If you’ve lived in Vietnam for a while then you should definitely consider getting a Vietnamese driving license.
It’s relatively easy for a foreigner to get a driving license in Vietnam-I recently got my driving license in Ho Chi Minh and it was very straightforward.
There’s two ways to do it. Well there is a third way which is to pay around $200 and get one no questions asked..but I’ll list the above board ways here..
Converting a Foreign Driving License to a Vietnamese Driving License
This is the simplest way to get your license, but it will only last as long as your visa. This is ok if you have a TRC or a long visa, but if you’re only on a 3-month visa then you’re probably better off going for option 2 below. First you have to make a copy of your current license, passport and visa and then get a translation of your current license. This can be done cheaply throughout the city and shouldn’t cost more than 100k Dong.
The documents then have to be notarized (made official) and brought to the Transportation Office at 252 Ly Chinh Thanh in District 3. Here you walk up to the first floor, fill out a form, hand over your documents and wait in a run down room until they are ready to take your photo. Don’t forget to take your original documents with you as they will ask to see these alongside the copies.
When this is done you hand over 135k Dong (~$7) and take a piece of paper to an old lady sitting in the corner of the room. You hand over 30k and she will make a note of where you want the driving license sent.
And that’s it, you’re done! Your shiny new Vietnamese license should arrive in around 2 weeks (mine took 3) and it’s a nice feeling to finally be legal on the road here.
I had a Vietnamese friend help me through the process which is recommend.
I did see a few ‘helper’ type guys outside hanging around looking for some lone foreigners to pounce on. I’m not sure what they charge to guide you through the process but I expect it’s not too high.
Total cost to convert your foreign license to a Vietnamese driving license (without translation and notarization fees):
135k + 35K=170k (~$9) Very cheap indeed.
Getting a New Vietnamese Driving License
To get a life-time driving license with no expiry date or to get a new license if you don’t already have one you will need to take a motorbike test.
You need to go to the Vocational College at Trường cao đẳng nghề số 7, 51/2 Thành Thái, Phường 14, District 10, HCMC. You will need to show your original documents and copies, and will need to take a quick health check. The health check will test for alcohol and drugs via a urine sample (so don’t go partying the night before) and also your pulse.
You then head to go to the front office with your health check receipt where you will be given a slot in the near future to return for your practical test. When you return you will have to complete a very simple driving test (figure eight, over bumps, roundabout) and that’s it.
If you pass you will be issued with your new license normally within 7 days, but it can take a little longer.
Total cost for a new license from scratch is:
Health check fee: 70K Dong
Test fee: 90K Dong
License fee: 135k Dong
It’s a little more complex to get a new license but it’s definitely worth it if you keep renewing your visa every few months as you’ll have no expiry date on your license. There are a few agents out there, normally the visa ones who will get you a license no questions asked for around 5 million dong. This might seem like an easy option but i’m not sure if the license would hold up if you got into an accident-it may even get you into more trouble.
I believe it’s simple enough to renew your license once you have it, so if you’re only here for a short while or are not sure how long you’ll be in Vietnam then the first option might be better.