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Taiwan – Driving Licenses

Driving in Taiwan can be an enjoyable experience with scenic routes, beautiful landscapes, and easy-to-use highways. However, driving in Taiwan requires a valid driving license, and this raises several questions for foreign nationals planning to drive in Taiwan. In this article, we will answer the following questions regarding driving licenses in Taiwan:

  • What are the general rules regarding driving licenses for foreign nationals in Taiwan? Can foreign nationals use their own licenses indefinitely or for a limited period in Taiwan?
  • Are there any agreements in place which allow foreign nationals to simply exchange their license for a local one or is a driving test necessary in Taiwan?
  • What is the procedure for exchanging, obtaining, renewing a driving license in Taiwan and what are the contact details (provide links) of relevant government departments or agencies involved?
  • Is an International Driving Permit recognized in Taiwan?
  • Describe the penalty system for motoring offenses in relation to driving licenses in Taiwan.

General Rules regarding driving licenses for foreign nationals in Taiwan

Foreign nationals visiting Taiwan can use their own driving license to drive in Taiwan for up to 30 days. However, if they plan to stay in Taiwan for more than 30 days, they must apply for a Taiwan driving license.

License Exchange and Driving Test Requirements in Taiwan

Foreign nationals from certain countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and South Korea, can exchange their home country’s driving license for a Taiwan driving license without taking a driving test. Other foreign nationals must pass a driving test to obtain a Taiwan driving license.

For those eligible for an exchange, a written test and a visual test are still required. Once these tests are completed, the foreign national can obtain a Taiwan driving license.

Procedure for Exchanging, Obtaining, and Renewing a Driving License in Taiwan

Foreign nationals who are eligible for a license exchange can apply for a Taiwan driving license at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC). The MOTC’s website provides detailed information on the documents required for the application process, including a valid passport, a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), a valid driving license from their home country, and a medical certificate.

If the foreign national is not eligible for a license exchange, they must pass a driving test at a designated test center. Information on the driving test and application process can be found on the Motor Vehicles Office website.

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Renewal of the Taiwan driving license can be done at any Motor Vehicles Office, and the application process is similar to obtaining a new license. Foreign nationals should note that Taiwan driving licenses are valid for up to 10 years, and the renewal process must be completed before the expiration date.

Recognition of International Driving Permit in Taiwan

Taiwan recognizes International Driving Permits (IDP) issued by the countries that are parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. Foreign nationals who possess a valid IDP can use it to drive in Taiwan for up to 30 days. However, after 30 days, they must apply for a Taiwan driving license.

Penalty System for Motoring Offenses in Relation to Driving Licenses in Taiwan

Taiwan has strict laws regarding motoring offenses, and penalties can be severe. Common offenses include speeding, running red lights, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Fines for such offenses can range from NT$1,200 to NT$90,000, depending on the offense.

In more severe cases, the offender may be required to attend a court hearing and may face imprisonment. Foreign nationals who commit motoring offenses may also face penalties, including suspension or revocation of their Taiwan driving license, fines, and imprisonment.

In conclusion, obtaining a driver’s license in Taiwan as a foreign national involves taking a written test and a driving test, or exchanging a valid foreign driver’s license from one of the approved countries. Renewals are required every six years, and international driving permits are not recognized in Taiwan. Penalties for traffic violations are severe and can include fines, imprisonment, and the revocation of driving privileges.