How To Get An International Driving License in Thailand


In Thailand, driving without a valid license is not only illegal but can also lead to complications with local authorities and insurance companies. An international driving license is recognized by Thai law and simplifies the process of renting vehicles or dealing with traffic officials. It serves as a universally accepted form of identification and confirms your ability to drive in a foreign country.

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For foreigners, this is especially important as it bridges the language barrier and aids in smoother interactions. This article will delve into the basics of how to get an international driving license in Thailand for foreigners.


  • Eligibility for an international driving license in Thailand requires a valid national license, appropriate age, and residency status.
  • Necessary documents include a valid passport, current driving license, photographs, and possibly a translation.
  • The application process involves submitting documents at a DLT office, completing a form, and paying a fee.
  • Tests for the international license, if required, may include theory, practical, and vision examinations.
  • Collect your international driving license from the DLT office after processing and verification.
  • The international driving license is valid for one year and must be accompanied by your national license.
  • Renew your international license before expiry by following the same procedure as the initial application.
  • Adhere to Thai driving laws and customs for safety and compliance.
  • Utilize resources like the DLT website, expat forums, and embassy contacts for additional support.

How To Get An International Driving License in Thailand: Eligibility Criteria

To apply for an international driving license in Thailand, it’s essential to meet certain criteria. These requirements ensure that all drivers on Thai roads are qualified and adhere to safety standards. Understanding these criteria will help you determine your eligibility and prepare for the application process.

Age Requirement

Minimum Age: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for an international driving license in Thailand. This aligns with the general legal age for driving in the country.

Validity of Existing National Driving License

Current License: Your existing driving license from your home country must be valid. An expired license will not be accepted for the application.

License Details: Ensure that your current license accurately reflects your personal information and driving categories. Any discrepancies may cause delays or issues in processing.

Residency Status in Thailand

Tourists and Short-term Visitors: If you are in Thailand as a tourist or on a short-term visa, you can still apply for an international driving license. However, the validity might be limited based on your length of stay.

Expats and Long-term Residents: For those living in Thailand on a long-term basis, such as expats, the process remains the same. Your international driving license will generally be valid for the same duration as your visa or work permit.

Necessary Documents

When applying for an international driving license in Thailand, having the right documents is crucial. This section outlines the specific paperwork you’ll need to gather before beginning your application. Ensuring you have all these documents ready can streamline the process and prevent unnecessary delays.

Document TypeDescriptionNotes
Valid National Driving LicenseYour current license from your home country.Must be valid, with no restrictions.
PassportA valid passport with clear details.At least six months remaining validity.
Visa or Residence ProofDocument validating your stay in Thailand.Tourist visa, work permit, etc.
PhotographsRecent passport-sized photos.Check size and background color requirements.
Translation of National LicenseCertified translation if not in English or Thai.Done by a recognized translator or embassy.
Application FormApplication form for the international driving license.Available at DLT offices or their official website.

Primary Documents Required

  • Valid National Driving License:
    • Your current driving license issued from your home country.
    • Ensure it’s valid and has no restrictions that might affect its acceptance.
  • Passport:
    • A valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity.
    • Ensure your passport has clear and legible personal details.
  • Visa or Residence Proof:
    • A valid visa or proof of residency in Thailand.
    • This can be a tourist visa, work permit, or any other document that validates your stay in Thailand.

Additional Documents

  • Photographs:
    • Recent passport-sized photographs, typically two, are required.
    • Check the specific size and background color requirements, as they can vary.
  • Translation of National Driving License (if applicable):
    • If your current driving license is not in English or Thai, a certified translation may be necessary.
    • This translation should be done by a recognized translator or embassy.
  • Application Form:
    • A completed application form, available at the Department of Land Transport office or on their official website.
    • Ensure all information is filled out accurately and matches the details on your other documents.

Tips for Document Preparation

  • Double-check for Accuracy: Ensure all personal information matches across all documents. Discrepancies can cause delays.
  • Keep Copies: It’s advisable to keep copies of all documents in case of loss or additional verification needs.

Application Process

Navigating the application process for an international driving license in Thailand can be straightforward if you follow these steps methodically. This section provides a clear guide on where and how to apply, including details about the application form and associated fees.

Where to Apply

  • Department of Land Transport (DLT):
    • Visit your nearest DLT office. Locations can be found on the DLT’s official website.
    • Some regions may have specific offices designated for international licenses.

Steps of Application

  • Submit Your Documents:
    • Present all the necessary documents listed in the previous section.
    • Ensure everything is complete to avoid return visits.
  • Fill Out the Application Form:
    • Obtain an application form from the DLT office or download it from their website.
    • Fill out the form carefully, ensuring all details are accurate and match your documents.
  • Pay the Fee:
    • There will be a fee for the application process.
    • Fees can vary, so check the current rate at the DLT office or on their website.
    • Payment methods may include cash, credit/debit card, or bank transfer.

After Submission

  • Processing Time:
    • The processing time can vary. Inquire at the DLT office for an estimated timeframe.
    • Some offices may offer same-day service, while others might take a few days.
  • Receipt of Application:
    • You will receive a receipt or acknowledgment of your application.
    • Keep this receipt safe as it may be required for collection or inquiry.

Key Points to Remember

  • Office Hours: Check the office hours and try to visit during less busy times for quicker service.
  • Ask Questions: If unsure about any step, don’t hesitate to ask the DLT staff for clarification.

The Test (If Applicable)

How To Get An International Driving License in Thailand

In some cases, you might be required to take a test to obtain your international driving license in Thailand. This depends on your existing driving license and the requirements of the Department of Land Transport (DLT). Below are the key points about the testing process.

Understanding the Testing Requirements

  • Assessing the Need for a Test:
    • Whether you need to take a test often depends on the country of issuance and type of your existing driving license.
    • Check with the DLT office or their website for specific requirements related to your situation.

Types of Tests

  • Theory Test:
    • A written or computer-based test assessing your knowledge of Thai traffic rules and regulations.
    • Study materials can be found online or at the DLT office.
  • Practical Driving Test:
    • A test to assess your driving skills, usually conducted on a course at the DLT office.
    • Familiarize yourself with the type of vehicle you’ll be tested in and the test course layout, if possible.
  • Eye Test:
    • A simple test to ensure your vision meets the necessary standards for driving.

Preparing for the Test

  • Study and Practice:
    • Dedicate time to studying Thai road rules and practicing driving, if a practical test is required.
    • Online resources, driving schools, or educational booklets from the DLT can be helpful.
  • Scheduling the Test:
    • Tests are typically scheduled in advance. Inquire at the DLT office for available dates and times.
    • Some offices may allow walk-in tests, but it’s best to confirm beforehand.

On the Day of the Test

  • Arrive Early:
    • Ensure you arrive at the DLT office well before your scheduled test time.
    • This gives you time to relax and prepare mentally.
  • What to Bring:
    • Your current driving license, passport, and any other required documents.
    • Glasses or contact lenses, if you use them for driving.

After the Test

  • Receiving Your Results:
    • Results for the theory and eye tests are usually given on the same day.
    • In case of a practical test, you may need to wait for an assessment.
  • Next Steps:
    • If you pass, proceed with the remaining steps of the international driving license application.
    • In case of failure, ask about the process for retaking the test.

Collecting Your International Driving License

Once you have completed the application process, and if applicable, passed any required tests, the next step is to collect your international driving license. This section outlines the process and what to expect when you go to pick up your license.

Notification for License Collection

  • Receiving Notification:
    • The Department of Land Transport (DLT) office will inform you when your international driving license is ready for collection.
    • This notification might be given verbally at the time of application, via SMS, email, or a phone call, depending on the office’s system.

At the DLT Office

  • What to Bring:
    • Bring your receipt or acknowledgment slip given during the application.
    • Also, carry your passport and current national driving license for identification purposes.
  • Collection Process:
    • Visit the DLT office where you applied for the license.
    • Present your receipt and identification documents to the relevant counter.
    • The staff will verify your documents and then provide you with your international driving license.

Reviewing Your License

  • Check Your License Details:
    • Once you receive your license, immediately check all the details for accuracy.
    • This includes your name, photograph, license number, and the categories of vehicles you are permitted to drive.
    • If there are any errors, notify the DLT staff immediately for correction.

Using Your International Driving License

  • Understanding the Validity:
    • Be aware of the license’s validity period. International driving licenses typically have a one-year validity from the date of issue.
    • Remember that this license is a legal document. Keep it safe and always carry it along with your national driving license when driving.

Validity and Renewal

Understanding the validity period of your international driving license and knowing how to renew it are essential aspects of maintaining your driving privileges in Thailand. This section provides essential information on these topics.

Validity of the International Driving License

  • Duration of Validity:
    • An international driving license issued in Thailand typically has a validity of one year from the date of issue.
    • Always check the expiration date on the license to ensure it remains valid.
  • Conditions of Validity:
    • The international driving license is valid only when accompanied by your current national driving license.
    • Ensure both documents are kept up-to-date and valid.

Renewal Process

  • When to Apply for Renewal:
    • Begin the renewal process before your international driving license expires.
    • It’s advisable to apply for renewal at least a month in advance to avoid any lapse in validity.
  • Renewal Requirements:
    • The requirements for renewal are generally the same as for the initial application.
    • Bring your current international driving license, national driving license, passport, and any other necessary documents.
  • Application for Renewal:
    • Visit the Department of Land Transport (DLT) office to submit your renewal application.
    • Fill out the renewal form and pay the applicable fee, as you did for the initial application.

After Renewal

  • Collection of the New License:
    • The process for collecting your renewed license is similar to the initial collection.
    • Ensure you check all the details on the renewed license for accuracy.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Stay Informed:
    • Keep abreast of any changes in regulations or requirements for international driving licenses in Thailand.
    • Regularly visit the DLT website or contact their office for the latest information.
  • Plan Ahead:
    • Avoid waiting until the last minute for renewal to ensure continuous validity of your license.

Tips for Driving in Thailand

Adapting to driving in Thailand can be a challenge for foreigners. It’s not just about following the rules, but also understanding local driving habits and conditions. This section provides practical tips to help you navigate Thai roads safely and confidently.

Understanding Local Driving Laws

  • Drive on the Left:
    • In Thailand, driving is on the left-hand side of the road. This might be different from what you’re used to, so take some time to adapt.
  • Know the Traffic Rules:
    • Familiarize yourself with local traffic laws. Pay special attention to speed limits, traffic signals, and signage.

Dealing with Traffic and Road Conditions

  • Expect Heavy Traffic:
    • Major cities like Bangkok are known for heavy traffic. Plan your journeys with extra time to accommodate potential delays.
  • Be Prepared for Different Road Conditions:
    • Road quality varies in Thailand, from well-maintained highways to rural roads with potholes. Drive cautiously and adjust your speed accordingly.

Safety and Etiquette

  • Wear Seatbelts:
    • Always wear a seatbelt, both as a driver and a passenger. It’s not just safe, it’s also the law.
  • Motorbikes and Scooters:
    • Be aware of motorbikes and scooters, especially in cities. They can appear suddenly and from unexpected directions.
  • Respect for Pedestrians:
    • Yield to pedestrians at crossings. Be vigilant, as pedestrians might sometimes cross roads unexpectedly.

Emergency Situations

  • In Case of an Accident:
    • If involved in an accident, stay calm and contact the local police. Use your insurance details as necessary.
  • Roadside Assistance:
    • Keep contact numbers for emergency services and roadside assistance handy in case of breakdowns or other emergencies.

Navigating with Technology

  • Use Navigation Tools:
    • GPS or smartphone navigation apps can be extremely helpful, especially in unfamiliar areas.

Cultural Considerations

  • Patience and Courtesy:
    • Thai culture values courtesy and patience. When in doubt, it’s better to yield and avoid confrontations on the road.

Additional Resources

  • Department of Land Transport (DLT):
    • Website: DLT Official Website
    • Contact Information: Provides office locations, phone numbers, and email addresses for various DLT branches.
  • Tourist Police:
    • Hotline: 1155 (available 24/7)
    • For any immediate assistance related to safety, accidents, or disputes on the road.
  • Thai Road Safety Committee:
    • Website: Thai RSC
    • Offers information on road safety norms and updates on traffic laws.
  • Embassy and Consular Websites:
    • Websites of your home country’s embassy or consulate in Thailand can provide specific advice and resources for their nationals.
  • Emergency Hotline:
    • General Emergency Number: 191
    • For immediate assistance in case of accidents or dangerous situations on the road.
  • Translation Services:
    • Useful for understanding and translating documents related to driving or legal requirements.
    • Contact details can be found at your embassy or through local expat centers.


Can I Drive in Thailand with My Home Country’s Driving License?

While some rental companies may accept your home country’s license, it’s legally required to have either a Thai driving license or an international driving license to drive in Thailand.

How Long Does It Take to Get an International Driving License in Thailand?

The processing time can vary depending on the DLT office, but it typically takes a few hours to a few days. Some offices offer same-day processing.

What Should I Do If I Lose My International Driving License in Thailand?

Report the loss at the nearest police station and contact the DLT office where you obtained the license. You may need to apply for a replacement and provide relevant documentation.

Is the International Driving License Valid in Countries Other Than Thailand?

Yes, the international driving license issued in Thailand is generally recognized worldwide. However, always check the specific requirements of the country you’re planning to drive in.

Do I Need to Carry My Passport While Driving?

It’s advisable to carry your passport or a copy of it along with your international driving license when driving in Thailand.

Can I Rent Any Type of Vehicle with an International Driving License?

Your ability to rent a specific type of vehicle depends on the categories listed on both your national and international driving licenses. Check with the rental agency for their specific requirements.

What Happens If I Get Caught Driving Without a Valid License?

Driving without a valid license can lead to fines, legal issues, and complications with insurance. It’s crucial to always have your international driving license and your national license with you while driving.

ABOUT Frederik

Frederik has been a pivotal part of the Thai community since 2013. As our trusted Relocation Expert, he combines personal experience with professional knowledge, guiding newcomers through the nuances of Thai relocation. When he's not assisting, Frederik immerses himself in Thailand's culture, cuisine and his many pets.

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