Hoi An

Bike and Car Licenses – Living in Hoi An

GETTING A MOTORBIKE LICENSE IN HOI AN

Motorbike licenses are mandatory in Vietnam for all bikes over 50cc. Many drive without licenses without much difficulty but, if you want your health insurance to be valid in one of the world’s most lethal traffic environments, GET A LICENSE.

 

Change in Law means:

Getting a Vietnamese license has just become a lot more difficult!  From mid-2016 the law changed.  It now states that unless you have a Temporary Resident Card you cannot convert an overseas license into a Vietnamese license.  So, if you are on a tourist or business visa, you are not able to convert your license.

Previously, you could convert an overseas bike license to a Vietnamese bike license on both a tourist and business visa.  It was a simple, straight-forward conversion.

If you did not have an overseas bike license but did have a car license from your home country, then you could convert your car license into a Vietnamese license and then apply for a bike license.

All you needed to do was the practical bike test.

Now, unless you have a Temporary Resident Card you need to do both the practical test and the written test.  The written test is in Vietnamese and you are not allowed an interpreter.  Therefore, if you do not have a Temporary Resident card you need to be fluent in Vietnamese to pass the written test in order to get a motorbike license.

We expect this new law to change as it makes little sense.

There are ways to get a Temporary Resident Card.  Many travel agents can help you with this.  If you need further information, please contact us at info@hoiannow.com

Also:

  • Some countries have an agreement with Vietnam in terms of an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).  But not many.  Australia does not – according to the Department of Transport Registry Office in Da Nang.  So, check with your home country to see if an IDP is recognised.  This would get you through the hoop of insurance in the event of an accident.  However, it may be the case that this must be combined with local insurance for it to be valid – check!

 

Currently all the information below is relevant only if you have a TRC (Temporary Resident Card).

Some important points

  • You need an A1 license for 175cc and under and an A2 license for over 175cc
  • To convert an Australian driving license into a temporary Vietnamese driver’s license (car to car / motorbike to motorbike), is straight forward and can be done at the Department of Transportation in Da Nang or Hoi An. Remember: the applicant must hold a valid Vietnamese residence permit of at least three month’s validity.

Question

How long is it valid for?  I only have 3 months left on my Temporary Resident Card. 

There is no rhyme or reason and so many people have different experiences.  However, you will probably come away with one of the following:  a ten-year license, one that is the duration of your visa or one that has no end.  Renewals, however, are fairly straightforward and are usually granted on a long-term basis.

 

Your current status as a driver dictates what you need to do

 Scenario 1:

  • If you have a home license for bothcar and motorbike – a straight conversion of your current license is all you need as long as you hold a Temporary Resident Card. No test is required

Scenario 2:

  • If you have a home car license – you need to pass the motorbike driving test, no theory test is required as long as you have a Temporary Resident Card.

Scenario 3:

  • If you have no current driving licenses of any type and do not hold a TRC – you need to pass the driving test and a theory test in Vietnamese without an interpreter; ie fluent Vietnamese is necessary. (If you are this fluent in Vietnamese you won’t need our help any further as, in your case, it would be best to go directly to the Department of Transport).

 

Bike and car licenses Drivers license test, figure 8, hoi An, quang nam

The figure 8 and obstacle course – Hoi An Test Center

 

Paperwork

  • You need application forms for your license and your health check
  • You need to have a translation and a notarized copy (of the translation) of your home country license
  • You need a notarized copy of your passport (picture page and visa page)
  • You need 2 color pictures of yourself 3 x 4 cm
  • Cost is approx. 100,000 VND for notarizations and translation; 135,000 VND for license application

 

Simple Conversion

  • In this case, when you are converting a current Western motorbike license into a Vietnamese motorbike license, Hoi An Now recommends you do it in Da Nang

 

Method

On the Da Nang Hoi An Expats Facebook group Challis McAFee outlined the process:

I went to the translator at 175 Le Loi (corner of Le Duan and Le Loi). Paid 50.000 for the translation and 30.000 for the notary. It took 24 hours and I had to leave my USA driver’s license to be translated.

After picking up my translated document, I took it along with a photocopy of my passport (picture page and current visa page), and 2 color pictures (don’t smile) 3x4cm to the big building at 24 Tran Phu (tallest building in town). Also bring your actual passport and license.

Enter on the North side of the building. Press #3 on the queue printer. Go sit near windows 1-4 and wait for your number. They will give you a form to fill out. Fill it out. Pay them 135.000. They take your picture. They give you a receipt. Come back to get your license in 7 days.

You are now legal to drive!
Note: this is either for a car OR a motorbike. It isn’t good for both. I guess you need to jump thru the same hoops to apply for the other one. They asked me which one I wanted.

Paperwork

  • You need application forms for your license and your health check
  • You need to have a translation and a notorized copy (of the translation) of your home country license
  • You need a notorized copy of your passport (picture page and visa page)
  • You need 2 colour pictures of yourself 3 x 4 cm
  • Cost is aprox 100,000 VND for notorizations and translation; 135,000 VND for license application
  • And a TRC!

 

Simple Conversion

  • In this case, when you are converting a current Western motorbike license into a Vietnamese motorbike license, Hoi An Nowrecommends you do it in Da Nang

 

Method

On the Da Nang Hoi An Expats Facebook group Challis McAFee outlined the process:

I went to the translator at 175 Le Loi (corner of Le Duan and Le Loi). Paid 50.000 for the translation and 30.000 for the notary. It took 24 hours and I had to leave my USA driver’s license to be translated.

After picking up my translated document, I took it along with a photocopy of my passport (picture page and current visa page), and 2 color pictures (don’t smile) 3x4cm to the big building at 24 Tran Phu (tallest building in town). Also bring your actual passport and license.

Enter on the North side of the building. Press #3 on the queue printer. Go sit near windows 1-4 and wait for your number. They will give you a form to fill out. Fill it out. Pay them 135.000. They take your picture. They give you a receipt. Come back to get your license in 7 days.

You are now legal to drive!
Note: this is either for a car OR a motorbike. It isn’t good for both. I guess you need to jump thru the same hoops to apply for the other one. They asked me which one I wanted.

 

What is the health check?

When you apply for your bike license you are issued with a file.  Inside is the application for the bike licence along with the health check form. Go to the nearest hospital and get the health check done. It is very basic and quick and usually involves a simple eye test, ear check along with a few other bits and then you are out.

 

Bike and car licenses, Drivers license test, figure 8, hoi An, quang nam

Arriving for the test

 

Driving Tests

  • If you don’t have a current motorbike license but you have a car license then you still have to do a driving test for a motorbike license
  • You will also need to have a health check (ask the Department of Transport Registry Office where they would like this done)
    • Driving test schedules are arranged by the Department of Transport Registry Office in the relevant province – in Hoi An’s case Quang Nam –and you may have to wait as they are not necessarily held frequently (it appears they wait until a quota is filled before conducting the tests). Because of this, some in this area try their luck in Da Nang instead.

Method

  • Do paperwork as described above
  • Get a health check as advised by the Department of Transport Registry Office (don’t worry, a blind woman could pass)
  • Lodge your application with the Department of Transport Registry Office 
  • Keep alert for announcements of upcoming driving tests
  • Practice on a course similar to the test course
  • Do the test

OR

  • Employ an agent to do it all for you (he/she will accompany you to the health test but you’ll have to do the driving test yourself)

 

Important Points about the Driving Test

  • You should wear trousers, not shorts; and shoes, not flip-flops to the driving test
  • You must bring your original passport and home driving license to the test (although notorised paperwork will have already been lodged)
  • No-one speaks English at the Dept of Transport so it’s best to either have a Vietnamese speaker with you or use an agent to do it all for you

 

Bike and car licenses, Drivers license test, figure 8, hoi An, quang nam

Waiting for the test.. and waiting..

 

Method and Tips

  • If you are new to motorbikes it’s advisable to practice for the driving test. Some will tell you it’s a very easy test but if you put one foot wrong (or on the ground at any stage!) you may well find you will have to do the test again (see practice area below for Hoi An). Don’t be too cocky
  • Even if you have a bike, if it’s not a Honda Wave, rent a Honda Wave. That’s the bike used for test in Hoi An. So use the same model when you practice
  • Pre-set the bike in third gear. You can do the whole circuit in that gear without difficulty
  • You are required to do 1 ½ loops on a figure 8. Initially, this may appear quite hard (as you cannot touch the lines at all) but with practice it becomes quite easy… like a lot of practice for some. The rest of the course involves some simple turns and negotiating some bumps
  • If you make a mistake just keep going and look jubilant upon finishing. It’s amazing what a smile can do
  • They’ll tell you on the day whether you’ve passed or failed
  • If successful, pick up your license about 4 weeks later.

 

Agents

You can employ someone to act as your agent to get your papers copied, notarized and lodged. They can’t do the driving test for you (if your need one) but they can do the rest.

Costs are approx: $100 (for straight conversion) and $150 (for conversion that involves a driving test)

One agent based in Hoi An who also handles translations, can act as an interpreter and a legal adviser, and arrange paperwork on company registration, marriages and immigration as well as driving licenses is:

Mr Dung, 18/16 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoi An – Tel: 0982 513 347

 

bike and car license, Drivers license test, figure 8, hoi An, quang nam

Mass exodus to sit the theory exam

 

Contact Details

Hoi An and Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province

Dept of Transport: 7A Nguyen Chi Thanh, Tam Ky, Quang Nam – Tel: 0235 3812193

 

Practice Area: North Quang Nam Vocational School, Dien Nam Dong Commune, Dien Ban Town, Quang Nam Province – Tel: 0235 3 922 670

Hoi An Now mascotDirections: It is a straight road about 7kms out of town from Hoi An’s town center.  Go along Nguyen Tat Thanh.  The Silk Village is on your right.  Eventually you will come to an intersection called Thanh Tin.  The school is about a kilometer on the left past this intersection.  Look for the Vietnamese name of the school:  Truong Trung Cap Nghe, Bac Quang Nam.

 

Note:  you may be advised to use the practice site in the school opposite Hoi An Post Office on Tran Hung Dao.  This may be okay for early practice but it is certainly not ideal: the figure 8 is almost invisible which doesn’t really matter because most of the time a truck or car is parked on it.  So whilst it’s a way out of town, do use the Vocational School’s practice site closer to the test.

 

Da Nang City

Dept of Transport Registry Office (So Giao Thong Van Tai):  

14th floor, 24 Tran Phu, Da Nang, Da Nang

Tele: 0236 3822 008

 

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