Editor’s Note: We’ve previously written about ways to get a motorbike license on your own, but in the spirit of getting more on-the-ground information for things relevant to day to day live in Vietnam (especially for foreigners), we’re publishing another guide on How to Get a Vietnam Drivers license, made by our friend Matt K. Hope this information is useful for you.
How to Get a Vietnam Drivers License
If you are in Vietnam your driving license situation is one of the following four:
- You have no driving licence at all, not even foreign (Fees 2021: 1,000,000 VND)
- You have a foreign car licence B2 (Fees 2021: 1,000,000 VND)
- You have a foreign motorcycle licence A1 or A2 (Fees in 2018: 237,000 VND)
- You have a Vietnamese driving licence A1, but it expired (Don’t know yet)
In either case you can drive a motorcycle with less than 50 ccm without any licence as of 2021. The government has plans to require a driving license in the future, but this is not implemented yet. As a foreigner you can only get a Vietnamese driving licence A1 which is valid for motorcycles up to 175 ccm. This should cover most cases.
To get an A1 driving license read the following paragraphs. If you know any updates, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of 2022, your driving license will expire at the end of your visa or residence card, only Vietnamese nationals get licenses that are 10 years valid. Step 4 describes how to renew it.
Thinking about buying a bike? Read this:Practical Tips for Buying a Second Hand Motorbike in Vietnam
1 – You have no driving license whatsoever
This is the most challenging case. You will have to finish a theory course with 200 questions in Vietnamese! This test is done at Trường cao đẳng nghề số 7, 51/2 Thành Thái, Phường 14, District 10, HCMC (google maps link) on computers It looks like this:
The front row has 10 computers where you select the correct answers. You can get a paper copy of the 200 questions at the location of step two (see below). This theory test is just one additional step with no extra cost. Everything else is like case 2. Like you first have to sign up at the international school in district 8 and pay the fee of 1 million VND. Look at this:
Some questions have images, though. I’ll have to figure out if you could use google translate.
It’s easier if you already have a driving license. Look at step 2:
2 – You have a foreign car driving license B2
This frees you from any theory test. Your license indicates that you know the rules of street traffic. But you need a health check (?) and a practice test.
First you head to the driving school in district 8: Trường dạy lái xe Thế Giới, 937 Tạ Quang Bửu, Phường 5, Quận 8, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (google maps link). The process fee is 1 million VND. They probably organize the health check for you (was a required step in 2019 as described here). In addition to the money you need:
- Five passport photos
- Your passport
- Your visa or residence card
- Your driving license, valid at least 3 more months
With these documents (they make some copies locally for further procedures) and a registration form they will let you know your test drive date some 2 weeks later. With this date you arrive in the morning at the test drive site in district 10: Trường cao đẳng nghề số 7, 51/2 Thành Thái, Phường 14, District 10, HCMC (google maps link)
The most difficult part is to drive a semiautomatic bike two times around the 8 seen in this picture without crossing the white border on either side:
This needs some practice and both the acceleration in your right hand and the rear brake from your right foot. That’s why you arrive early in the morning to have some practice minutes before you’re assigned for the actual test later. There you will wait in line until your name is called.
Once you finish this practice test successfully they submit your documents to the authorities. 4 weeks later (or 10 working days???) you can pick up your driving licence at the office in 252 Lý Chính Thắng, Phường 9, Quận 3, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (google maps link). The office in the first floor hands out the licences.
3 – You have a foreign motorcycle licence A1 or A2
If you already have a foreign motorcycle licence A1 or A2 you just need to transcribe your valid licence. It involves 3 steps/visits/days:
- Make 2 copies and submit them for a notarized translation
- Pick up the notarized translation and submit the application to the driving licence office in district 3
- Pick up your driving licence (update 2022: you can receive it via mail).
You start at the first location in district 1: People’s Committee of District 1 (UBND Quận 1) 45-47 Lê Duẩn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (google maps link). You need 2 copies of your national driving licence (can be made on spot for VND 2000). Update 2022: Get two copies of your TRC and passport as well! Then go to counter 6 to get your licence officially translated (2 copies with red stamp – for VND 100,000). You get your receipt and can pick up the translation usually 2 days later. At counter 10 you get a notarized copy of your passport for 35,000 VND in just 5 minutes.
With this red stamped notarized translation (and TRC copy and passport copy) you go to the second location in district 3: 252 Lý Chính Thắng, Phường 9, Quận 3, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (google maps link). You fill out a form, they take a picture, and it costs ca. 135,000 VND. You can pick it up 10 working days later (before 5:00 PM!). Update January 2022: They require two [notarized] copies of your passport as well! This can be done for some 35,000 VND at the first location. Second update: You can get your driving licence sent to your place from the post office in front of the driving licence office. Some more 80,000 (?) VND and they mail it home, you don’t have to go there a third time.
4 – You have a Vietnamese driving license A1 that expired
You have to go to office in 252 Lý Chính Thắng, Phường 9, Quận 3, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (google maps link). You got your Vietnamese driving license there at the office on the first floor in the first time. Now it’s time to renew the license. You need:
- Your driving license
- Your passport with a valid visa or residence card
- The fee of 70,000 VND.
They take a new picture of you. you can pick up the driving license a week later.
Appendix 1: Procedure until the end of 2020
Hem 51 Thành Thái, Phường 14, Quận 10, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
You need your passport, maybe a car driving license and it costs around 900,000 VND.
Theory is 50,000 VND, you need some copies (can be done on site) and a driving test with an eight on a semi automatic. You have to be used to drive a semi automatic in first gear and handle slow speeds with the throttle on the right hand and rear brake on the right foot. If you drive outside the line you have to repeat the test!
With your car driving license you might be able to skip the theory test at this place. In front there are 10 computers to answer traffic rules as a test.
Pictures of the practice part are on the next page.
The practice test looks like this:
It’s not impossible to get a Vietnamese driver’s license on your own. It will take some time, patience, and of course money, but it’s certainly an option for you to do it yourself and not have to go through an agent.
Though if you would like to use the services of a trustworthy agent, there are options for that as well, which we will post about in the near future.
In the meantime, here are some points of inspiration.
Responsible bike drivers have, amongst other things, good health insuranceCompare some options that are best for your situation