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Thailand – Driving Licenses

If you are planning to drive in Thailand, you may need to obtain a Thai driving license. In this article, we will discuss the rules and regulations regarding driving licenses for foreign nationals in Thailand.

General rules regarding driving licenses in Thailand

Foreign nationals can use their own valid driving license or International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Thailand for up to 60 days. After that, they will need to obtain a Thai driving license. It is also worth noting that some car rental companies may require a Thai driving license in order to rent a vehicle.

Obtaining a Thai driving license

Exchange of foreign driving license

Thailand has agreements with some countries which allow foreign nationals to simply exchange their driving license for a Thai one. The countries that have such agreements include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, and many other European countries.

In order to exchange your foreign driving license for a Thai one, you will need to visit the Department of Land Transport (DLT) with the following documents:

  • Valid passport and visa
  • Work permit or residence permit
  • Original and a photocopy of your foreign driving license
  • Translation of your foreign driving license (if it is not in English or Thai)
  • Medical certificate from a Thai doctor
  • Two recent passport-sized photos

You will also need to take a vision and color-blindness test, and may need to take a written and/or practical driving test, depending on your home country’s driving license requirements and the discretion of the DLT officer.


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Obtaining a Thai driving license from scratch

If you do not have a driving license from your home country, you will need to complete a series of tests in order to obtain a Thai driving license. These tests include:

  • A written test on Thai road signs, rules, and regulations
  • A practical driving test

You will also need to provide the same documents as listed above for the exchange of foreign driving license.

Renewing a Thai driving license

A Thai driving license is valid for up to five years, after which it must be renewed. You can renew your driving license at any DLT branch office by providing the following documents:

  • Your current Thai driving license
  • Your passport and visa
  • Medical certificate from a Thai doctor
  • Two recent passport-sized photos

Contact details

For more information on driving licenses in Thailand, you can visit the Department of Land Transport’s website at www.dlt.go.th.

International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recognized in Thailand and can be used in conjunction with your home country’s driving license for up to 60 days. After that, you will need to obtain a Thai driving license.

Penalty system for motoring offences

Driving offences in Thailand are penalized through a point system. Each offence carries a certain number of points, and when a driver reaches 12 points, their license is suspended for a period of time. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the offences committed.

Examples of common motoring offences and their corresponding point values include:

  • Failure to wear a seatbelt (1 point)
  • Running a red light (3 points)
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (12 points)

In addition to the point system, drivers who commit serious offences may face fines, imprisonment, or both. It is important to follow all traffic rules and regulations while driving in Thailand to avoid penalties and ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road.

In conclusion, driving in Thailand can be a great way to explore the country and get off the beaten path. However, it is important to ensure that you have the correct documentation and follow the rules of the road.

Foreign nationals can use their own driving licences in Thailand for a period of up to 90 days. After this, they must obtain a Thai driving licence. There are agreements in place with certain countries that allow for the exchange of licences without the need for a driving test, but for most foreign nationals, a driving test will be required.

The procedure for exchanging, obtaining, or renewing a driving licence in Thailand can be somewhat confusing, but it is important to follow the correct steps to ensure that you are driving legally. Contact details for relevant government departments and agencies can be found on their respective websites.

International Driving Permits are recognised in Thailand, but it is always a good idea to carry both your IDP and your home country driving licence when driving in the country.

Finally, it is important to remember that the penalty system for motoring offences in Thailand can be severe. Fines must be paid promptly, and more serious offences can result in imprisonment, fines, and driving bans. To avoid these penalties, it is important to drive safely and follow the rules of the road.


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