Vietnam - Is your international driving licence valid?

Discussion in 'Vietnam Trip Planning' started by chrisynok, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    You are required to have a Vietnamese driving license to drive in Vietnam, but most locals and tourists get by fine without one. The Vietnamese traffic police tend to leave the tourists alone because they don’t feel confident to deal with it. An international licence is not valid.

    If you have a driving license, i advice you bring it with you, through my experience, and our customers feedback, in the unlikely event you are stopped, they are happy to accept an international license. It’s also been known for them to charge you a small amount if they won’t accept your license or you are unable to produce a license (roughly $5)

    It is possible to obtain a Vietnamese driving license but there are some requirements. You must have a valid international driving license and a 3 month Vietnamese visa. It can take some time to process the application (up to 7 days) the license will allow you to drive motorbikes.

    Please fill free to contact me if you need more information or help to obtain a Vietnamese licence.

    Chris
    Flamingo Travel Vietnam
     
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  3. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Chris,

    This is certainly an improvement. Rumour had it that you needed to be a resident to obtain a licence. There were also suggestions that Vietnam was a signature to certain agreements between SE Asian countries whereby each other's licences were recognised. I therefore rode with a Thai licence but never ascertained whether the agreement had been ratified by parliament, nor was I ever asked to produce my licence.

    On the basis of your advice it would seem any insurance a rider had whilst travelling in Vietnam may well be null & void.

    Is there any way to access official information to help clarify matters as & when any changes occur?

    Safe travelling mate,
    R
     
  4. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    Hi Rod,

    It’s true you do need to be a resident to obtain a Vietnamese license, however it is still possible to obtain one if you’re not a resident. ???

    We can help foreigners with the process without being in Vietnam and also without being a resident; it’s a perfectly legal and a straight forward procedure.

    In order to make the application you need:

    · A copy of your valid driving license (front and back)
    · A copy of your passport and visa (the visa must be a valid visa and not an invitation letter which is normally issued to tourist to present at
    customs to obtain an entry visa)
    · 1 photo 3x4
    · Your signature
    · The license fee is $130 and is valid for 1 year each additional year is $25 and you can have up to 9 years

    The application takes up to 14 days without having to complete any theory exams or driving tests. The license allows you to drive up to a 175cc a motorbike.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions

    Chris
    Flamingo Travel Vietnam
     
  5. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    With regards to whether Some SE Asian countries licenses are recognized in Vietnam, what we are aware of is that some are accepted but require an acceptance certificate to attach to the license which you can apply for from the country that the license was issued. Does anybody have more information about this certificate? Also the law sense one thing and the police do another normally because they don’t know the law themselves especially in the rural areas of Vietnam they’re just not used to dealing with foreigners so they avoid it. I will make updates to this thread through customer’s feedback from there firsthand experience, but again it doesn’t happen often, the police stopping foreigners even with accidents they are often not involved in resolving the situation.

    IMPORTANT! I have had many customers from European countries arrive with their international license from there county of residents with a certificate attached, which apparently makes it valid for SE Asian country’s including Vietnam but I can assure everyone it is not valid in Vietnam however I’m not sure what SE Asian countries it is valid in if any at all!

    Chris
    Flamingo Travel Vietnam
     
  6. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    It’s true you do need to be a resident to obtain a Vietnamese license, however it is still possible to obtain one if you’re not a resident. ???

    We can help foreigners with the process without being in Vietnam and also without being a resident; it’s a perfectly legal and a straight forward procedure.

    In order to make the application you need:

    · A copy of your valid driving license (front and back)
    · A copy of your passport and visa (the visa must be a valid visa and not an invitation letter which is normally issued to tourist to present at
    customs to obtain an entry visa)
    · 1 photo 3x4
    · Your signature
    · The license fee is $130 and is valid for 1 year each additional year is $25 and you can have up to 9 years

    The application takes up to 14 days without having to complete any theory exams or driving tests. The license allows you to drive up to a 175cc a motorbike.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions

    Chris
    Flamingo Travel Vietnam
     
  7. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    With regards to whether Some SE Asian countries licenses are recognized in Vietnam, what we are aware of is that some are accepted but require an acceptance certificate to attach to the license which you can apply for from the country that the license was issued. Does anybody have more information about this certificate? Also the law sense one thing and the police do another normally because they don’t know the law themselves especially in the rural areas of Vietnam they’re just not used to dealing with foreigners so they avoid it. I will make updates to this thread through customer’s feedback from there firsthand experience, but again it doesn’t happen often, the police stopping foreigners even with accidents they are often not involved in resolving the situation.

    IMPORTANT! I have had many customers from European countries arrive with their international license from there county of residents with a certificate attached, which apparently makes it valid for SE Asian country’s including Vietnam but I can assure everyone it is not valid in Vietnam however I’m not sure what SE Asian countries it is valid in if any at all!

    Chris
    Flamingo Travel Vietnam
     
  8. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    Update: 30th September 2013

    Help with organizing a Driving license in Vietnam!

    At Flamingo travel we help provide foreigners with real genuine Vietnamese driving licenses. The application takes up to 14 working days without having to complete any theory exams or driving tests. The license allows you to drive up to a 175cc a motorbike. The cost is $130 and is valid for 1 year. We can also add additional years, which costs $25 per year. In order for us to process the licence application, we will need is a scanned copy of your passport, a full driving license from your country and a full visa which you can arrange in a Vietnamese embassy in your country.

    Ownership papers
    When it comes to renting a bike the law has changed two months ago and you can now drive a rental bike without the papers being in your name and without having the ownership documents, just as long as the motorbike rental company has been issued the certificate by the Transportation Minister ‘s office to do so, which we have. I can guarantee most other bike shops don't.
    The law also states now that you can own and drive a bike without the papers being in your name. However, you must have permission from the previous owner to do so and it has to be put in your name within 15 days after purchasing it.
    If you borrow a bike from someone and you don’t have the ownership papers the police will need to contact the owner and investigate to see if it is a legitimate claim and not a rental motorbike.

    Bike Insurance in Vietnam
    Having the license and Insurance can help with any police matters and also most importantly with any medical insurance that you might have. Please check your insurance policy to see exactly what you are covered for. Most medical insurance covers you up to a 125cc and they also offer add on to cover a higher cc motorbike but it could be void if you don’t have a Vietnamese license and insurance in place.
    If you rent a bike then the rental company has to provide you with insurance and we do but it is void without the customer having a Vietnamese license and again i can guarantee most bikes shops don't provide genuine insurance. Our bike insurance is 3[sup]rd[/sup] party only. Please note this insurance is very basic and I doubt you would ever have the opportunity to use it, even if you are involved in an accident, as in most cases you need to resolve the matter on the spot and not through your insurance. However, if the police are called you will be able to provide them with the valid documents, which will help your situation.
    If you have any question you can leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer you or email me directly: chris@flamingotravel.vn
    -
    FLAMINGO TRAVEL
    Head office in Hanoi
    Add:# 66 Dao Duy Tu Str, Hanoi , Vietnam
    Tel: +84.4 3926 0938 Fax: +84.4 3926 0938
    Hand phone: +84.912 214 554
    Email: info@flamingotravel.vn Website: www.flamingotravel.com.vn
    Skype : flamingotravel.com.vn
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  10. upa098

    upa098 New Member

  11. tonymay

    tonymay New Member

    Hi Chris

    Later this year My friend and myself were planning a ride from Singapore to Vietnam, I am hearing about a lot of problems crossing the boarders, can you give me an easy way of crossing with our bikes.

    regards

    Tony
     
  12. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony,

    Sorry for the late reply mate!

    Unfortunately, what we are aware of is that there is still is no easy way to cross the border with motorbikes that are registered outside of Vietnam. It's still a possibility and maybe at the right price, at the right border and with a hell of a lot of determination, it's possible. BUT, you still will be entering and driving in Vietnam illegally, which sounds scary but it really isn't. Remember there are always risks involved and the police can charge you or if they really wanted to, they can impound your bike. Understand the police very rarely stop tourists and if they do they normally charge you a small fine (Bribe) (If they can catch you in the first place lol) I'm not recommending you do to it this way, as i would only, always, recommend to do things within the law in any country. However, what the law is in Vietnam and what tourists and locals do are normally to completely different things.

    Please note: I rarely meet or hear people, who have managed to get their bike, that is registered in a different country into Vietnam illegally. Vietnam has a very strict Tax System in place on motorbikes and car imports, as i believe its one of the only ways to get people to pay tax here, so they're very serious about bringing bikes in illegally. At the end of the day, you never can be 100% sure you will get through the border, unless you do it the legal way, Doing it illegally can make it very difficult to plan a trip but not impossible to complete one!

    If you hear of any border crossings from people that have succeeded in the past, please remember that can change at any time as the guards constantly change. It's the same when it comes to taking a Vietnamese registered bike outside of Vietnam, you can never guarantee it at any border. However, it is a lot easier to get a bike out than bring one in.

    I will always recommend you try to keep to the law and please read one of my previous posts, which should be able to help answer your question.
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/38958-Border-crossing-into-Vietnam-by-motorbike?highlight=Border+crossing+Vietnam+motorbike

    Hope this helps Tony! Any question fire away!
    You can always contact me by
    Personal work email: chris@flamingotravel.vn
    Main work email: info@flamingotravel.vn
     
  13. reachjru

    reachjru New Member

     
  14. Maccaoz

    Maccaoz Active Member

    An international licence is not legal in Vietnam.In the past many police(in the south)would accept it and a small donation, usually 40,000vnd,and all was cool.
    For the last ride(three months) in the south I arranged a Vietnamese car/bike licence in Vung Tau,seven day wait,1,000,000vnd.The usual 3 months visa,completed form, copy of Aust licence, photos required.
    The licence & bike related papers were only called for once in the 8,000km of this ride.South of Saigon the police decided we were speeding,"53" in a 50 zone, not a bad estimate with no radar or speed camera,plus riding in the truck/bus lane as I overtook something blocking the bike lane.600,000vnd and no ticket,thank you very much, and a talk to my Vietnamese wife about high speed and lucky we had all the correct papers or they would have impounded the bike.They had a truck load parked nearby.
    We were never stopped again but for that one I was glad we were legit.
    Cheers, Macca
     
  15. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    Hi Reachjru!

    Acceptance certificate

    Unfortunately an acceptance certificate to attach to your driving license isn't valid in Vietnam. However, you can convert your motorbike-driving license from your country of residence to the equivalent, which will be valid for the duration of your visa.

    Obtaining a Vietnamese License for a holiday

    This is the most convenient and cheapest way for tourists to obtain a Vietnamese license. You are not required to be in Vietnam but must be able to provide the following.

    · Valid Passport and visa
    · Passport size photo
    · Motorbike driving license

    The documents can be scanned and sent by email and once received the application can be made on your behalf or can be processed while you are in Vietnam. It takes 3 working days to convert your license to the equivalent and the cost is roughly $50 (1,000,000 VND).

    You can arrange a Vietnamese Visa in a local Vietnamese embassy. However, if this is not possible because you will have to wait to you get to Vietnam and get issued a visa on arrival.

    Driving illegally in Vietnam

    Just because you have a Vietnamese license still doesn’t mean you are riding legally.

    You are required to have a License, insurance and the bike must be registered in your name or in someone’s name that has given you permission to drive the bike and that can verify this to the police. Most cases people can’t because bikes have been handed down so much without the papers being updated. The other option is that you rent from a “legal tour operator” who has a license to rent bikes out and who provides basic bike insurance and can also verify that to the police.

    The reality

    In most cases tourists and locals get by fine without the relevant documents. If the police stop you and you fail to produce the necessary documents you will have to pay a fine. The one thing they are strict on is the ownership papers. You must at least have the ownership blue card documents even if its not in your name or can't be verified. If you are renting you don't need the ownership papers but the police will need to be able to call the rental company to verify that they are the owners and have the correct legal documents.

    Here is a list of the up to date fines issued by the Vietnamese transportation office. $1 = 21,000 VND (Standard Rate)

    One way lane – 300,00 vnd
    Red light 300,000 vnd
    Speeding within 10km over the limit - 150,000 vnd
    Wrong lane - 300,000 vnd
    No License - 1,000,000 vnd or can impound
    No Bike insurance - 100,000 vnd
    No ownership papers - Impound the bike

    Very, very, rarely they stop or impound bikes from tourists. This is mainly applies to the Vietnamese but there always is the chance this can happen because if you are breaking the law then the police have the right to follow through within the law.

    I have heard similar story’s that the police are getting strict in the south but when I speak to local expats who live there they all say that everything is the same as before, which is the same as the above.

    If you need any help with getting a license or bike rentals in Vietnam IB me or email me chris@flamingotravel.vn
    Any further questions relating to this thread you can ask on here i'll do my best to answer.
     
  16. Maccaoz

    Maccaoz Active Member

    Hi Chris
    In regard to your question on papers.
    When we were pulled by the police I had my Vietnam licence, the bike ownership/registration card(bike bought in the wife's sisters name,the wife is an Oz citizen)plus bike insurance certificate.
    Your list of fines is very interesting. Is there an official web site showing the scale of fees.A print out could be handy in the future.
    From your list we were up for 450,000vnd so the 600,000 wasn't such a bad rip. Tet was only days away.
    Wrong lane ? Overtaking something big and slooooow so possible. 53kph in a 50 zone ? Yeah right, but what can you do.
    Gone are the days when a 40,000vnd donation would sort out the coppers.
    Cheers, Macca
     
  17. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    Hi Maccaoz,

    Having the Vietnamese license and the relent documents means that you where driving legally. I completely agree mate, that you done very well to pay 600,000 VND, especially during Tet (New Years) everywhere people are expected to pay more. Sometimes what the law is and what the police do are two completely different things, which sometimes can work in your favor on some occasions.

    Most of the time the police will always try to get more money out of you and that applies to Vietnamese as well as tourists. Just remain calm and try to negotiate with them to get the best deal possible.

    I have no doubt that the truckload was for the more serious offenders and for the poor people who didn't have enough money to pay the fine.

    Also in my experience traveling with a Vietnamese as a pillion or apart of your group can attract police attention because they see it as a way to communicate through them as a translator. Their aim is to stop as many people as possible and issue as many fines as they can. Not only are the police not confident to deal with tourists because of the language barrier but it can also cost them unnecessary wasted time trying to communicate, which will cost them money because they could have been stopping and fining other people.
     
  18. Maccaoz

    Maccaoz Active Member

    G'day Chris
    Yep we were all legal so they couldn't bung much more on.Just the donation to the police Tet fund and away we go.
    We saw the impounded bikes on police trucks all over SVN,I would be pi%$# off if they did to mine what they did to some,two or three cops would actually throw the bikes up and onto the truck bed then drive off with the bikes sliding around like so much scrap metal.

    Funny Vung Tau cop story from 15-16 years ago. One particular skinny little cop would regularly pull us over.Became a bit of a joke and he would always ask the wife if she was pregnant yet. She would say NO hand over the 40.000vnd and off we would go, this went on for months until the day she told him it was very sad but her husband had found out he couldn't make babys.He never stopped us again, just give us the nod as we past.We were never sure just why.

    Having the Viet wife as pillion could work against me, without her and the cops with no English,it all gets too difficult and they tend to wave me away.With her its all too easy to sort out the donation.We call it Road Tax :lol:
     
  19. biker

    biker New Member

    Hi Chris,I read this

    "The documents can be scanned and sent by email and once received the application can be made on your behalf"

    I need a DL for the end of July,can I send you all the documents via email?
     
  20. ntb

    ntb Ol'Timer

    I believe my Cambodia drivers license is legal in Viet Nam. Is it not?
     
  21. kgbagent

    kgbagent New Member

    I would like to know this as well please
     
  22. Maccaoz

    Maccaoz Active Member

    No idea if the Cambodian licence is legal in Vietnam.Even if it is there is a fair chance that the local plod were never informed(or don't care)so they will require a donation to the police welfare fund anyway.
     
  23. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    CURRENTLY NO INTERNATIONAL LICENSE IS VALID IN VIETNAM

    However, looks like Vietnam will be joining 70 countries to accept international driving licenses in Vietnam. It will come in to play at the start of January so lets hope it doesn't come with too many complications!

    Please read the article below

    http://vnexpress.net/tin-tuc/thoi-su/bang-lai-xe-do-viet-nam-cap-co-the-su-dung-o-hon-70-quoc-gia-3106176.html

    Cheers!
     
  24. Maccaoz

    Maccaoz Active Member

    Wouldn't it be great(and sensible)if we could ride Vietnam with an International permit. Time and experience will tell if this is something that's going to work.In the meantime I will renew my Viet licence for another year before sticking my toe in the water.
    Merry Xmas to all, Macca
     
  25. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    Yes it would be great for people as it will allow them to drive legally, which can help avoid any complications with police and makes life a lot easier when it comes to taking out medical insurance.

    I hope this comes in to play without complications and maybe in the future the government will manage to become more relaxed with allowing tourists with bikes from other countries to cross the border freely. However, i think that's a long way of as tax on bikes and cars is high in Vietnam and its one of the only ways the government can get tax out of people, so opening the borders up to foreign registered bikes could open the door to more people trying to bring bikes in illegally to sell.

    Yep Merry Christmas all!
     
  26. jeffmcneill

    jeffmcneill New Member

    Hello,

    I have a Thai Motorcycle Drivers' License (ASEAN). Will I be able to use this in Vietnam to rent and ride a motorbike, or do I still need to do something else? Thanks for the reply.
     

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