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Guide on Getting International Driver’s License in Thailand

Guide on Getting International Driver’s License in Thailand

Thinking of renting a car to explore Thailand’s gorgeous landscapes? If yes, getting an international driver’s permit will save you a lot of trouble on the road. 

My friend went through the same thing and having an IDP made it a breeze to drive around the country.

To get an international driver’s permit in Thailand, visit the Department of Land Transport, submit required documents, complete an application form, undergo a vision test, and pay the fee. 

The process typically takes less than an hour, and once approved, you can now legally drive in Thailand. 

In this guide, we’ll share an easy step-by-step process on how to obtain an IDP in Thailand. Read on and you’ll soon be ready to embark on an exciting driving adventure in the Land of Smiles!

How does one obtain an IDP in Thailand?

How does one obtain an IDP in Thailand
Image source: iStock
DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Time requiredSame day process
Things you needA computer, access to the internet, a valid passport or another form of identification, valid driver’s licence, two passport-sized photos, and the completed application form

An IDP acts as a translation of your driver’s licence and serves as proof of its validity in foreign countries, like Thailand. It’s a useful travel companion that helps bridge language and formatting gaps between your licence and local requirements.

Obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Thailand is a straightforward process that requires understanding the necessary steps, locations where you can apply, and the requirements you need to fulfil. 

Here’s a helpful guide to assist you in obtaining an IDP in Thailand.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

In order to acquire an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Thailand, it is imperative to fulfil certain legal requirements. 

These include:

  • Minimum of 18 years old 
  • Possessing a valid driver’s licence from your home country. 

It’s crucial to meet these requirements as any failure to do so may lead to the rejection of your IDP application.

Step 2: Visit the Department of Land Transport

The Department of Land Transport in Thailand is responsible for issuing IDPs. You will need to visit one of their offices to initiate the application process.

Step 2 Visit the Department of Land Transport
Image source: Loft Girl

Step 3: Gather Required Documents

Prepare the following documents before visiting the Department of Land Transport:

Valid passport: Ensure your passport has at least six months of validity remaining.

Valid driver’s licence: Bring your original driver’s licence from your home country. It should be valid and not expired.

Two passport-sized photos: Provide two recent passport-sized photos that comply with the specifications of the Department of Land Transport.

Completed application form: Obtain the application form from the Department of Land Transport or their website and fill it out accurately.

Step 4: Pay the Application Fee

There is an application fee for obtaining an IDP in Thailand. The fee may vary but commonly it’s around 505 Thai Baht (approximately $16). We recommend checking with the Department of Land Transport for the current amount.

Step 5: Submit Your Application

Submit your completed application form, along with the required documents and the application fee, at the Department of Land Transport office.

Visit during their designated operating hours, usually from Monday to Friday, starting at 8:30 AM and concluding at 4:30 PM. We recommend arriving early to avoid long queues. 

Once your application is submitted, the DLT office will initiate the processing procedure. The duration for processing may vary depending on the specific office, but typically, you can anticipate receiving your IDP on the same day or within a few hours.

What is the validity of the DP?

What is the validity of the DP
Image source: AmericanPassport.com

Regarding validity, an IDP is typically valid for one year from the date of issue. It’s important to note that the IDP does not replace your original driver’s licence but works in conjunction with it. 

You must carry both your IDP and your valid driver’s licence while driving in Thailand.

Does Thailand accept foreign driver’s licence?

Does Thailand accept foreign driver’s licence
Image source: iStock

Now, you might be wondering why Thailand doesn’t accept foreign driver’s licences on their own. The reason is quite simple: language and format differences. 

Thai authorities need to be able to understand and verify the validity of your licence easily. Foreign licences may be in a different language or follow a different format, which can cause confusion.

This is where the IDP comes in. It provides a standardised and universally recognized format that Thai authorities are familiar with. It serves as a translation of your licence, making it easier for them to understand its contents and verify its validity. 

In other words, the IDP acts as a bridge, ensuring clear communication and confirming that you hold a valid driver’s licence in your home country.

IDP being passed to someone else
Image source: iStock

However, in line with the regulations set forth by the UN Traffic Act of 1949 and the Thai Traffic Act of 1979, tourists and visitors in Thailand generally do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) if their driver’s licence meets specific criteria.

As long as your licence is in English, contains a recognizable photograph, and your home country is a member of the 1949 treaty (which is the case for most countries), you should typically be allowed to drive legally in Thailand without an IDP. 

It’s important to note, however, that local authorities may have their own interpretations and requirements. 

So it’s always a good idea to double-check with the relevant authorities or consult with an official source to ensure compliance with the specific regulations in place during your visit.

Tips and Resources for a Smooth IDP Application Process in Thailand

Tips and Resources for a Smooth IDP Application Process in Thailand
Image source: iStock

When applying for an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Thailand, consider the following tips and resources to ensure a smooth application process:

1. Research in advance: Familiarise yourself with the specific requirements and process for obtaining an IDP in Thailand. Visit the official website of the Department of Land Transport to gather accurate and up-to-date information.

2. Prepare required documents: Gather all the necessary documents, including a valid passport, original driver’s licence, passport-sized photos, and completed application form. Ensure they meet the specified criteria.

3. Seek assistance: If you have any doubts or need clarification, don’t hesitate to reach out to the DLT directly or consult with local authorities. They can provide guidance and answer any questions you may have.

3. Seek assistance
Image source: iStock

4. Allow sufficient processing time: While the processing time for an IDP application can vary, we advise planning ahead and allow ample time for the DLT to review and issue your IDP. Applying well in advance of your travel dates is recommended.

5. Follow instructions carefully: Pay close attention to the instructions provided by the DLT officers during the application process. Ensure you provide accurate information and complete all necessary forms correctly.

How does one renew an International Driving Permit in Thailand?

How does one renew an International Driving Permit in Thailand
Image source: iStock

Renewing your International Driving Permit (IDP) is a straightforward process that follows the same steps when applying.

Before doing so, review the expiration date of your current IDP. Renewal is necessary before it expires to ensure continuous validity.

What is the process for renting a car in Thailand with an IDP?

What is the process for renting a car in Thailand with an IDP
Image source: iStock

When renting a car in Thailand, it is essential to understand the specific requirements and policies of car rental companies regarding the International Driving Permit (IDP). 

While policies can vary among rental companies, here are some common factors to consider:

1. Valid IDP: Most car rental companies in Thailand require renters to possess a valid IDP along with their original driver’s licence from their home country. Ensure that your IDP is up to date and valid during your rental period.

2. Original Licence: Keep your original driver’s licence with you while driving in Thailand. Rental companies may request to see this when picking up the vehicle.

3. Additional Identification: Some rental companies may require additional identification documents, such as your passport, proof of residency, or a credit card, for security purposes. Be prepared to present these documents if requested.

4. Rental Agreement: Carefully read and understand the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, including any specific policies related to IDPs. Ensure that you comply with the rental company’s requirements throughout the rental period.

FAQs about International Driver’s License in Thailand

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