Applying for a Thai International Driving License / Permit in Thailand
Where can I get an International driver license in Thailand? The Land Transport Office call it an "International Driving Permit" (IDP). Currently there are two options for obtaining
a Thai International Driving Permit.
The license is available from the Land Transport Office in Bangkok or the Land Transport Office in Chonburi. Currently this permit is not available for issue at
the Pattaya Land Transport Office.
The IDP expires one year after the date of issue. The Thai IDP is not valid for driving in Thailand.
If you reside in Pattaya then Chonburi is the best option. I have used the Chonburi office on two occasions to apply for the
International Driving Permit.
How to Get to Land Transport Office Chonburi
To get from Pattaya to the Chonburi Land Transport Office where the license is issued is really quite simple if you are traveling by car.
These directions begin at the intersection of Central Pattaya Road and
Third Road (Chaloem Phrakiat) and travel toward Sukhumvit Road.
maps understands this starting address as "Thanon Pattaya Klang, Muang Pattaya,
Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chang Wat Chon Buri 20150, Thailand".
The trip by car should take around one hour provided there is no traffic jam.
Travel 900 meters to Sukhumvit Road and turn left onto Route 3 (Also Sukhumvit Road).
Travel 1.2km and take a slight right onto the Route 7 ramp to Bangkok. This is the Pattaya
Chonburi Hi-Way and leads to Chonburi Bypass Road (361) as indicated by the dashed line path in the map on this page.
Just stay on the Chonburi Bypass Road until you reach the last exit to Sukhumvit Road. At
that point you will have bypassed Chonburi City and all the traffic lights.
You should take the exit to the left that turns back towards Chonburi City. View the larger map of the exit ramp on this page
showing direction of travel and the location of the "Chon Buri Transport Office".
Travel for about 2 kilometers and you will come to the Lands Transport Office on your left.
I will describe the process that took place at the Chonburi Office.
What You Will Need
One Year International Driving Permit
* If you have a five year Thai driver license you will not need to present a health certificate.
**The proof of address letter costs 300 baht.
At Immigration you will need to:
Give them a copy of your rental agreement (or your Chanot "deed" if you own a condo, or house papers) for proof of address.
Show your passport.
Present two (2) recent passport photos 3.0cm high x 2.5 cm wide.
Also give them signed photo copies of documents listed in 4. a, b and c of the "One Year International Driving Permit" box above.
The proof of address letter can be obtained the same day that you apply for it. Sometimes it takes only 20 to 30 minutes to process
the letter after you present all the correct documents.
The duration could be longer say "come back next day" if you use some other immigration office in another provence.
Pattaya Immigration is located in Soi 5 Jomtien.
Pattaya Immigration Soi 5
Where to Go at Chonburi Land Transport
Once you have arrived at the Chonburi Land Transport Office you will need to go to the office on the fourth floor of the first building to your
left after you enter the main entrance to the compound. This could be called the main building. Vehicle testing is carried out on the ground
floor under that main building.
Of course if you are driving a car you will need to park it first. There are parking areas behind the main building.
If you need to eat there are several food stalls inside the compound opposite the main building.
My first International Drivers Permit application took about two hours to process. The second permit that I applied for two years later
took around five hours to process. Here is the procedure for the last International licence that I got from Chonburi Land Transport Office.
International Driving Permit Application Process
This time the processing department had been relocated to the fourth floor of the new air conditioned building (see photo above) at the front of the compound.
Good news, there is a lift to the fourth floor. I arrived at 9:45 a.m. and was confronted with a very long queue of around 50 to 60 people.
It took about 55 minutes to reach the counter. I presented my documents, was issued a ticket with a number and told to wait until the number was called.
They were really calling groups from number x to number xxx. Two groups were called before my number was included in a third group. The number calling was in Thai language.Each group of around
30 people were ushered into a room behind the counter and each group would be called after most of the people from the previous group had exited the room.
In the waiting room there were three clerks organising the previously presented application documents. This time the clerks would call the name of the owner of the documents.
When my name was finally called I collected my documents and was instructed to go to the cashier's desk, hand her the documents and pay the 505 baht fee. There was no receipt issued and
the cashier asked me to come back at 3:00 p.m. to pick up my International Driving Permit.
I had lunch at a food stall opposite the building. The food was tasty. I was happy that I brought my laptop along with me and sat down to write part of this article. The stall holders allowed me to
use their 240 volt power for a small fee of 20 baht per hour. I decided to return to the air conditioned comfort of the fourth floor a little earlier around 2:15 p.m. At 2:45 p.m. I checked with the cashier and my new International Driving Permit was ready to go.
Note: I went on a Tuesday. At around 11:00 a.m. the queue had diminished to two or three people and remained that way for the rest of the time that I was there.
The staff at the Land Transport Office were polite and helpful. An hour or two of waiting time might have been saved had I arrived at the office
at around 11:00 a.m. after the long queue had diminished.