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:
- What Is It?
- Two Types of IDP
- Where to Apply
- Required Documents
- How Long Does It Take?
- How Much Does It Cost?
- When Should I Go There?
- Do I Need to Book an Appointment in Advance?
- International Driving License for Motorcycle
- Can I Apply for an International Driving License for Car and Motorcycle at the Same Time?
- Can I Apply for an IDP in Thailand with a Two-Year Thai Driving License?
- Can I Apply for an IDP in Thailand with My Home Country Driver’s License?
- Can I Use an International Driver’s License to Drive in Thailand?
- Now, on to You
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- 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.
Here’s a list of all DLT offices in Thailand.
To apply for an international driver’s license in Thailand, you need to have the following:
- a valid five-year Thai driver’s license
- 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.
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.
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.