Driving licence in Thailand
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Like many other countries, a driver's licence is required before someone can drive on any road in Thailand. Thai driver's licence is issued by the Department of Land Transport, Ministry of Transport and can be used throughout the Kingdom of Thailand and other ASEAN states.
The minimum age to drive a motor vehicle is 18, and 15 for a motorcycle.
Type of driver's licence
There are ten types of driving licence issued in Thailand. The seven main types are listed and explained below.
- Type 1 - Temporary Private Car: This licence is issued to those who have successfully completed the driving test. This licence is valid for a period of two years. Licence holders are not permitted to drive outside the country. (Many Thai people who live/study outside the country have claimed to be able to use the temporary licence to drive in that country without any problem, with some even receiving the confirmation from transport officers themselves that they are allowed to drive there. These countries include United States [might depend on the state], Australia, and New Zealand.)
- Type 2 - Private Car: This licence is issued to those who have possessed a temporary licence for a period of two years. This licence is valid for a period of five years. Private Lifetime Car is no longer issued to new applicants but remains valid to existing holders.
- Type 3 - Private three-wheel vehicle: This licence is issued to those who wish to drive a three-wheel vehicle, commonly known as tuk-tuk.
- Type 4 - Commercial Car: This licence is issued to those who wish to commercially operate private car such as taxi and other privately owned taxi.
- Type 5 - Commercial three-wheel: This licence is issued to those who wish to commercially operate three-wheel vehicle such as Tuk-Tuk drivers.
- Type 6 - Motorcycle: This licence is issued to those who wish to drive a motorcycle.
- Type 7 - Road work licence: This licence is issued to road construction vehicle drivers.
Applying for a driver's licence
Unlike most countries, there is no provisional or learner's licence in Thailand. Drivers who wish to obtain a driver's licence have to either learn through driving school or are at their own risk for not having a driving licence.
Car driver's licence candidates should set aside two full days for training and testing at the Department of Transport Office.
When ready, candidates are required to make an appointment for visual and response performance tests and a four-hour legal, road code and defensive driving sessions at their local Department of Land Transport office. After this, candidates must sit a written examination. The examination is done though a computerised system and is available in Thai, English, Japanese and Chinese. Other languages apart from Thai may not be available in Department of Land Transport offices outside Bangkok. One resit is allowed on the same day.
Upon successful completion, candidates are allowed to make an appointment for practical examination. The practical examination must be done within 90 days of successful written examination.
Candidates will be taken around the examination venue where procedure will be explained. There are generally three stages of examination.
- Driving straight forward and backward
- Two different types of parking
Depending on the examination venue, car rental may be available for an additional charge of 100 baht (approx US$3.20).
Upon successful completion, candidates will be given documents and redirected to the office where photo is taken and temporary licence is issued at the cost of 205 Baht (US$6.50). If the candidate fail to pass any part of the examination, candidate will be given a notice to redo the part he/she fail after three days but within 90 days of the last examination.
Driving outside Thailand
- ASEAN member states: Thai driver's licence is valid without International Driving Permit.
- Rest of the world: International Driving Permit may or may not be required along with a valid Thai driver's licence. Due the new licences with English, the International Driving Permit is not required in English speaking countries.