Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashion?

MauriceDz

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Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashion?

First of all hey everyone, love to have signed up and being part of this community.

I'm from Poland, left my country 3 years ago and have been living in Asia ever since. Never had a motorcycle license back home.

I got my 2 year temporary motorcycle license in Thailand earlier this year, but I would imagine it'd be a hit or miss to use it in any of the other countries, reasons being:

a) It says "temporary license"
b) Other countries usually require an IDP in addition to the license itself, even if the license is in English. To get a Thai IDP, you need to have a regular 5 year motorcycle license, not a 2 year one

I won't be living in Thailand any longer now (moving to Vietnam), but I'll still keep visiting and ride bikes there. I can always renew the license after 2 years.

So I'm looking for the best options now to get a more legit motorcycle license, ideally in Asia. Maybe Singapore, or Hong Kong?

Worst case scenario I could get it done somewhere in Europe or USA, but never back home since the procedure is just too much headache and BS. I'm particularly looking for the fastest, easiest, most efficient way that'll get me the license without staying in the given country for too long.

I want to be able to use the license basically anywhere around the world.

Any ideas?
 

Lone Rider

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Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

Not sure if this is also valid for the temporary 2 year license but the 5 year license can be used in the ASEAN countries (in theory but apparently not all ASEAN countries agree with that statement):

Source: http://www.aseanthai.net/english/ewt_news.php?nid=321&filename=index
ASEAN NEWS
New driver license is valid in ASEAN member countries
18 June 2015 (Readers 692)
http://thainews.prd.go.th

The Department of Land Transport (DLT) said a new driving license is being produced that can be used in the ten ASEAN nations. Drivers with the new license will be able to drive their cars in ASEAN member states, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

An image of a Thai flag is displayed on the front of the card with a seven-color watermark of the DLT emblem in the background. Next to the flag is a symbol that represents the province in which the card was issued. The card also comes complete with a holographic sticker. The department disclosed that there is a unique characteristic of the licenses that prevents forgery. The driver's information will be displayed on the card in both Thai and English with a photo of the driver, the issue and expiry date, and the province of origin. There will be a magnetic strip at the back that contains information on certain driving restrictions, a picture of a car that has been registered with the department, the driver's home address, and the authorization signature of a DLT official.


However, after 5 years, if not living in Thailand, you can not extend the license as you need to have a "Certificate of Residence".


From another website: http://siamandbeyond.com/how-to-get-thai-drivers-license/

Yes the Thai licence, and as you say it's supposed to be only the 5-year one, should be valid in all ASEAN countries in theory. However, in practice only Malaysia, Singapore and Laos will readily accept it. These are also the only three countries Thai registered vehicles can readily enter without any special conditions or requirements.
 

blackwolf

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Bikes
Honda Sonic 125cc, 4 wheels, about to buy a 250cc dirt bike
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

Not sure if this is also valid for the temporary 2 year license but the 5 year license can be used in the ASEAN countries (in theory but apparently not all ASEAN countries agree with that statement):

Source: http://www.aseanthai.net/english/ewt_news.php?nid=321&filename=index
ASEAN NEWS
New driver license is valid in ASEAN member countries
18 June 2015 (Readers 692)
http://thainews.prd.go.th

The Department of Land Transport (DLT) said a new driving license is being produced that can be used in the ten ASEAN nations. Drivers with the new license will be able to drive their cars in ASEAN member states, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

An image of a Thai flag is displayed on the front of the card with a seven-color watermark of the DLT emblem in the background. Next to the flag is a symbol that represents the province in which the card was issued. The card also comes complete with a holographic sticker. The department disclosed that there is a unique characteristic of the licenses that prevents forgery. The driver's information will be displayed on the card in both Thai and English with a photo of the driver, the issue and expiry date, and the province of origin. There will be a magnetic strip at the back that contains information on certain driving restrictions, a picture of a car that has been registered with the department, the driver's home address, and the authorization signature of a DLT official.


However, after 5 years, if not living in Thailand, you can not extend the license as you need to have a "Certificate of Residence".


From another website: http://siamandbeyond.com/how-to-get-thai-drivers-license/

Yes the Thai licence, and as you say it's supposed to be only the 5-year one, should be valid in all ASEAN countries in theory. However, in practice only Malaysia, Singapore and Laos will readily accept it. These are also the only three countries Thai registered vehicles can readily enter without any special conditions or requirements.

A certificate of residence is easily issued by many embassies without any requirement to be on any sort of visa, a 30-day visa exempt stamp is sufficient. The requirements depend on the embassy, but the Australian and US embassies are just two that will issue such a document without any sort of proof. Of course others, such as the German and Indian embassies are notorious for all sorts of requirements in order to issue this document. However, it's another story when it comes to the Land Transport Department. In theory, some sort of non-immigrant visa or extension is required to get or renew a 5-year licence though in some cases foreigners manage to receive one even when staying on a tourist visa. The other alternative for getting a certificate of residence is through immigration, which is more likely to require a "proper" visa of some sort than the embassies, but again, it depends on the immigration office and how flexible they are.

Since Thai licences are not readily accepted in Vietnam (neither are Thai registered vehicles as you mentioned) the OP should get himself a Vietnamese issued licence. I got one a few years ago - it's valid for the same 6 years as the foreign licence I showed them in order to get it. The requirements may have changed since, though I believe anyone who is in possession of a 3-month or longer validity Vietnamese visa is eligible.

A Cambodian licence is an option and can be issued to non-residents, there is a 1-year version that is issued upon presentation of any foreign licence (or if the applicant doesn't possess any licence you sign up to do a driving test with a driving school). For some reason, these days it seems to take up to a month to issue either a new or renewal Cambodian licence, whereas some years ago it was just a few days. See if you can pay extra for fast processing, otherwise a return trip to Cambodia would be necessary to pick up the actual licence. In theory, a 5-year version should be available if you go through a driving school, whether or not you already possess a Cambodian 1-year or foreign licence, however, there are conflicting reports as to whether foreigners can still apply for a 5-year licence or not. Some say it doesn't matter whether the applicant stays in Cambodia on a business visa extension or not, they must renew yearly and that 5-year driving licences are only available to Cambodians. I believe an IDP can also be applied for by the holder of a 5-year Cambodian driver's or rider's licence. The expat forum Khmer440.com should have some details.

Not sure whether the expense or hassle of going to Cambodia just for a licence would be worth it though it's an option if you need it - I'm sure that the new Vietnamese licence, bilingual Vietnamese/English version should be as acceptable as a Cambodian one, especially in ASEAN.
 

MauriceDz

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Location
Saigon, Vietnam
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Yamaha MT-03
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

I see, that's some great new insight here, thanks guys!

How about getting a license that would be more widely accepted, i.e. in Europe, States, Japan?

Any ideas what would be my best option? I'm not sure if I can still do a license anywhere in Europe outside of my home country without having a residency in that given European country. Seems like rules have changed.

States should be easy and straightforward I assume?
 

BobS

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

Well, there is no license for "the States". Each state has their own license and their own rules.
 

rdrokit

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Location
Korat, Thailand
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Stallions Scrambler 400, Honda AirBlade
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

You can drive in the USA with a Thai drivers license. I have even rented a car in the states with my Thai drivers license. As long as the country you are in is English speaking I would think your Thai drivers license would be legal as it is in Thai and English. In other non English speaking countries you could get an international drivers license.
 

BobS

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

rdrokit - the OP is looking for a license to drive in Vietnam, and asking if a USA license will work - not to drive in the USA
 

MauriceDz

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Location
Saigon, Vietnam
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Yamaha MT-03
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

Thanks for suggestions.

the OP is looking for a license to drive in Vietnam, and asking if a USA license will work - not to drive in the USA

I'm currently based in Vietnam, and while I can always just make a new license here, I'm primarily looking to make a motorcycle license that will allow me to ride basically anywhere in the world. So e.g. if I decide to hope over to Japan or USA next month, I don't have to worry about if my Thai/Viet/whatever license will work.

I want to avoid doing the license in my home country of Poland because I just really don't like the process there.

Do you guys have any idea if I could get it done in USA, other European country, or any other developed and credible country in Asia, as a non-resident?
 

rdrokit

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Location
Korat, Thailand
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Stallions Scrambler 400, Honda AirBlade
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

You need to get an international drivers license in the country that your current motorcycle license is in. I can get an international drivers license in Thailand as that is where my current motorcycle license was issued. With the international license you can drive in almost all other countries. Not hard to get an international license, just pay a fee, no test required. If you don't have a current motorcycle license than you will have to get one.
 

MauriceDz

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Location
Saigon, Vietnam
Bikes
Yamaha MT-03
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

You need to get an international drivers license in the country that your current motorcycle license is in. I can get an international drivers license in Thailand as that is where my current motorcycle license was issued. With the international license you can drive in almost all other countries. Not hard to get an international license, just pay a fee, no test required. If you don't have a current motorcycle license than you will have to get one.

Thank, but I've looked into getting IDP in Thailand and apparently they don't issue these for temporary 2 year motorcycle licenses, you need to have a 5 year one. So the only option in Thailand would be to wait for 1.5 years and get the 5 year license (I assume).
 

blackwolf

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Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Bikes
Honda Sonic 125cc, 4 wheels, about to buy a 250cc dirt bike
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

A certificate of residence is easily issued by many embassies without any requirement to be on any sort of visa, a 30-day visa exempt stamp is sufficient. The requirements depend on the embassy, but the Australian and US embassies are just two that will issue such a document without any sort of proof. Of course others, such as the German and Indian embassies are notorious for all sorts of requirements in order to issue this document. However, it's another story when it comes to the Land Transport Department. In theory, some sort of non-immigrant visa or extension is required to get or renew a 5-year licence though in some cases foreigners manage to receive one even when staying on a tourist visa. The other alternative for getting a certificate of residence is through immigration, which is more likely to require a "proper" visa of some sort than the embassies, but again, it depends on the immigration office and how flexible they are.

Since Thai licences are not readily accepted in Vietnam (neither are Thai registered vehicles as you mentioned) the OP should get himself a Vietnamese issued licence. I got one a few years ago - it's valid for the same 6 years as the foreign licence I showed them in order to get it. The requirements may have changed since, though I believe anyone who is in possession of a 3-month or longer validity Vietnamese visa is eligible.

A Cambodian licence is an option and can be issued to non-residents, there is a 1-year version that is issued upon presentation of any foreign licence (or if the applicant doesn't possess any licence you sign up to do a driving test with a driving school). For some reason, these days it seems to take up to a month to issue either a new or renewal Cambodian licence, whereas some years ago it was just a few days. See if you can pay extra for fast processing, otherwise a return trip to Cambodia would be necessary to pick up the actual licence. In theory, a 5-year version should be available if you go through a driving school, whether or not you already possess a Cambodian 1-year or foreign licence, however, there are conflicting reports as to whether foreigners can still apply for a 5-year licence or not. Some say it doesn't matter whether the applicant stays in Cambodia on a business visa extension or not, they must renew yearly and that 5-year driving licences are only available to Cambodians. I believe an IDP can also be applied for by the holder of a 5-year Cambodian driver's or rider's licence. The expat forum Khmer440.com should have some details.

Not sure whether the expense or hassle of going to Cambodia just for a licence would be worth it though it's an option if you need it - I'm sure that the new Vietnamese licence, bilingual Vietnamese/English version should be as acceptable as a Cambodian one, especially in ASEAN.

I have received information that Cambodian driver's licences are now valid for 10 years (not 5) and are available to foreigners. A theory and driving test is necessary to obtain a Cambodian licence (both motorcycle and car licences, however, there is no longer a need to hold a driver's licence for motorcycles below 125cc "A1" category. A car licence category "B" is sufficient to drive motorcycles under 125cc, a separate motorcycle licence is only issued for larger cc vehicles under the "A2" category).

Note that agents can only issue 1-year driver's licences so it is necessary to apply through the Ministry of Transport, who will also assign you to a driving school in order to do the tests. It is reportedly possible to avoid these tests if you can find a Ministry contact to help you.

Although official pricing is cheap, in practice it may be necessary to fork out up to US$400, but for a licence with validity of 10 years, this isn't unreasonable because that ends up working out to be US$40 per year. It may be possible to receive a 10-year licence for around US$250 according to my own enquiries made at a Phnom Penh based driving school and similar costs are mentioned by various expats. Licences are now issued on the spot, but they have switched to issuing old school paper licences that you have to get laminated rather than the previous credit card sized plastic licences that took them up to a month or more to issue. Not sure why it's impossible for the Ministry to purchase plastic card licence printing machines that can print out licences on the spot, for whatever reason they have decided to go back in time and issue an older style document, which is a rather unusual move.

While it is not explicitly stated that you must hold a business visa, it's best to get yourself a business visa + 1 year extension before applying for a Cambodian driver's licence - a tourist visa may not be sufficient and you don't want to unnecessarily inconvenience yourself by having to leave the country, better come prepared properly from the beginning.

All in all, it may cost you a fair bit of money (US$35 for the business visa + sometimes some extra costs at the border + 1-year extension around US$265-290 depending on the agent + another US$70 or so for express processing + the actual licence costs of US$250-400) but it's an option if you need it.
 

MauriceDz

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Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi


That's interesting stuff blackwolf!

How about Cambodian license validity across the world though? Especially with the outdated-looking paper version, I could see there would be a lot of second looks in any developed country in Europe or States (e.g. whenever trying to rent a bike)?
 

blackwolf

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Honda Sonic 125cc, 4 wheels, about to buy a 250cc dirt bike
Re: Best country to get a "legit" motorcycle license in the easiest and fastest fashi

That's interesting stuff blackwolf!

How about Cambodian license validity across the world though? Especially with the outdated-looking paper version, I could see there would be a lot of second looks in any developed country in Europe or States (e.g. whenever trying to rent a bike)?

Indeed. Anyway, as this is a new development, it's hard to predict how acceptable this new paper version will be in Europe, Australia and North America. I'm thinking it could end up causing problems - hopefully they'll go back to printing the normal plastic version, not least because it's more durable. US$400 for a piece of paper just seems somewhat excessive (Cambodians probably only pay a fraction of this price).
 
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