How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand (2024)

How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand

Do you know that you can get an international driver’s license while living in Thailand?

And it allows you to drive in more than 100 countries all over the world, including your home country. 

With that said, this article will show you the very fast and simple process of applying for an international driver’s license in Thailand, including which documents you need, where to go, and how much it costs.

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Key Takeaways:

  • You need a 5-year Thai Driver’s License to obtain an IDP in Thailand.
  • There are two types of IDP you can get: a one-year IDP and a three-year IDP.
  • You need to check the country you want to visit first to determine whether it requires a one-year IDP or a three-year IDP.
  • You can obtain an IDP at any Department of Land Transport in Thailand.
  • The entire process takes less than 10 minutes, assuming you have all the required documents.
  • You can simply walk in without having to make a prior appointment.

What Is It? 

There are a few things to know about international driver’s licenses, so let’s look at the most important points.

An international driver’s license is technically known as an International Driving Permit (IDP). But because so many people refer to it as a license, we’ll stick with that term for this article.

That said, the important word to remember is “permit.” An international driver’s license permits you to drive in another country temporarily.

When driving on your international driver’s license, you must carry your resident country’s driver’s license with you as well.

For example, if you visit America and want to drive there, you have to carry your Thai driver’s license with your international driver’s license..

Two Types of IDP

There are two types of international driver’s licenses you can obtain in Thailand:

  • A one-year license based on the 1949 Geneva Convention.
  • A three-year license based on the 1968 Vienna Convention.

Both types of IDP have the same requirements, application process, and fees.

The main difference, in addition to the year of validity, is based on the countries where you can use them.

For a one-year license, you can use it in 101 countries worldwide, while a three-year license allows you to drive in only 84 countries.

To determine which license you need, you can check this list on Wikipedia.

For example, if you are planning to go to Japan, you need to obtain a one-year license. However, if you are going to Costa Rica, you need a three-year license.

When you apply for an international driver’s license in Thailand, a Department of Land Transport officer will usually ask you which country you intend to visit in order to issue the appropriate license.

Where to Apply

To apply for an international driver’s license in Thailand, just visit any Department of Land Transport (DLT) office in Thailand.

If you live in Bangkok, there is a DLT office in Bang Chak and one in Chatuchak.

Here’s a list of all DLT offices in Thailand

Required Documents

To apply for an international driver’s license in Thailand, you need to have the following: 

  • a valid five-year Thai driver’s license
  • passport
  • non-immigration visa
  • resident certificate from either your embassy (more expensive) or a Thai immigration office (much cheaper) or a work permit
  • two, 2-inch photos no older than six months

Depending on the Department of Land Transport you visit, you may need both originals and signed copies for all documents.

IDP Thailand
It can take less than 15 minutes to get an international driving permit in Thailand.

Most DLT offices have a copy machine available. So, if you forgot to bring copies with you, you can just do it there.

After you submit all your documents, you’ll have to pay the fee, and you’ll be given an international driving license that is valid for one year or three years depending on the type of your IDP as mentioned in a previous section. 

How Long Does It Take?

Since it’s very simple to get an international driver’s license in Thailand, the whole process should take you less than an hour. 

In case there’s no queue, sometimes it can even take less than 15 minutes.

How Much Does It Cost?

The fee for obtaining an IDP is currently 505 baht for both one-year and three-year IDP.

When Should I Go There?

Even though the DLT office opens at 7:30am and you can register at that time. The section for IDP only begins work at 8:30am.

The DLT office can be pretty busy in the morning. There can be a long queue of more than 50 people over there. However, the queue is mainly for Thai nationals.

Thailand IDP Country
You can see a list of countries where you can drive on the back of the IDP.

As a foreigner, there is usually a separate counter with “Foreigner Only” marked window with an English-speaking receptionist.

Based on our experience, the best time to visit would be in the early afternoon, as the queue tends to be shorter at that time.

Do I Need to Book an Appointment in Advance?

No, an appointment is not necessary, and you can simply walk-in.

International Driving License for Motorcycle

You can obtain an international driving license for a motorcycle in the same way as you would for a car. 

However, this time, you would need to present a five-year motorcycle driving license instead.

Can I Apply for an International Driving License for Car and Motorcycle at the Same Time?

Yes, you can do it at the same time.

You need to have both a car driving license and a motorcycle driving license and also 2 original separate resident certificates, each stating what it is for.

You can present everything to a DLT officer. 

Your international driving license will then enable you to legally operate both a car and a motorcycle overseas.

Can I Apply for an IDP in Thailand with a Two-Year Thai Driving License?

Unfortunately, you cannot use your two-year Thai driving license (a temporary driving license) to apply for an International Driver’s License in Thailand.

You need to convert it to a 5-year driving license first.

Can I Apply for an IDP in Thailand with My Home Country Driver’s License?

No, you cannot.

If you have a foreign driver’s license and would like to apply for an international driving license with the Thai Department of Land Transport (DLT), the first step is to obtain a Thai driver’s license.

Initially, you will be eligible for a temporary two-year license only. You need to wait until you can obtain a five-year license. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get your Thai driver’s license as soon as you arrive in Thailand.

Can I Use an International Driver’s License to Drive in Thailand?

Yes, if you already have an international driver’s license, you can use it to drive in Thailand

Actually, if you are planning to move to Thailand, it’s a good idea to get your international driver’s license in advance. It helps you get your Thai driver’s license much easier. 

Also, having an international driver’s license will let you drive in multiple countries if you live in Thailand but travel abroad often.

Take note that the IDP is valid for only one year. 

This way, when you show up here, you’re good to go until you convert it into a Thai driver’s license.

So, let’s take a closer look at the process of getting an international driver’s license in Thailand.

You’ll fall into one of two categories when getting an international driver’s license in Thailand – you’ll either have a foreign driver’s license or a Thai driver’s license.

The process in both cases is different from each other, so let’s look at each one in detail. If you have a Thai driver’s license, you can skip to the section on Applying with a Thai Driver’s License.

Now, on to You

Believe it or not, the process for getting an international driver’s license in Thailand is fairly simple.

In fact, it’s one of the easiest processes you’ll go through while living in the country. The entire process will take you less than 15 minutes.

John Wolcott is the global editor for ExpatDen. He's a New Jersey native who now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two daughters.

25 thoughts on “How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand (2024)”

  1. Hey! I have a temporary Thai Driver’s License, valid for 2 years. Can I use it to apply for an international one?

    • Unfortunately, at the moment, you need a 5-year license to get an international driving license in Thailand.

  2. Do we seriously need to go to immigration first and get that annoying “residency certificate” to apply for an IDP? Can you please confirm that? I’d hate to go to the DLT office only to be told I need to go to immigration first.

      • Hi. I read that a work permit with present residency details identified is sufficient. Does that mean I can photocopy my work permit page with the address for submission?

        • Yes, that’s right.

          But it’s also best to call the Department of Land Transport you are planning to go to recheck with them again. As other things in Thailand, they might not accept it and ask for a resident certificate.

  3. Hi, I’m Myanmar nationality and I have Myanmar Driving Liscense. I would like to apply to International liscense in Bangkok that will allow me to drive to countries like Melbourne( Australia) or Bali ( Indonesia). Can you please answer. Thanks.

    • Hi Moon,
      You need to first get a 5-year Thai driving license. Then, you can make an international driving license from it.

  4. Hi. I’m Vietnamese. As I know, Vietnamese can only have 2 years Thai driving license then keep renewing. How can Vietnamese convert Thai DL to International DL?

    • As long as it’s not a temporary driving license, you should be able to make an international driver’s license with it. However, please keep us posted on how it goes. We want to know about it as well.

    • When your 2 year license expires, you can renew and get a 5 year license, then apply for an International driving permit.

  5. Hello, I’m having 2-year Thai driving license (temporary one) so would it be possible to convert to International driving license as I will travel to Korea soon? And normally, how long does it take? Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Unfortunately, you need a five-year Thai driving license to get an IDP. The process normally takes less than an hour. Sometimes, it’s even less than 5 minutes if there’s no queue.

  6. I have 2-years Thai driving license and I will be traveling to Japan where they require IDP. Is there any possibilities or way that I can get an IDP here against the 2-years valid license? I have a queue for getting 5-years license but that’s a long wait.

    • You still need a five-year license in order to make an IDP. If the queue is long, you can check at other IDP. Maybe there’s one with a short queue.

  7. Hi, I have Thailand driving license Now, I would like to international driving license from Thailand, so can I do or not? I’m not Thai. I came from Myanmar, so could you answer for me please.

  8. I have found this website that says I can get my International Driver’s Permit with permission to drive in Thailand.
    “They did not mention having to get a Thailand license as well as it states here. . Can you please clarify.
    Thank you

    • If you get an international driver’s license from your home country, you don’t need to have a Thai license. On the other hand, if you want to get an international driver’s license in Thailand, then, you need a Thai license.

  9. How about a simple way to apply without all the bs. I’m living in Thailand with my wife and my old one has expired.

  10. Thanks for sharing all this valuable information. It is worth noting that if you live in another province only the main DLT office of the province will process the International driving license. Just a quick not to anyone reading the post.

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Will , do you know how long to deliver the international driving license .

      I stay at Koh Samui , so I have to go at Surat Thani .

      Thanks for your answer

    • I am I missing something or maybe too many Chang last night I have an UK Driving licence for years HGV I went to hire a scooter a little 125cc and he said I need a international Driving licence ok . Question 1) I am in Pattaya can I go to a local office or go on line.2) how long do I have to wait to receive it. 3) how long does it last . 4) Do I have to sit or take exam 5) and finally how much does it cost ? Sorry for all the questions. But I haven’t a clue . Thank you in advance. BOZ RSVP


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