Can I get a Thai driving license on a Tourist Visa?

How to get a driving license in Thailand

This guide assumes you already have a driving license and/or motorcycle license in your home country.

If you’re driving a car or riding a motorcycle in Thailand you need the correct license to avoid on-the-spot fines but more importantly, be covered by insurance. Unfortunately, your license from back home doesn’t cut it.

If you’re just on holiday for up to 2 months, the easiest way to fix this is to apply for an IDP (International Driving Permit). It’s a small document that accompanies your original license. In the UK, this is obtained from the Post Office for £5.50 and expires after one year.

If you’re planning to stay in Thailand for a longer amount of time, you may want to consider getting a Thai license.

First things first…

Can I get a Thai driving license on a Tourist Visa?

The answer is yes. Regardless of what you read in forums, you can, and it is allowed. I did it when I was a tourist, and I asked in person at the Department of Land Transport. The official answer I was given is that anyone staying longer than 30 days can apply. This means if you’re entering on Visa Exemption, you cannot apply.

That said, it will be slightly more difficult because of one document – the ‘Affirmation of Residency’, sometimes called a Residence Certificate. In Bangkok, you’ll find it difficult to obtain this through the immigration office, whilst in Pattaya it’s far easier – more on that later


Before you head down to your local Department of Land Transportation, you need to gather the correct set of documents.

If you are applying for both a motorcycle and a car license, you need 2 sets of documents.

Here’s what you need to take with you:

  • Original passport
  • Original driving license (if it’s not in English, it will need to be officially translated.
  • Photocopy of the photo page, visa page, your last entry stamp, TM6 departure card (small slip you filled out on arrival). That’s 4 things from your passport.
  • Photocopy of your driving license
  • Filled out the application form
  • Original ‘Affirmation of Residence’ certificate (alternatively, a Work Permit can be used). You can use just one original for both licenses, just photocopy the original. But you do need the original!
  • Health certificate from a clinic or hospital.
  • Application form (download)

You need to sign the passport copies and the driving license copies, nothing else.

That’s all of the documentation you need. From that list, the only thing that can be frustrating is the Affirmation of Residence.

There is usually a place to do photocopies at the Land Transportation offices. There definitely is at Chatuchak. It’s 2 baht per copy just as you enter Building 4 on the right.