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In Which Country is it Easiest for Foreigners to Get a Driver's License?

It's difficult to get a driver's license in Beijing, China.
Most countries accept an International Driver's Permit.
Vietnam appears to be one of the easiest places to get a driver's license.
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  • Written By: Kris Roudebush
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 April 2014
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Traveling abroad presents a great deal of challenges and one of the most basic functions nearly everyone takes for granted is the privilege to drive. When planning your trip to another country, be sure to visit your embassy’s website for that country. Check out the page on driving requirements so that you’re not caught on the roads with the wrong documentation.

Most countries accept your original driver's license and an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). An IDP is simply a translation of your license, since it is a translation and not an actual license be sure to keep your original license with you when you’re abroad. However, be careful who you get your IDP from. There are a lot of scams out there. Run from sites with rampant misspellings and poor grammar. Instead, stick with the basics. The U.S. State Department issues IDPs as well as Automobile Association of America (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Association for those in the U.S. Outside the U.S., contact your motoring services authority or vehicle licensing agent.

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While an original license and an IDP are considered short term solutions, they are shorter in some countries than they are in others. Japan accepts them only for 90 days and if you’ve returned within 90 days of your first visit, it’s recommended you get a Japanese license. New Zealand allows you use your home country issued driver's license and IDP for up to a year. If you leave and return you can continue to use your driver’s license and IDP for another year.

If you’ve decided to stay abroad you should know it seems very easy to get a license in Vietnam. You can apply online and are required to provide a request for a Vietnamese driver's license, a notarized copy of your driver's license from your home country, a copy of your IDP, a copy of your passport, and 3 passport sized photos. At the time of submitting your documentation you must show your original passport and driver's license. You’ll get your license in about 7 days.

The easiest country might be the Philippines where you’ll need your current original foreign driver's license and a copy, a translation if it’s not in English, and a completed application form. You’ll get a receipt that serves as a temporary license till you get your permanent license in the mail.

On the other hand, if you find yourself in need of a driver's license in Beijing, China do yourself a favor, and take a class. Beijing appears to be one of the most difficult countries to obtain a license in. The current exam is 100 questions long and passing is 90% or higher. Wording can be ambiguous and in broken English so it’s a good idea to get help understanding what is being said. In fact it’s such a difficult exam there are several sites which talk about the horror of it all. The only good thing seems to be the fact that you’ll know if you passed or notimmediately after taking the test. However, so will everyone else, since your results are read aloud.

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Discuss this Article

anon315448
Post 7

The Chinese license is the most difficult to get. 5000rmb is close to $1,00,0 by the way. If you're going to buy dubious licenses, you might as well drive without a license, because once you get caught, you will face penalties. Europe is easy compared to China.

petetravers
Post 6

I have been a "citizen of the world" for years.

I have been using a USA state driver's licence for years, although I am not an American citizen or resident.

In March of 2012, the US government made it a requirement to prove "legal presence" in the US to obtain or renew a US state licence.

I have two years until expiry and need to find an easy to get foreign licence, somewhere in the world

that doesn't take forever and cost a fortune.

Don't suggest an IDL licence or permit as these must be used with a valid licence from a country that supports International Drivers Licences.

As the ranks of "perpetual travelers" increase, this

is an area of great interest for many. Thanks for any input.

anon135550
Post 5

Germany is the most difficult country to get a driver's license.

anon110363
Post 4

You say it is easy to get a Filipino or Vietnamese drivers license but how do you do it over the internet? it appears that your info is totally wrong.

anon61593
Post 3

Japan is crazy! Nine out of 10 people failed in the driving skill test, and seven out of 10 failed in the written test!

the process is also more than complicated. in fact they speak english and the test conducted in any language you can choose!

Japan is very safe country to drive and that's why.

I had my Chinese license for Rmb. 5000 only, doing nothing! in two weeks i got my license in japan, you cannot do such a thing.

anon39345
Post 2

i can tell you that ohio is one of the easiest states to pass both the written and road test. they also, as of 2004 did not require any proof of address. all you need is a passport and ssn. indiana is one of the harder ones. so dont bother with them.

libertinelux
Post 1

Hi wiseGEEK. i am looking for information on which of the States within America is easiest to obtain a license. I believe there are some states that require you to show evidence of residency and others that don't. thank you

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