VIETNAM DRIVING LICENSE FOR FOREIGNERS
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Most expats do not bother getting a Vietnam driving license. However, it is simpler than it seems and can save you a lot of headaches (or worse) in case of an accident, when dealing with legal implications or with your health insurance.
(last updated on October 2019)
With this step-by-step guide you will learn:
- HOW TO CONVERT YOUR HOME COUNTRY DRIVING LICENSE TO A VIETNAMESE DRIVING LICENSE IN HO CHI MINH CITY
- HOW TO USE YOUR CONVERTED VIETNAMESE DRIVING LICENSE TO PASS THE MOTORBIKE LICENSE
TOTAL COST: around 500,000 VND for these 2 procedures
This applies to people who hold a driving license from their own country and a Vietnam residence card (or just a visa, depending on which city you apply in). Some restrictions may apply depending on where you obtained your driving license, as you need to be able to get a notarized translation and it will be more difficult with uncommon languages.
How to convert your home country driving license to a Vietnam driving license in Ho Chi Minh City?
This can be done without speaking Vietnamese and without the help of a Vietnamese friend!
First, get the following together:
- Official translation of your Driving License (2 copies) from your home country (you must find an official translator for your language with notary powers to do this – your Embassy/Consulate should be able to inform you, for some language you might be able to do it at the People’s Committee on 47, Le Duan in District 1, HCMC)
- Notarized copy of your Driving License translation (2 copies) which has to be done at the Department of Justice of Ho Chi Minh City (directions) – some official translators may do the two above steps for you, but the important thing is to get the stamp from the Department of Justice on your Driving License’s translation
- 2 copies of your Passport (first page, visa/resident card, and entry stamp) – simples black & white copies
- Filled in form from the Transit Authority (Download here) or get it at the Department of Transport when applying
- Original Resident card (if applicable)
- Original Driving License from your home country, and your old Vietnam Driving License in case of renewal
- Original Passport
Then, go to the Department of Transport (the driving license holder needs to be present) – for Ho Chi Minh City the address is Sở Giao thông vận tải, 252 Lý Chính Thắng, Phường 9, District 3, HCMC located in the end of the alley – can be tricky to find (google map link),
Once there, go straight into the building (1st floor).
- The security guard can point you in the right direction (they usually know what foreigners are there for)
- At the counter, present all the documents listed above – the officer will certify that all is in order
- If you forgot to copy some documents, you can find copy shops nearby
- When handing all the documents, you will have to pay 135,000 VND for the application fee
- You will then be asked to sit by a wall and they will take your photo on the spot
- Note that at this point your Vietnamese driving license will only reflect the types of vehicles stated in your original driving license from your home country
This means that if you have a B1 (car) driving license in your home country, but not an A class (motorbike up to 175cc ), you will still need to add it later to your Vietnamese license. For the motorbike license, you just have to pass a practical exam (you will be excused from the theoretical part, which is considered by the Vietnamese as proven by the driving license you are converting now).
After everything is done, you will get a confirmation form stating your name, your license type, and the completion date for the conversion (usually after 10 working days).
- You will be directed to a little table in the corner of the room where a Post officer will ask you to fill in your preferred address to receive your Vietnam driving license
- Fill in your postal details and pay 30,000 VND to receive it directly, or you can come back in person to collect it
- They will inform you of the exact date the courier will come to your stated address – you can put your office address, and give the receipt to someone else to collect it)
- The officer will give you a receipt which you will have to hand to the courier that will come to deliver your Vietnam driving license
Total Issuing Cost for your Vietnam Driving License: 200,000 VND (for the translation/notarization) + 135,000 VND(application fee) + 30,000 VND (postal fee) = 365,000 VND.
Ready for the next steps? You’re almost there!
How to use your converted Vietnam driving license to get the motorbike license?
(not needed if your original driving license already had it – and you don’t have to take the theoretical exam in any case)
Warning, the following steps will be harder to do without speaking Vietnamese or without the help of a Vietnamese friend.
Get the documents below:
- 04 photos [3x4cm] with blue background for the driving center
- 01 photo (any size, any background) for the health check
- Copy of your Passport (1 copy, first page, visa/resident card, and entry stamp)
- Filled in form (available on the spot at the driving center)
- Health check results
- Original Vietnam Driving License
- Original Passport
- Original Resident Card (if applicable)
Your first step will be to have a health check to show you are able to drive.
There are only 3 certified hospitals in HCMC (if you live in another city you can get the list of certified hospitals at your local driving center) to get it done:
An Sinh Hospital, 10 Trần Huy Liệu, Phường 12, Phú Nhuận, Hồ Chí Minh (google map link) – cost around 1,5M VND.
Binh Thanh Hospital, 112AB Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Phường 1, Bình Thạnh, Hồ Chí Minh (google map link) – cost around 600,000 VND
- Giao Thong Van Tai Hospital, 136 Cách Mạng Tháng Tám, Phường 12, Quận 10, Hồ Chí Minh (google map link) – cost around 185,000 VND.
The health check fee is from 185,000 VND to over 1M VND, depending on the hospital.
You dont need to schedule a visit and can just show up directly but you might need to wait on busy days.
You should wear formal clothes (long pants, no shorts) and avoid drinking (too much) alcohol the day before, as they will test your urine and your breathe for alcohol.
Bring along your original passport and a photo to apply for the health check, just follow the steps and get the results.
This part will definitely be easier with a Vietnamese friend or colleague.
Then, go to the driving center – for HCMC it is located at Vocational Colleges 7, Trường cao đẳng nghề số 7, 51/2 Thành Thái, Phường 14, District 10, HCMC (google map link).
Once there, you will be given a form to fill in your personal information.
- With your health check approved in hand, go back to the front office where they will inform you of the available exam schedules and ask you to choose one
- You will be asked to pay the license issuing fee
- They will give you a receipt which serves as your exam registration
- They will return all original documents to you straight away
- On the exam date (can be any day – mine was booked for 7 AM), go back to the same place with your exam registration receipt in hand
- Bring also your original Passport, Vietnam Driving License, and Resident Card
- The exam takes around 15 minutes and is a just a basic route that you need to complete (roundabout, narrow path, driving over bumps, that’s it) – the motorbike is provided
- Note that you cannot use your own bike, and have to use their bike – a semi-automatic old motorbike. You should definitely practice a few times beforehand. You can just show up at the driving center any day from 7:30 am to 5 pm, and rent a test bike for 50,000 VND for 30min practice (the office is located at the entrance gate)
- Results are announced as soon as you completed the test
- You will then sign the issuance form
- 10 working days later, they will issue a new Vietnam driving license for you for both car and motorbike
– License issuing fee: 135.000 VND
– Exam fee: 90.000 VND
– Health Check fee: 70.000 VND
Do not be alarmed by the length of this explanation, just get the documents right, Vietnamese public services are actually quite efficient when it comes to this.
Having a Vietnamese friend to help you out makes everything a whole lot easier of course.
I am very happy to share this and all I know is spelled out in this article in good faith.
However, I cannot be held responsible for anything resulting from this and cannot help with any further information sorry!
Hope it helps, good luck!
Best of Motorbike Drivers in Vietnam 😉
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