International licence/permit or Vietnamese licence


Active Member
May 23, 2014
I just returned from 6 weeks in SVN,three of which were spent renewing my Vietnamese licence in Vung Tau
What I thought would be a simple renewal turned into days of paperwork,full medical check up(15 tests and a full day at the Russian hospital) 6 trips from Vung Tau to the Transport Dept in Bar Ria(44kl round trip).A complete and utter farce that ended with a trip upstairs to complain to the "MAN" who came down to the front office and half sorted out the obnoxious staff.Only a week later I received a new 3 year licence. The previous licence expired after one year.
Why all the problems------?? It is Vietnam,public servants aint and once the confusion starts and the process gets under way there is no turning back.
I had a English speaking Viet mate with me through to whole frustrating procedure,except for the final pick up of the new plastic licence where the surly obnoxious Viet lady that made most of the problems suddenly transformed into a smiling English speaking,nice and even quiet attractive woman. What the---------------?
After all this the "MAN" informed me that Vietnam law now (from Dec.1st 14) accepts the International drivers/riders licence/permit.
Guess we now have the choice International or Vietnamese.:mrgreen: Take your pick :smile1:


Feb 3, 2015
very useful info!
thats for going through the ordeal so we dont have to :)
any idea where its possible to find something in writing (on-line) about the international license being sufficient?


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
July 2015

VN to issue international driving licences from October
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese citizens and expatriates with residence permits will be eligible for international driving licences from early October, the Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam's Deputy Head Nguyen Van Quyen said.

The DRVN, in co-operation with the departments of transport, will issue international driving permits, which are valid in the 85 countries that participated in the 1968 International Convention on Road Traffic and the Convention on Road Signs (Vienna Convention).

The permit will be in the form of a passport, and the information inside will be in English, French, Russian and Spanish, as well as Vietnamese. It can be used in Europe and five countries in Southeast Asia, comprising Viet Nam, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand, besides Indonesia.

The licence would be valid for three years, Quyen said.

To get the licence, people should apply to the DRVN or the departments of transport, enclosing their original driving licences issued by Viet Nam, as well as passports and valid residence cards.

Authorised agencies will issue the permit within five working days.

The insurance fee is expected to be VND135,000 (US$6.27). — VNS
Source: Viet Nam News 22 July 2015.


Sep 15, 2012
International license in Vietnam: International licenses: Just after the New year Vietnam changed the law and international licenses from 72 countries are now accepted in Vietnam. This is really good news because not only does it help foreigners drive legally in Vietnam but it will also help them purchase affordable travel insurance.

Driving legally:In Vietnam the laws are very similar and you are required to have a valid license, bike insurance and ownership papers. There is no MOT but the bike is expected to be roadworthy and that would be up to police discretion if it meets the standards.  One of the most overlooked factors of driving legally is the ownership papers. The ownership papers should be in the driver's name or the persons whose name it is in should be able to verify that they have given permission to use the bike. Often in Vietnam when someone buys a second hand bike it's likely that the papers have been handed down from a number of previous buyers that haven't registered it, which makes it extremely difficult and some what impossible to get it put into a new persons name. As a foreigner you can transfer the ownership papers to your name and have NN plates, which is special number plate for foreigners but must be a resident here and the previous owner must be able to contact and agree to transfer it. The other option is to rent from a legal tour operator who has a license to legally rent out motorbikes. The bikes should be registered to the owner of the business and have 3rd party insurance, so all you need is to have a valid license to be covered.

Vietnamese license:To get a Vietnamese license it can be sometimes difficult because the government seems to change the process system a lot.  I would like to recommend a company in HCMC who have a good record for helping expats. As a tourist it would be far too time consuming to get it prepared before your tip because you have to be in Vietnam to make the application Vietnamese driving license : Flamingo Travel - Vietnam motorbike rental / tour experts