From February 19, people applying for a new driver’s licence or renewing one will be required to present a medical certificate proving they do not have any conditions that may affect their driving.
The certificate is also necessary when a new automobile is purchased.
The Department of Land Transport has set this new condition in a bid to reduce road accidents.
Thailand’s roads are said to the deadliest in Southeast Asia, with some 20,000 fatalities per year or about 56 deaths a day, according to the World Health Organisation.
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Renewing Your Thai Driving License
Renewing a Thai driving license is fairly simple. You basically just need to take all of the same documents that were required for your first application along with your temporary Thai driving license and present them at the Land Transportation Office.
You will only need to take the vision and reaction tests this time. Pay the fee, which is currently 505 THB (plus an additional 50 THB if your name or address has changed). Then you’ll be given a regular license which is valid for 5 years.
Renewing 5-year license
When it’s time to renew your 5-year license to get another 5-year licence, the procedure is almost exactly the same. The only difference is that you don’t need the medical certificate. The fee is again 505 THB (plus an extra 50 THB if your name or address has to be updated).
Renewing an expired license
You can renew your license up to 3 months before the expiration of your current one. You can also renew it up to 1 year after the expiration date with no penalty.
If your license has expired by more than 1 year, you must retake the theory test and pass 45 of 50 questions to renew.
If your license has expired by more than 3 years you must take both the theory and practical tests.
How to get a 6-year license
The expiration date of a Thai driving license is always set to the license holder’s birthday. Because of this, you should be able to get a “6-year” license renewal with this one weird trick:
Allow your license to expire by one day. Then go to renew it on the day after your birthday. By doing it this way, you should be able to obtain a “6-year” license—or more precisely 5 years and 364 days.
Tips for When Getting a License
Here’s a few extra tips for when planning your trip to the land Transportation Office to make everything go as smooth as possible.
- Go in the middle of the week. Government offices in Thailand tend to be busiest on Mondays and Fridays. Go on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday to experience shorter wait times.
- Prepare all photocopies beforehand. Have photocopies of all the important pages in your passport and work permit (if you have one).
- Prepare 2 of everything if you are getting both a car and motorcycle license. Have 2 sets of all your photocopies and 2 medical certificates.
- If working in Thailand, wait until you have your work permit before getting your driving license. A work permit eliminates the need for a residence certificate and saves you a lot of time (and possibly money).