Chinese drivers licence for tourist
Replies: 49 - Last Post: Dec 2, 2012 10:18 PM Last Post By: Tokheim
Nov 6, 2012 2:34 AM
Chinese drivers licence for touristHi,
it should be possible to acquire a chinese drivers licence for a tourist, for example at Beijing Airport or in Chengdu. Has anybody done it?
Any suggestions or contacts?
Please, we don´t need comments about traffic in China.
Nov 6, 2012 4:00 AM
1Basically foriegn visitors cannot drive in China. Expats cannot drive on an International license. If you are moving to China to live it is possible to get a Chinese license but you need to pass the driving test first and it takes some time to set up. You will need someone to translate the test for you unless you are fluent in Chinese.
Nov 6, 2012 4:40 AM
2Basically, the above answer is wrong.
There are two types of driving licenses for foreigners, the regular one and a special temporary one for those in China less than three months. Here are the requirements (in Chinese) for the temporary license:
This is from the Beijing Trafffic Management website dated July 2012, so it should be relatively up to date, but remember things do change in China without notice. And yes, sometimes China does announce with great public fanfare some wonderful new better-than-sliced-bread thing, only to withdraw or never really implement it without any sort of notice.
There is an office for applications at Shoudu Airport, but since you need lots of documents, including a Chinese health certificate and your hotel/housing registration, I don't think you can accomplish everything on arrival, and you'll have to do it in the city. If you don't read or speak Chinese, best to have a friend translate those requirements in detail and accompany you to the office.
Nov 6, 2012 5:25 AM
3I lived in China last last year found the entire process a royal pain in the arse and didnt go thru with it.
That said, nevermind the traffic in the cites, yes its shear gridlock, but road signs and routes are marked very well overall. The problem is other drivers...accidents from bad truck/bus drivers is a concern/risk you need to consider.
Thank god my father in law is a very good driver...
Nov 6, 2012 5:45 AM
4Yes, I would not have posted if I hadn´t read about this temporary licence. I also know we have to calculate 2 or 3 days for this. At last these experiences also give an impression of a country, not only the nice tourist attractions.
I still hope somebody already exercised it.
In Chengdu it is possible to get the licence with help of a German Tour Operator who has connections with an organisation in Chengdu. The thing is you then also have to book a tour with expensive prebooked hotels with this German Operator..
Maybe somebody has a good address in Bejing or Chengdu (or elswhere) of a Chinese operator who could help?
Nov 6, 2012 5:55 AM
5Unless I'm misreading your post, it sounds like you want to apply for the license in part for the adventure of getting it. In that case, there's no reason not to do it yourself. In Beijing, this is done through a special department that deals with foreigners, so there will clearly be an English speaker around. Naturally there will be bureaucratic run-arounds as you discover your photos have the wrong colour background or such, but that's part of the game. As you said, allow two or three days for the hassle and you'll have your license, you'll understand a bit about Chinese procedures, and you'll have a good story to take back home with you.
Why hire an expert to do everything and spoil all your fun?
Nov 6, 2012 6:18 AM
6Thank you for the links!
The Chinese site also has an English translation. :
Application of Temporary Entry Driver’s Permit
A. The temporary arrived foreigner can drive his own vehicle or rent a Chinese vehicle.
B. The vehicle size shall be the permitted temporary vehicles.
a. The size of the temporary permitted vehicle shall meet the original driver’s license scope or be consistent with the original deriver’s license of the applicant.
b. If the vehicle is rented in China, the temporary driver’s license shall be limited to a sedan, manual or automatic transmission.
c. Procedures of license application of temporary entry drivers
1) Place of application: Foreign Management Office of Traffic Management Department, Beijing Public Security Bureau
2). The applicant shall submit the following documents:
(a) The Application Form of Temporary Entry Vehicle’s Number plate and Driver’s license, which shall be filled out in Chinese;
(b) ID certificate;
(c) The Chinese version of Foreign Driver’s Certificate issued overseas;
(d) The Driver’s Health Certificate issued by the appointed medical department of Health Bureau;
(e) The certificate of the Chinese host organization issued to applicants who are on organized visits, participants or other activities;
(f) Shall offer 3 recent copies of one inch color photo (half-length, bareheaded, full-faced photo)
(g) If the vehicle is self-supplied by the applicant, shall submit the temporary driver’s license;
(h) An entrusted certificate offered by relevant Chinese host department and the ID of the agency.
C. The term of the procedures
It shall be completed within three days from the application date.
It reads as if it should be possible. It is not that I look for extra bureaucratic difficulties, but I accept them as a part of experiencing a country.
Nevertheless, an experience of somebody would be interesting.
Nov 6, 2012 6:28 AM
Nov 6, 2012 6:40 AM
Nov 6, 2012 6:41 AM
Nov 6, 2012 6:44 AM
10Maybe someone else will play the Good Samaritan. The problem is, to be of any real help it has to be a very exact, precise translation (details count, remember), and that's real work.
Further, I suspect that the list in that link is itself a Chinese summary of the full-length detailed regulations.
Best to start your bureaucratic adventure on Day Minus One or Minus Two by visiting the office and getting the full current list of required documents.
(I suspect doing something like this would be a lot more fun in India.)
Nov 6, 2012 6:53 AM
Nov 6, 2012 6:58 AM
12Yes, I think we will have to bring as much as documents as possible and then see what is demanded. But as I until now did not read about anybody who got this licence I would still be very pleased to hear about someone .
In India you only need your international licence. The problem there is the traffic...
Nov 6, 2012 7:14 AM
13I have attempted to get the permanent driving license in Hangzhou, with a tourist visa. Being hosted by some Chinese friends, I had a registration of temporary residence from the police station. And also my friends could help me through the process.
Apparently the only thing I missed to get the permanent license was that my visa was for less than 90 days.
I had my French driving license "translated" in less than 2 minutes for 50 RMB. This is done at a different place than the place for applying to the driving license and the main point is to determine your chinese name :-)
And then if they hadn't realized that my visa was less than 90 days, I would have had to take an exam (multiple-choice questions) in English. I was handed over a 200-page book with the possible questions, answers and the right answers. Beware that some traffic rules are different that in other countries. For example, if you are turning right at a crossroads, you have to yield to someone coming from the opposite direction and turning left!
With my 30-day tourist visa, I was told I could get the temporary license, without taking the exam, but I was not interested so I didn't try.
I agree that going through this process is an interesting experience, and going through a kind of agent would spoil the fun...
Nov 6, 2012 7:40 AM
14Be sure to arrive on a monday :)
Once you'll get it the next challenge will be to find an operator that rents you a car. It's already more difficult for foreigners who live in China than for Chinese to rent one, but if you don't have an address or any local person as a contact it will be challenging... :) But then that's why you do it.
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