Is my home licence valid in Thailand?
Probably not. The only countries whose domestic licences are legal in Thailand are Laos, Singapore and Malaysia. Of course, one of the advantages of holding a Thai licence is that you’re free to drive legally in those countries as well.
Why do I need a licence?
For day-to-day driving, you might be able to sneak your way around getting one. But if the worst is to happen and you are involved in an accident, you may find yourself in a world of trouble if you don’t have a valid licence.
Your insurance company is also unlikely to come running to your aid unless you have a valid permit, meaning a potentially expensive hospital visit if you drive home after one too many. The licence will also be attached to your passport number, giving you an additional form of legitimate ID.
Who is eligible for a Thai licence?
Anyone residing in Thailand can apply for a licence. You’ll just need to show a valid non-immigrant visa, a residential address certified by your embassy (or simply a work permit if you have one), and a medical certificate stating good health. Bring an extra two passport photos (2.5-inch) and two photocopies of your passport, and you’re good to go.
Do I have to sit a test?
If you have a valid international licence, you can simply swap it for the corresponding Thai licence. Otherwise, there are a number of tests you will need to pass. By most accounts though, the allowed margin for error is generous.
Is there a separate licence for cars and motorbikes?
Yes, and you will only be able to transfer your international licence to the corresponding Thai one for a car or motorbike.
Is the test in English?
Yes, Phuket offers its tests in English as well as in Thai. It’s still probably best to take a Thai friend or colleague if you can though, because the language skills of office staff may vary.
What is the cost?
For a motorbike licence, B55. For a car, B105. You can also pay B100 extra to have it printed on a more durable plastic smartcard.
How long is the licence valid for?
The first licence is valid for one year, but each subsequent renewal will give you five years’ validity. Once you have the initial licence, the renewal process is relatively easy.
How long will it take?
You will have to be at the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office to register between 8.30am to 9.50 am, and by the time you sit through the information sessions and testing, you won’t be done until after 2pm. Renewals can also take the better part of a day by the time you decipher the queuing processes.
For more information about the process, simply visit the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office website at: phuketdir.com/pkttransport.
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