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

Documents needed:

  1. Passport and residence permit and Chinese Visa valid at least three months (original and photocopy)
  2. Temporary residence registration obtained at the local police station (original and photocopy).
  3. Driving license from your home country (original and photocopy of both sides).
  4. 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 for a copy in English, other languages may vary from 150RMB to 300RMB. Another address is 15th Floor, 168 Huapaifang Street, Jinniu District.
  5. 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. For the health examination, you have to bring your passport and the Registration Form of Temporary Residence.
  6. Five one-inch coloured photos (recent, bareheaded) with a white background.

Note: You can only apply to local driving licenses for the same kinds of vehicles, as your originally driver license is for. So if your driver license from your home country is for cars you can only apply for a Chinese car driver license.

Submit Documents:

You have to bring your documents to the Department of Motor Vehicle (成都车辆管理所综合服务大厅) in Xipu town, Pidu District, to get them examined. The business hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Process:

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.

The exam consists of answering 100 multiple choice questions, within 45 minutes. You must get a result of at least 90% to pass. There are several websites to help you prepare for the exam:http://www.chinesedriverslicensetest.com/  (Paid)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.

Preconditions:

  1. Above 18 years old.
  2. Have a temporary or permanent residency permit

Documents needed:

  1. Passport and residency permit with at least 3 months of validity (original and photocopy).
  2. Record of temporary residency obtained at the local police station (original and photocopy).
  3. 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. For the health examination, you have to bring your passport and the Registration Form of Temporary Residence.
  4. Three to five one-inch colour photos (recent, bareheaded) with a white background.

Process:

You have to pass four exams:

Therefore you need to register in a local Driving School to get training before passing the tests. The school probably has two foreign languages available English and Japanese, but a translator can be provided if needed.

  1. Written exam on laws and traffic regulations and basic concepts on vehicles (100 questions, 100RMB).
  2. Parking and basic driving skills test on a track (260RMB).
  3. Written exam on correct driving habits (50 questions, 10RMB).
  4. Road test (200RMB)

Before you can attend the exams you need two forms from the Vehicles Management Office: Driving License Application Form and Vehicles Driving Physical condition Form. After filling them in you have to do the physical examination, hand in the bill and set a date for your written exams.

 

3. RENEWING OR EXTENDING YOUR EXISTING CHINESE DRIVING LICENSE

Preconditions:

  1. Within 90 days before the expiration of the license.
  2. Has not been put in a suspended or revoked state.

Documents needed:

  1. Valid Residence Permit.
  2. Copy of the old and new passport main page.
  3. Copy of the valid Chinese visa.
  4. Copy of the latest entry stamp on your passport.
  5. Original Chinese driving license.
  6. A 1-inch Digital coloured photo with white background.
  7. 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.


Process:

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.

 

4. TEMPORARY CHINESE DRIVING LICENSE
Documents needed:

  1. National driving license (of your home country), original and photocopy.
  2. International Driving Permit (original and photocopy).
  3. 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.
  4. Completed application form.
  5. A hotel booking for at least one day.
  6. Three one-inch coloured photos with white background.

Process:

It can be obtained directly at the airport or at the traffic police department, find your closest one here.

Tips:

  • 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.

5. COSTS

The cost for the driver license card is 10RMB/ each
Examination fee in total: 570RMB

 

Good luck and safe travels. 
 

 

 

 

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