What You Need to Know About Driving License Conversion in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, bikes play an essential role in transportation. Naturally, having a driver’s license is crucial for most bikers.

If you’re planning to ride a bike in Vietnam, be aware that Vietnam no longer recognizes foreign driving licenses due to recent legal changes. Only International Driving Permits and Vietnamese bike licenses are valid. Continue reading to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s driving license regulations.

Giấy phép lái xe quốc tế - IDP có được phép sử dụng tại Việt Nam?

IDL – 1968 Convention International Driving License

Starting August 1st, 2016, Vietnam introduced the IDL (International Driving License) in line with the 46/2016/ND-CP decree. This is a welcome development. However, it’s limited to just 3 countries as per the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic concerning IDPs. For validation, it’s imperative to carry both your original driving license from your home country and an appropriate motorcycle qualification. By doing so, you ensure your riding activities in Vietnam are lawful.

IDP – 1949 Convention International Driving Permit

Several countries, such as Australia, UK, USA, and Canada, recognize the 1949 Geneva Convention rather than the 1968 Convention. Regrettably, if you hail from one of these nations, your IDPs won’t be valid for riding motorbikes in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, if you’re riding a motorbike with an engine capacity exceeding 50cc, you must possess either a Vietnam motorbike license or an International Driving License. For bikes with a capacity under 175cc, an A1 license is required, while those over 175cc necessitate an A2 license.

Vietnamese Driving License Status

Currently, for tourists in Vietnam, obtaining a motorbike license appears to be an unattainable task solely with a tourist visa. The essential prerequisites are a business visa, a work permit, or a residence card. These are also necessary for the registration of motorbikes within the country.

Status 1: While possession of a driving license from your home country does permit you to drive cars or motorbikes, this is often the sole documentation tourists have. Regrettably, as of the present moment, there isn’t a mechanism in place to convert an international driving license into a Vietnamese motorbike license.

Status 2: If you possess a driving license from your home country that authorizes you to operate both cars and motorcycles, you’re in luck. This enables you to directly obtain an equivalent Vietnamese motorbike license without the need for a driving test. Essentially, this process involves a straightforward license conversion.

Status 3: Holding a driving license from your home country, but it only allows you to operate cars? Don’t fret. You can still acquire a Vietnamese motorbike license, but there’s a catch: you must successfully complete a practical motorbike riding test. On the bright side, you’re spared from taking a theoretical test about motorbikes.

Status 4: Traveling without any driving license? This presents a bit of a challenge. In this scenario, you’re obligated to pass both theoretical and practical driving tests. The theory test is computerized, comprises 20 questions in Vietnamese, and to succeed, you need to correctly answer at least 18 of them. The added complication? No translation assistance is available, necessitating proficiency in Vietnamese, both in reading and comprehension.

Status 5: In possession of a riding license from your home country with a motorcycle endorsement? Also, have an IDP aligned with the 1949 Convention? Unfortunately, Vietnam doesn’t recognize these credentials, leaving you ineligible to ride legally within its boundaries.

Status 6: If you possess a riding license from your home country with a motorcycle endorsement, and it’s complemented by an IDP validated under the 1968 Convention, then you’re in a favorable position. With these documents, you can legally ride in Vietnam. However, take note that the legality is bound by the displacement constraints mentioned in your licenses. Ensure that your motorbike complies with these stipulations to maintain legal standing.

Converting a Foreign Driving License to an International Driving License

About the IAA International Driver’s License

The International Driver’s License issued by the IAA (International Automobile Association) is recognized by the U.S. Government. It grants holders the privilege to operate vehicles in a vast number of countries, specifically in 192 nations worldwide. This makes it a valuable document for those who travel frequently and wish to drive during their trips.

This license adheres to the universal standards set by the International Automobile Association, making it appropriate for driving in various nations that have ratified and entered into these agreements.

Why is an International Driver’s License Important?

Diverse Licensing Systems: Every nation has its unique licensing protocol. For instance, in Vietnam, the provincial Departments of Transport issue licenses, while in Thailand, there’s a unified national license. Other countries like Australia, Spain, and many others have their distinct formats and processes for licensing.

Harmonizing Global Standards: To address this inconsistency, the US has coordinated with driving associations from 192 countries to create an international driving license, the IAA license, which aligns with shared standards. This ensures ease of driving for foreigners in all these member countries.

Purpose of the IAA License: This license is specifically designed for individuals who wish to operate motorcycles abroad, particularly in one of the 192 countries that have agreed to recognize and accept the IAA licenses.

Eligibility Criteria for the IAA International Driver’s License

Purpose of Visit: The IAA International Driver’s License is designed for foreigners who are in the country for reasons such as visiting family, tourism, or temporary stays, ranging from 6 months to a year. It ensures hassle-free vehicle operation during their stay.

Limitations: This license does not replace a local driving license. If an individual intends to become a permanent resident or work in a country long-term, they should undergo the necessary testing to obtain the official driving license of that particular country.

Requirements: To qualify for the IAA International Driver’s License, an applicant only needs to hold a valid driving license from their home country (be it Vietnam, Japan, Korea, China, UK, France, Spain, Germany, etc.). With the IAA license in hand, they can then drive without constraints in the specified member country.

Advantages of Holding an International Driver’s License

  1. Versatile Identification: The International Driver’s License or International Driving Permit (IDP) is not just a driving document but can also act as a reliable form of identification. This can come in handy for tasks like hotel check-ins, setting up bank accounts, and other processes that typically require a passport for identification.
  2. Ease of Vehicle Rental: One of the main advantages of having an IDP is the ease it offers when renting a vehicle abroad. Many car rental services across the globe mandate the possession of an International Driving License for rental, making it a near-essential document for travelers wishing to drive on their own.
  3. Broad Recognition: Being recognized in numerous countries worldwide, an International Driving License opens up a world of possibilities, allowing holders to drive in foreign nations legally and confidently.

In essence, having an International Driver’s License not only smoothens the driving experience in a foreign country but also offers added conveniences that can make international travel more comfortable and hassle-free.

Getting Your Foreign License Converted to a Vietnamese Motorbike License

Transitioning your foreign driving license to a Vietnamese motorbike license is perhaps the most straightforward method to acquire the right to ride in Vietnam. This process frees you from undergoing any theoretical or practical riding examinations, provided you have a valid motorcycle license from your home country. Additionally, it’s essential to have either a business visa or a residence card with a minimum of three months’ validity.

The process entails the submission of several documents:

  1. Essential Documents: Photocopies of your passport, visa, and your original driving license from your home country are required. The copying process is quick, usually completed in a day or two.
  2. Processing Time: Once your documents are submitted, you typically have to wait between 7 to 10 days (as per Status 2) to receive your Vietnamese motorbike license.

If a riding test is mandatory (in accordance with Status 3), it can extend the process:

  1. Riding Test: The tests are often scheduled on a weekly basis in specific locations like Hanoi. Depending on the demand and schedules, there might be a waiting period.
  2. Application Center: All applications for the provisional driving license should be submitted to the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Center, situated at 16 Cao Ba Quat street, Hanoi.

In conclusion, while converting your foreign driving license into a Vietnamese one is relatively simple, it is essential to have all your documents in order and be prepared for any waiting periods. Whether you’re bypassing the tests or taking them, always ensure you’re familiar with Vietnamese road rules and practice safe driving.

Through the information that we provide, we aim to offer insights and essential knowledge to our customers. Our service, named “AZ BIKES”, endeavors to assist and support individuals with various concerns related to bike licenses, Visa processing, and other related issues. We understand the intricacies that can often be associated with such processes, and our goal is to ensure that these are handled swiftly and efficiently for our clients.

In addition to these services, we proudly offer a bike rental service that boasts a diverse range of bikes suitable for different needs and preferences. Whether you’re an enthusiast looking for a specific type of bike or a casual rider in need of a reliable mode of transportation, we believe we have something in our collection that will meet your requirements.

Safety is paramount to us, which is why each of our rental bikes comes equipped with comprehensive bike insurance. This ensures that our clients can have peace of mind while using our bikes, knowing they are protected against unforeseen circumstances. The streets can be unpredictable, but with our insurance, you are covered.

Furthermore, understanding the legal landscape of a country is vital, especially when it comes to transportation. This is particularly true in Vietnam, where traffic rules and regulations pertaining to bikes can be specific and unique. That’s why, apart from our primary services, we also offer detailed consultation regarding Vietnamese bike-related laws and regulations. Our team of experts is dedicated to ensuring that our clients have all the necessary information to navigate the streets of Vietnam safely and legally.

In summary, at AZ BIKES, we don’t just offer bikes; we offer a holistic service designed to cater to all your biking needs in Vietnam. From providing top-tier bikes for rent to ensuring you’re well-informed about local laws, we are here to assist every step of the way. We invite you to explore what we have to offer and guarantee a seamless biking experience in the heart of Vietnam.


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