, if you do not pass the examiner will allow you to carry on until you do pass.
The useful website for the Ministry Of Transport is http://www.otp.go.th/ this gives the address, the costings and maps of your local test center.
The local test center near Pattaya is in Banglamung just off the 331 Highway. You head towards Rayong on the 331 Highway where you will see the Regents School on your right hand side. Just go past and there is a u-turn, take this turn at the side of the Regents International school. Follow the signs, it is very easy, but as said previously, you should take a Thai national with you to help.
The documents required to take and the visa required are as follows
- Your original passport and you also need a Non Immigrant visa of any type be it a O, B, or Ed visa. They will accept all Non immigrant visas or long stay visas, you need to copy your face page of the passport and also the page with the visa on.
- You need your original overseas driving license and a photocopy, or it is even better if you can obtain an International license before you come to Thailand.
- If your driving license is not in English, you will have to copy it and have it translated and certified.
- You will need to take your passport to a doctors clinic and obtain a standard medical letter which costs approx 150 baht. There is no need to go to a hospital and have a full body check done
- You will need to attend your local Immigration office and obtain what is called a residency letter which is a piece of paper with your name, address and photo on. This is so the test center are aware of which address to put on the license. To obtain the letter you will need to take to the Immigration office Your original passport plus a copy, and also two passport sized photographs. You should also take proof of your residence where you are staying in Thailand. Please note, you will need the Non immigrant visa to obtain this letter.
So the key to getting the license is obtaining a non-immigrant visa before you come and also an International driving license will save you so much hassle.
My advice to all people who live in Thailand is to join the Pattaya Expats club. They have so many people there with so much knowledge who know the best way forward with any circumstance. Below is a link to their site.
There website is as follows www.pattayaexpatsclub.info