How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand

How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand

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.

Thailand IDP Country
Here’s a list of countries you can drive with an 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 (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.

  • passport
  • 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

20 thoughts on “How to Get an International Driver’s License in Thailand”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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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