For those expats itching to get back into the driver’s seat, here’s some handy info to help you get your license and drive off into that Chinese Sunset.
Foreigners, as well as residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan who wish to drive in China must apply for a driving license within the mainland. International driving licenses are not recognized in the country, but here’s some information on obtaining a Chinese License so you can get back on the road.
1.YOU HAVE A LICENSE AND CHINESE RESIDENCE PERMIT
- Passport and residence permit and Chinese Visa valid at least three months (original and photocopy)
- Temporary residence registration obtained at the local police station (original and photocopy).
- Driving license from your home country (original and photocopy of both sides).
- Certified and notarized translation of the driver’s license translated by an authorized translation institution. There are several offices that can do this for you directly across from the US Embassy in Ke Hua Bei Lu. It should cost around 100RMB.
- Medical check Report. This can be obtained from most hospitals in the city, click here for more info. The medical examination is pretty basic, and mainly focused on your eyes and balance.
- Five one-inch colored photos with a white background.
You can get a Chinese driver’s license (valid for 6 years) by passing a written exam. The process and the exam take place in the traffic police department, and you may need a prior appointment. Find your closest department here.
Written exams can be done in English or Chinese. In some of the big cities like Shanghai you may even find exams in languages such as Spanish, French, German even Arabic.
If you don’t pass your first time, you can redo it right away. However, a second failure in a row will mean you have to wait 20 days to resit the test.
2. YOU DON’T HAVE DRIVING LICENSE.
- Above 18 years old.
- Have a temporary or permanent residency permit
- Passport and residency permit with at least 3 months of validity (original and photocopy).
- Record of temporary residency obtained at the local police station (original and photocopy).
- Medical check report.
- This can be obtained from most hospitals in the city, click here for more info. The medical examination is pretty basic, and mainly focused on your eyes and balance.
- Three to five one-inch color photos with a white background.
You have to pass four exams:
- Written exam on laws and traffic regulations and basic concepts on vehicles (100 questions).
- Parking and basic driving skills test on a track.
- Written exam on correct driving habits (50 questions).
- Road test
3. RENEWING OR EXTENDING YOUR EXISTING CHINESE DRIVING LICENSE
- Within 90 days before the expiration of the license.
- Has not been put in a suspended or revoked state.
- Valid Residence Permit.
- Copy of the old and new passport main page.
- Copy of the valid Chinese visa.
- Copy of the latest entry stamp on your passport.
- Original Chinese driving license.
- A 1-inch Digital colored photo with white background.
- Medical Check Report. This can be obtained from most hospitals in the city, click here for more info. The medical examination is pretty basic, and mainly focused on your eyes and balance.
Just apply for renewal of the license at the China Police Vehicle Administration, if approved a license with a 10-years expiry will be issued to those whose penalty points are less than 12 in each of the past six years.
- National driving license (of your home country), original and photocopy.
- International Driving Permit (original and photocopy).
- Chinese translation of the foreign driver’s license. There are several offices that can do this for you directly across from the US Embassy in Ke Hua Bei Lu. It should cost around 100RMB.
- Completed application form.
- A hotel booking for at least one day.
- Three one-inch colored photos with white background.
It can be obtained directly at the airport or at the traffic police department, find your closest one here.
- You don’t need to take another test for renewing your license.
- Always take your Visa, Passport, Driving License, Translated Driving License, Police Address Registration, and a Copy of them with you, and don’t forget the 1 Inch White Background Photos.
- You cannot change to Chinese driving license if your driving license is International Driver’s License.