Here's how to get yourself an international drivers license in Bangkok.
Getting an international drivers license in Bangkok is relatively quick and painless. The Department of Land Transport located at Mo Chit is usually the first port of call, and is located right beside the Civil Aviation Training Center. It's in between Mo Chit and Saphan Kwai BTS stations, and is around a ten minute walk from either station.
Other places in Bangkok also include the branch near the BTS Bangchak Station on Sukhumvit. Outside Bangkok, call your nearest Department of Land Transport office to enquire first.
Note that these instructions are intended for holders of Thai driver licenses, to allow you to drive outside Thailand. If you do not have a Thai license, you cannot obtain the international drivers license in the Kingdom.
Applying for yourself
Before going, you will need the following documents:
- Two 2-inch photos
- Signed photocopy of your Thai drivers license
- Signed photocopy of your Passport
- Signed photocopy of your Thai ID card
If you're not a Thai national, then you will also need to being one of the following:
- If you're a Thai Permanent Resident, you will need to bring your House Registration.
- If you're a foreign national (e.g. on a work permit or other type of visa), then you will need to bring along an Affidavit of Residence which can be obtained at your embassy. In some cases, your work permit may suffice depending on the official looking after your case that day.
At the Mo Chit branch, the place to go to is building 4 on the second floor. The number of each building is written in large Thai numbers, so look for "๔". Queue up in front of the information counter and let the official check that your documents are complete and in order. You will then be given a queue number and be redirected to another counter to wait.
Once your number is called, you will need to submit all your documents and pay the 505 baht fee. No separate application form is required, and if there is no one else there that day, you will receive the license (which is a small booklet) within 5 minutes.
At the Bangchak branch, hand your documents in at counter number 8 (as of January 2018). They will then guide you through the process where you sign a couple of forms and wait to be called to complete the process.
The process should take no more than 1 hour, end-to-end.
On the way in motorcycle taxi acting as touts may tell you that you need a health checkup from a doctor. If you're there to apply for an international license, the check up is not required.
Total Key Costs (as of January 2018)
- International Permit application fee: 505 baht
- Photocopying: 1 baht per page
- Photo: 100 baht
Mo Chit: You can walk to building 4 by getting off at either Mo Chit station or Saphan Khwai station. Parking is close to impossible to find given that hundreds of cars pass through everyday for inspections, and so public transport is a safer bet than bringing the car.
Bangchak: You can take the BTS to Bangchak station. It is a 5 minute walk in. While motorcycle taxis are available, the soi leading in is not far and walking is easy.
Things to look out for
- If you do not have a Thai drivers license, you cannot apply for an International Drivers license in Thailand. You need to get it from the country your license was issued.
- Only the Department of Land Transport can issue the International Drivers License - no private business can do this.
- For people on a foreign license looking to drive in Thailand: Some local businesses are tricking foreigners, saying that they are able to issue international driver licenses allowing them to drive in Thailand while on their foreign license. These are illegal documents and you can be fined and arrested by the police for using these.
The only way to legally drive in Thailand is on (a) a Thai license, or (b) with a foreign license accompanied by an International Drivers License issued by an authorised organisation in your country.