How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand

How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand

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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

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.

But remember this: if you live in Thailand and own a car that is insured, the insurance company won’t cover you if you get into an accident and are using your foreign driver’s license.

So, it’s best to get a Thai driver’s license.

Thai 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

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.

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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.

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.

  • passport
  • non-immigration visa
  • resident certificate from either your embassy (more expensive) or a Thai immigration office (much cheaper)
  • Thai work permit, if applicable
  • two, 2-inch photos no older than six months

After you submit all your documents, you’ll have to pay the 505 baht fee, and you’ll be given an international driving license that is valid for one year.

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.

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

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 10 minutes.

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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.

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