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Questions & Answers: How do I become street legal?

PHUKET: Question: I read that there are new, strict procedures for obtaining a driver’s license including a harder test and more scrutiny on applicants. I currently have a US license but it has been expired for three months. What are the current procedures to obtain a license for car? Also, I want to get a motorbike license too (but don’t have one from the US). Please advise. – Jimmy in Soi Nainai


By The Phuket News

Wednesday 17 September 2014, 05:34PM


Phuket Land Transportation Office, driving license division officers answers:

Even if you have a valid US or UK license, we recommend you to use a valid International Driver’s License or a Thai driver’s license because it will be easy for police to read and understand it without hassle.

Besides you may run into insurance liability problems should you be involved in an accident and don’t have an IDL or TDL. But being as your license is expired, we don’t recommend you drive until you get a valid license.

For foreigners, we are open for registration from 9am, Monday through Friday, and start training at 10am. Training takes four hours as usual. New drivers will also have to get to grips with a more comprehensive driving curriculum that will include four hours of lectures, as well as a more comprehensive written examination on driving theory.

Since June 1, we have increased the questions on the written exam from 30 to 50, and require a minimum of 45 correct answers (which is 90 per cent) to pass.

In addition, any driver who wishes to renew a five-year Thai driving license will also need to attend a one-hour “refresher” lecture in order to bring them up to speed with the new curriculum.
Drivers who are applying for a five-year license for the first time will not need to take this class.
After you have passed the test, in the afternoon, there will be a practical section. The examination is separate for motorbikes and cars.

Central Phuket

However, holders of valid driver’s licenses from countries governed by the Geneva Conventions do not need to do the practical section.

The following documents are required by the Phuket Land Transport Office at application: passport (plus copy), visa (plus copy), work permit and a receipt of notification of address (from the Immigration Office), as well as a medical certificate from any licensed clinic or hospital.
Just tell them you need a certificate for driver’s license.

Our office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Advice for your license

Driver’s License – why bother? Aside from avoiding having to pay fines to police, the big reason to get a valid TDL or IDL is for insurance liability, for you will likely not be covered should you have an accident while driving illegally, even if it’s not your fault. By driving without a valid TDL/IDL, you are risking being liable for millions of baht and/or even jail (vehicular homicide). And if you don’t think insurance companies will check to try to get out of paying, think again.

On D-Day (Make sure you reserve a full day for it)
1. First thing in the morning, go to clinic to get B100 medical certificate. Any licensed clinic / hospital will do, but keep in mind many clinics aren’t open in morning. One that is open by 8am is on Yaowarat Rd, between Dibuk and Krabi road, on west side of street, two shops north of convenient store (7.885759, 98.387527). If not sure, get medical certificate from any clinic /hospital the night before. Tell them it’s for driver’s license test.
2. Make sure you have cash on you, go to ATM before. Bring B500 just to be safe.There is rice eatery there for lunch though.
3. Go to Phuket Land Transport Office (7.870940, 98.389265). Make sure you bring your medical certificate, passport, visa, work permit, etc. and if have, valid drivers license from home country too. Photos aren’t necessary anymore (unless you’re applying for international license, which you can only do once you have 5-year license)
4. Get in line with everyone else, first come first serve, be patient. When it’s your turn, tell the official you will apply for motorbike and/or car license / or convert your existing valid license.
5. Jump through the loops (do physical coordination tests, watch mandatory video, and you should take computer test (English is available) by noon (if you got there by 8.30am).
6. After passing, you will get queue for demonstration test in afternoon. Be patient and be on time. Note: Mondays and Friday are busiest days.
7. Do demonstration test using the car/motorbike you brought with you, but if you don’t have you can rent from LTO, but notify them when you first come to ensure you will have a car when it’s your turn.
8. If you should fail, you will have to return on another day to do only what you failed.
It happens, accept it and be patient. Schedule a new day (I failed on my 1st test because my car stalled!)
9. When you finally pass, you will be issued a 1-year provisional license. After the first year, you will have to renew for 5-year, which can take 1 hour to half day depending on crowd.
10. Pay, and rest easy.

 

 

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Firelight | 18 September 2014 - 01:12:15

Is it possible to get a TDL without living in Thailand permanently ? I don\\\'t have a visa or work permit as I\\\'m currently working in Greenland, so I just come for \\\"vacation\\\" to visit my wife and son.

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