An international driver’s license is good to have while living in Thailand.
First, having one will let you drive in 174 countries around the world, which is good if you use Thailand as your home base but travel often.
Second, you’ll be able to drive in your home country if you visit there.
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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- Good to Know
- Which License Can You Drive with in Thailand?
- Getting an International Driving License in Thailand
- Where to Apply
- How Long Does It Take?
- How Much Does It Cost?
- Do I Need to Book an Appointment in Advance?
- When Should I Go There?
- International Driving License for Motorcycle
- Can I Apply for an International Driving License for Car and Motorcycle at the Same Time?
- Now, on to You
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Good to Know
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 driver there, you have to carry your Thai driver’s license with your international driver’s license.
Your international driver’s license can’t be used in every country. Here’s a list of countries that accept an international driver’s license.
Which License Can You Drive with in Thailand?
Before we get into how to get an international drivers’ license in Thailand, let’s look at the most common driver’s licenses and whether or not you can drive in the country with them.
Driver’s License from Your Home Country
Despite being able to rent a car in Thailand with a valid foreign driver’s license, it’s technically illegal to drive in the kingdom with your home country driver’s license.
Having said that, most police officers won’t say anything if you get stopped at a roadside checkpoint and present to them a foreign driver’s license.
So, it’s best to get a Thai driver’s license.
For obvious reasons, your safest bet when driving in Thailand is to have a Thai driver’s license.
We have an entire article dedicated to the process of getting your Thai license, so be sure to check it out.
Moreover, having a Thai driver’s license also comes in handy when you visit national parks or any other place that charges one price for Thais and one price for foreigners. With a Thai license, you’ll pay Thai prices – in most cases.
International Driver’s License (IDP)
If you know you’re going to live and drive in the country for long-term, you can get your international driver’s license before you move to Thailand. This way, when you show up here, you’re good to go until you covert it into a Thai driver’s license.
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.
So, let’s take a closer look at the process of getting an international driver’s license in Thailand.
Getting an International Driving 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.
Applying with a Foreign Driver’s License
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 thing you must do is get a Thai driver’s license.
At first, you will be able to get a temporary two-year license only. You need to wait until you can make a five-year license. Therefore, this is why it’s a good idea to get your Thai driver’s license right away after you land into Thailand.
After you’ve taken care of this step, you can apply using the details in the next section.
Applying with a Thai Driver’s License
To be eligible to apply for an international driver’s license in Thailand, you must have a valid five-year Thai driver’s license.
In addition to that, according to the DLT you need the following documents, both originals and copies.
- non-immigration visa
- resident certificate from either your embassy (more expensive) or a Thai immigration office (much cheaper)
- two, 2-inch photos no older than six months
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.
Most DLT office have a copy machine available. So, if you forgot to bring copies with you, you can just do it there.
Where to Apply
To apply for an international driver’s license in Thailand, just visit any DLT office in Thailand.
However, your best bet is to go to the DLT office where you got your Thai license, if possible.
How Long Does It Take?
Since it’s very simple to make 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 making an IDP right now is 505 baht. And it’s valid for one year.
Do I Need to Book an Appointment in Advance?
No, an appointment is not necessary, and you can simply walk-in.
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.
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.
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.