Do You Need A Vietnamese Driving License? Steps To Get It

Vietnamese driving license


Almost every country has its own domestic driving license, and so does Vietnam. Some foreigners, even those with a residency permit in Vietnam, are sometimes confused about the role of a Vietnamese driving license

Therefore, this article will provide fundamental information about the driving license before your first motorbike ride in the beautiful Southeast Asian country.

Can You Drive Without A Driving License In Vietnam?

The answer is “NO”. Without a valid driving license, you cannot control any motorized vehicle in Vietnam. If you ride a motorbike but are not qualified for a motorcycle license, you will go against Vietnamese traffic laws. 

Besides, you can’t ask for travel insurance coverage whenever you have an accident because of violating traffic rules. More seriously, you may face severe risk to your own and other people’s safety.

Can You Drive Without A Driving License In Vietnam?
Sapa, Vietnam! Vietnamese police officer stopped a motorbike driver for violating traffic rules on the street in mountain village Sapa, North Vietnam

How To Have A Valid Driving License In Vietnam?

You can take motorbike driving tests in Vietnam to have your own motorcycle license. The Vietnamese Department of Transportation will be in charge of organizing motorbike theory and driving tests. 

When we took a motorbike trip here, we had to go to the nearest location of the Department of Transportation for registration. After completing the application form, our team went to the embassy and got the application form translated and verified. 

Commonly, the embassy will ask for a $20 fee to complete the verifying and translating process for you.

You must prepare the following documents:

  • Your valid passport
  • Your residency permit or valid Vietnamese passport
  • Documents showing the well-being status of your health and eyesight. Several hospitals in Vietnam provide medical tests for attending riding tests for no more than 20$.
  • 4×6 size photos of your portrait

After collecting all of these above documents, you must return to the place giving you the application form and hand them in. The Department of Transportation officers will help you complete the remaining registration process. Then, you can begin to take the theory and driving tests.

How To Have A Valid Driving License In Vietnam?
How To Have A Valid Driving License In Vietnam?

You must pay about $20 for the theory test. The test consists of 150 Vietnamese questions, and 20 will appear in the actual test. We suggest you should learn by heart the theory test lessons, especially the recognizable keywords.

Once you finish the theory test, you will move on to the riding tests. Before joining the test, you should take some riding trials at the testing center. 

The driving test costs you about $5, and it’s a piece of cake if you have a motorbike license in your homeland. If you manage to pass all the tests, you may have to wait up to three months to get your Vietnamese driving license from the Department of Transportation.

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Is A Foreign Driving License Valid In Vietnam?

In some cases, foreign drivers can use a driving license in their homeland to drive in Vietnam. However, this is acceptable only when you are from an ASEAN country. 

If you carry an International Driving Permit while controlling your vehicle on Vietnam streets, it’s still against Vietnamese traffic laws.

Is A Foreign Driving License Valid In Vietnam?
Vietnam offroad dirtbike tour

So apart from taking driving tests, the most optimal way to drive on Vietnam streets is to convert your International Driving Permit or original driving license into a Vietnamese one. 

Converting is simpler than getting a valid license from passing riding tests. Yet, the foremost condition is that you must have had a license in your homeland.

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How To Convert Your International Driving Permit Into A Vietnam Driving License?

In Vietnam, sometimes you can get away with an International Driving Permit when the traffic police pull you up. Yet, on the other hand, some officers only accept a valid Vietnamese driving license. 

For this reason, you should convert your IDP into a valid Vietnamese driver’s license to safely participate in heavy traffic in Vietnam. 

You can follow these stages to convert your valid license:

  • Have your International Driving Permit translated into Vietnamese and verified by the authority, your verified copy and original passport, and three 3×4 portraits of yourself.
  • Bring all of these above documents to the nearest Department of Transportation. Then, the officer will gather your documents, scan them, and return you the original ones. The officer will take a new photo of you to place it on your upcoming Vietnamese driving license. 
  • The converted motorbike license will be delivered to you within 2 weeks. Before leaving the apartment, make sure that you fill in the delivery information and pay the postal fee (less than $5).

Some Basic Vietnam Traffic Laws For You

Even when you achieve a legit Vietnamese driving license, it doesn’t mean that you can thoroughly understand and remember Vietnamese traffic rules. 

Hence, we would like to give you some common rules that you must comprehend before enjoying your Vietnam motorbike tours.

Some Basic Vietnam Traffic Laws For You
Indian Riders Riding Ho Chi Minh Trail North to South Vietnam
  • The maximum number of people on a motorbike simultaneously is two. Exceeding the allowed number of people on a motorbike is the most obvious fault that the traffic police can spot. And, of course, they will pull you up.
  • Say no to alcohol when driving. Consuming alcoholic beverages and driving afterward is one of the most serious faults in Vietnam traffic laws. 

Minor mistakes can be forgiven, though. When our team was in Vietnam, I once accidentally forgot to switch the signal light on when turning, but the traffic police turned a blind eye to that. Yet, they won’t ever accept an alcohol-related mistake.

  • Always wear a helmet when riding a motorbike In Vietnam, you can buy a helmet for less than $5, but its quality is questionable.

Honestly, wearing helmets when participating in congested and crazy traffic in Vietnam is beneficial for your safety and keeps you away from getting in trouble by violating traffic laws.

Bottom Lines

Having a valid Vietnamese driving license is compulsory for foreign drivers to control vehicles on Vietnam streets. You can take a driving test to have a Vietnamese license or convert your International Driving Permit into a Vietnamese motorcycle license

No matter which type of method you plan to opt for, getting a Vietnamese motorbike license is simpler than you think.

What are you waiting for? Go get your license and plan for an epic Vietnam motorcycle tour!

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