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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.

Guest post by JD Torrinha (updated in June 2017)

 

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 residence permit in Vietnam, I do not know how it is for those who don’t (feel free to comment and share below). Most countries are recognized, but I can’t say which are not.

 

Vietnam Driving License

 

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:

  1. 03 Photos (3x4cm)
  2. Translated and notarized copy of your Driving License 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 )
  3. Notarized copy of your Passport (copy all pages – can be done by a notary/translator, or at the People’s Committee Office on 47, Le Duan in District 1, HCMC – fast service around 45min for copies+notarization and cheap (30 – 50k), so I advise to do 2/3 additional copies for future needs)
  4. Filled in form from the Transit Authority (Download here)
  5. Original Resident card
  6. Original Driving License from your home country
  7. Original Passport

 

Then, go to the Ho Chi Minh Department of Transport (the driving license holder needs to be present) at Sở Giao thông vận tải, 252 Lý Chính Thắng, Phường 9, District 3, HCMC (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
  • You will be asked to sit by a wall and they will take your photo on the spot.
  • They will make copies and return all original documents to you straight away
  • Note that at this point your Vietnamese driving license will only reflect the types of vehicles stated in your original driving license

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 to your license. For the motorbike license, you just have to pass a practical exam (you are 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 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.

  • Fill your postal details and pay 30.000 VND ( this is the only way to get 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
  • They will inform you of the exact date the courier will come to your stated address (usually 10 working days) – I put my office address, and actually I wasn’t there on the day but left the receipt with a colleague and there was no problem)

Total Issuing Cost for your Vietnam Driving License: 135,000 VND (+ 30,000 VND postal fees)

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:

  1. 04 photos [3×4]
  2. Notarized copy of your Passport (all pages, if you did this in the HCMC People’s Committee as described above you should be OK)
  3. Filled in form (available on the spot)
  4. Original Vietnam Driving License
  5. Original Passport
  6. Original Resident Card

 

Go to 7 Vocational Colleges at 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 and past medical history information.

  • They will ask you to do a basic health check on the spot (chest auscultation, pulse check, and quick urine exam for alcohol and drug excess – not long, about 5 – 10 minutes)
  • With the 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
  • After you pay all required fees, 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
  • Results are announced 10 working days after and communicated directly by SMS to your phone (in Vietnamese)
  • Card is issued 5 working days after and you will be asked to come and collect it on the date stated

Total Fees:

– License issuing fee: 135.000 VND
– Exam fee: 90.000 VND
– Health Check fee: 70.000 VND

 

In conclusion

Do not be alarmed by the length of this explanation, as I am just trying to make sure that the process is as clear as possible.

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 😉

 

If you liked this, check out:

What is a Serviced Apartment in Vietnam?

5 thoughts on “Vietnam Driving License

  • DUBOS Yves
    on January 15, 2018

    Hi,

    Any idea if it is possible to have an international driving license with the Vietnamese driving license as a foreigner?

    Cheers,
    Yves

  • Malik - MySaigonCity
    on January 15, 2018

    Hi Yves,
    Yes according to Vietnam Law magazine this is indeed possible 🙂
    See http://vietnamlawmagazine.vn/how-to-obtain-an-international-driving-permit-in-vietnam-4969.html
    Best,
    Malik

  • Jason
    on April 8, 2018

    Great article and appreciate the lengthyness of it, very detailed!

    When you’re talking about “motorbike” are you referring to big bikes or even the small ones that 99% of the Vietnamese drive?
    Do you need a drivers license for the small motorbikes or “scooters”?

    Secondly I heard you can also transfer your home country drivers license into a local license if you have a business visa. Can you confirm this?

  • Malik - MySaigonCity
    on April 12, 2018

    Hi Jason, thank you for the nice words 🙂
    JD Torrinha contributed to MySaigonCity with this guide and deserves the credit (https://www.facebook.com/joaquimdiogo.torrinha)
    I asked him to help reply your questions (below), and I’m quite sure that you need a Driving License for any motorized vehicle, not matter its size.
    Here’s his answer:

    From what I know this is a process for bikes up to 175cc. I am not sure if one can simply enroll for a higher caliber.
    If one has a business visa yes one can simply transfer the categories shown in the original foreign license to a Vietnamese license. An exam needs to be taken for any categories not shown there.

  • Dai
    on April 12, 2018

    What if you have a Thai motorbike and car licence?

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