Do you want to obtain a driving license in Thailand?
There are typically 3 scenarios:

You don't have a driver's license

Obtaining a Thai driver’s license when you do not have one from your own country generally involves a more detailed process, as you will be considered a new driver in Thailand. Here is an overview of the typical steps:

  1. Residency Confirmation: You must provide proof of residency in Thailand. This can be a certificate of residency from your immigration office or a work permit that shows your address.

  2. Medical Certificate: You will need to obtain a medical certificate from a local hospital or clinic in Thailand, stating that you are in good health and fit to drive.

  3. Theory Training: Enroll in a Thai driving school approved by the Department of Land Transport (DLT) to receive theory training. This typically includes classroom sessions covering road rules, traffic signs, and safe driving practices in Thailand.

  4. Theory Test : After completing your theory training, you will need to do Theory test on computer and you need to answer correctly for at least 45  from 50 questions.  This exam tests your knowledge of Thai traffic laws, signals, and road safety.

  5. Practical Driving Lessons: As a new driver, you’ll take practical driving lessons to learn how to operate a vehicle safely. These lessons may be part of the driving school’s curriculum.

  6. Driving Test: Once you’ve completed your practical training, you will take a driving test conducted by the DLT. The test will assess your ability to handle a vehicle in various situations on a controlled course.

  7. Issuance of a Driver’s License: If you pass both the practical driving test and The Theory test, you will be issued a Thai driver’s license from DLT. The first license you receive will be a temporary one, usually valid for two years.

  8. Renewal for a Regular License: After the temporary license period, you can apply for a regular license, which is often valid for five years.

Please note that this is a general guideline, and the exact process can vary depending on several factors, including any reciprocal agreements between Thailand and your home country, changes in Thai law, and the discretion of the local DLT office. Always check the latest requirements with the Department of Land Transport or a local driving school.

If you have a driver’s license from your home country, the process for obtaining a Thai driver’s license can be simpler and may go as follows:

  1. Valid Foreign License: Ensure that your current foreign driver’s license is valid. If it’s near expiration, it’s wise to renew it before you start the process in Thailand.

  2. Residency Confirmation: You need to provide evidence of your residency status in Thailand. This could be through a certificate of residency from your embassy or your Thai work permit.

  3. Medical Certificate: Obtain a medical certificate from a hospital or clinic in Thailand, which confirms that you’re fit to drive.

  4. Translation: Have your foreign driver’s license officially translated into Thai if it’s not in English. This translation often needs to be certified by your embassy or a recognized translator.

  5. Department of Land Transport (DLT): Visit the DLT with your translated and original driver’s license, medical certificate, proof of residency, and your passport. You’ll also need photocopies of all these documents.

  6. Eye Test and Reaction Test: You’ll undergo a simple eye test to check your vision and color blindness, as well as a reaction test at the DLT.

  7. Theory Test: You may be required to take a written theory test, although in some cases having a foreign license may exempt you from this requirement. It’s best to confirm with the DLT as policies may vary.

  8. Thai Driving License Issuance: If all documents are in order and tests are passed (if required), you’ll pay the license fee and have your photo taken. The DLT will then issue you a Thai driving license. This is usually a two-year temporary license for first-time applicants.

  9. Conversion to a Regular License: After two years with a temporary license, you can convert it to a regular five-year license.

Please note that some countries have reciprocal agreements with Thailand that might further simplify the process or waive certain requirements. It’s essential to check the current regulations with the Thai DLT or a trusted legal advisor before starting your application. It’s also worth mentioning that an International Driving Permit (IDP) can be used in Thailand for a certain period, typically up to one year, as long as it’s accompanied by your valid foreign driver’s license.

If you have both a driver’s license from your home country and an International Driving Permit (IDP), you’re well-prepared for driving in Thailand, at least for a certain period. Here’s what you need to know:

Using Your IDP in Thailand:

  • An IDP is valid for use in Thailand for up to one year from your date of entry into the country, as long as it is accompanied by your valid national driver’s license.
  • You must carry both your IDP and your national driver’s license when driving.
  • An IDP is usually recognized without the need for translation since it contains multiple languages, including English which is widely recognized in Thailand.

Converting to a Thai Driver’s License:

  • Even with an IDP, if you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than a year or become a resident, it’s advisable to obtain a Thai driver’s license.
  • The process for converting your foreign license to a Thai license generally requires less testing, assuming your home country’s license is still valid.
  • You may be exempt from the written and driving tests, but this can vary, so it’s best to confirm with the Department of Land Transport (DLT).

Typical Requirements:

  • Valid national driver’s license from your home country.
  • Valid IDP.
  • Passport with valid visa entries.
  • Medical certificate from a local clinic or hospital in Thailand.
  • Certificate of residency, which can sometimes be substituted with a work permit or a letter from your embassy.
  • Translation of your national driver’s license if it’s not in English, possibly certified by your embassy.
  • Eye test and possibly a reaction test, which can usually be done at the DLT.


  1. Present your documents at the DLT: your foreign driver’s license, IDP, passport, medical certificate, and residency confirmation.
  2. Take the color blindness, depth perception, and reflex tests at the DLT.
  3. You might have to watch a video about driving in Thailand. ( If you do not have an International driver’s license with you)
  4. Pay the license fee and have your photo taken.
  5. Receive a temporary Thai driver’s license, valid for 2 years.

Upgrading to a Permanent License:

  • After the temporary license period, you can upgrade to a regular license, which is typically valid for 5 years.

Remember, regulations can change, and there may be specific nuances depending on your nationality and the type of visa you hold. It’s always best to check the latest requirements with the DLT or consult with a local legal advisor or driving school that specializes in helping foreigners obtain Thai driver’s licenses.

Our recommendation: hire a specialist and skip the hassle of dealing with paperwork and Thai bureaucracy

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