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.

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How to Get to Land Transport Office Chonburi

Map route from Pattaya to Chonburi Transport Office

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.

Google 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 along the way.

Where to Exit Bypass Road (Route 361)

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.

Chonburi Land Transport Office Map

To give you an idea of what you might be confronted with during the application process I will describe the process that took place at the Chonburi Office on the day I applied for the IDP.

What You Will Need

One Year International Driving Permit
  1. Health certificate available from most clinics and costs around 80 to 200 baht.*
  2. Your passport with a current NON IMMIGRANT visa stamp for Thailand.
  3. Two recent passport size (3.0cm high x 2.5 cm wide) photos of yourself.
  4. Photocopies of : (each copy signed by you).
    1. Non Immigrant Visa page in your passport. Include your "Entry to Thailand" stamp.
    2. The page of your passport that has your photo and details.
    3. Copy of your TM card. (the white card issued to you on entry into The Kingdom of Thailand.)
    4. Copy of your current one year or five year Thai driver's license front and back.*
  5. A letter from Immigration verifying your home address in Thailand. **
  6. The 505 Baht fee for the International Driving Permit (IDP).

* 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:

    1. Give them a copy of your rental agreement (or your Chanot "deed" if you own a condo, or house papers) for proof of address.
    2. Show your passport.
    3. Present two (2) recent passport photos 3.0cm high x 2.5 cm wide.
    4. 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.

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.

Chonburi Land Transport Office

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 and arrived at 9:45 a.m. At that time there were a lot of applicants lined up at the office. 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.

Photos of Thai International Driving Permit

International driver license frontInternational driver license back

The notice on the back of the license states:
1. Permit is valid for one year from date of issue.
2. This permit is not valid for driving in Thailand.

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