Renew your Thai drivers license in Chiang Mai.

Renew your Thai drivers license in Chiang Mai.

Category : Tips/Tricks , Uncategorized

As of March 2016

For those of you that stay long term in Chiang Mai or Thailand in general, you’ll need to apply for a local license after 3 months.    Your first license will be probationary and good for 2 years.    After that, you can renew your Thai drivers license to a standard license good for 5 years (closer to 6yrs) at a time.


Temp/Probationary Thai DL

There are plenty of posts out there detailing how to get your first license, but this post is aimed at those long-term residents looking to renew their Thai drivers license.

General Requirements:

  • Greater* than 2 year on a probationary license or expiring 5 yr DL.  (*Greater, as in you can not renew until the  day after your first license has expired!)
  • Non-Imm visa.   You can not renew for a 5 year license on a tourist visa. (You can get another 2yr Temp DL on a tourist visa)
  • Proof of residency (either a Cert. of Residency, Yellow Book, or Work Permit)
  • Medical Exam
  • Cash – 500B for car license, 250B for motorbike license.

Where to start?


Prove that you live in Thailand.

You must show proof of living in Thailand using a Work Permit, Yellow Book, or Resident Certificate.

If you have a work permit or yellow book, you already know what they are and know what to do with it. For others, read below.

The Resident Certificate:

  1. Take your rental agreement, your passport, and some cash to the Promenada Mall.   The new immigration office takes up a whole side of the ground floor in building A.
  2. Find the G4T office ( or whatever the current name may be) near the local eateries.    You will need to fill out the application, include 2 pictures, and copies of the front page, entry card, and current visa from your passport.   Conveniently, there is a copy shop next door that does both.  (tip: you only need 1 Res. Cert.   If you are renewing 2 licenses, you can make a copy)
  3. Pay 500THB for the service and come back the next afternoon (2pm- 4pm) to pick it up.  ( You can do it for free at the actual immigration office, but may be forced to wait a month for the free service)

Prove you are alive and well

You will need to prove you are healthy enough to sit for an hour long refresher course.

  1. Choose any local clinic or hospital and let them know you need an exam to renew your Thai drivers license.
  2. Fill out all the basic forms and wait to see the doctor.
  3. The doctor will ask if you are well (hint: the answer should be YES)
  4. They will also check your breathing with a stethoscope.
  5. Congrats!   As long as you have the 100THB – 200THB to pay for the document, you passed!(tip: you only need 1 Med. Cert.   If you are renewing 2 licenses, you can make a copy)

Now for the fun part:  The Motor Vehicles Office!

The Motor Vehicle office is open Monday – Friday.   Click here for a map:   Chiang Mai Motor Vehicle

#1 – Arrive before 8:30am. Go directly to the Information Desk on the 2nd Floor (upstairs).  They will give you your renewal forms and tell you what copies you need.

Information Office

Information Office

#2 – Go directly to the back and get copies as necessary.  You will need 1 for each license: passport front page, resident certificate, and health check.   If you are renewing 2 licenses, make a copy of each.

Copy Shop

Copy Shop – All the way in the back.

#3 – Take you application, copies, passport, etc to counter 21 or 22.   ( first two counters to the right as you come upstairs.  They will go through your documents and make sure everything is there.

Starting Counter

Starting Counter

#4 – Proceed to counter 27 or 28.   They will take your documentation and tell you to move on to the lecture room (large room with TV)


Eye Test/Reaction Test Area

#5 – Proceed to the lecture room (Thais: Sit as close to the door as possible!!!).    In a few minutes a proctor will come in and ask you to return to Counter 27 – 28 for some tests.(See Above)   (Thais: Leave something at your seat to reserve it before leaving the lecture/TV room!!!)

TV room is in the back

TV room is in the back

#6 – They will herd you all into the back or counter 27 and do a color/vision test.   I’ve never been asked to do a reaction test for a DL renewal.  Once finished, they will ask all to find your documents (all will be laid out on a nearby table)   For foreigners, you will be asked if you understand enough Thai to sit through the video.   This is not the time to be proud, say NO!  Trust me on this.

#7 – Thais will be returned to the main lecture/TV hall and will have to sit through a refresher video of about 1 hour.  (Hopefully, you returned to your seat close to the door.)    Foreigners will be sat in another room and given an option to watch a video in English, Japanese, Chinese or Spanish.  (FYI for foreigners, they will keep your documents at counter 27.   Remember to come back for it here)

Computer room for Foreigners

Computer room for Foreigners

#8 – In about an hour the proctor will return and shut off the TV.   You will be told to walk back out and get a queue number from the Information Desk (same desk as in #1).    This is why it is key to sit close to the door.    You can get queue #1 and be finished in about 15 mins.  If you sat in the back you may be queue #80+ and sit outside waiting for a few hours.   (Foreingers, see the picture above.  You will be able to see through the glass while watching your video and know when they Thai class is getting out.    You will need to leave immediately and get a queue number first.    Then go straight to counter 27 – 28 and get your documents.


The wait

#9 – When called, you will be told to come up and pay for the license(s) and any other fees necessary (address change, late renewal, etc)  Once paid, they will direct you behind the counter area for another queue number and to have your picture taken


Picture queue behind the counter area

#10 – That’s it.    The picture is taken and the new card is printed almost immediately.   You’re done!






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Patrick Nickol

December 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

Mate, on my way to chiang mai, I got old temp license from 2008. Mu Question is if I renew and get a 5 year one, what date will be shown on the license. 2008 or 2016 as issuing date.


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June 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

I have a two-year provisional license (my first) that expires next month. I’m not sure why I got two years. You mention above that one cannot renew until the one-year license expires, but does that rule also apply for the two-year license? Do I have to wait till it actually expires in order to apply for the five-year?

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July 13, 2017 at 10:13 am

Hi, thanks for your reply. I was planning on going two weeks before just in case something comes up and I don’t have all that’s required. Maybe that’s a bit too long before . . . I’ll wait a couple of weeks.


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March 27, 2018 at 6:29 pm

Hi, just want to make sure that we do need to get a medical exam when renewing our 2 year dr.lic to the 5 yr. Have heard conflicting stories.

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Vual Grimoire

August 15, 2018 at 5:54 am

I got both my provisional and regular licenses without classes of any kind. I showed them my valid Calif license and Rez cert and that was it. I paid the fees, got my pic taken and the plastic car and bike licenses issued.
Why do they have 2 separate plastic licenses for car and bike? Seems a waste not to put both qualifications on a single card.
Anyhooooooo the whole deal took about 15 minutes both times.
I get stopped a fair bit by roadside cops and they never examine my Thai license. Just glance that I have one and lose interest immediately since no cash fine forthcoming. Guess I was lucky but like so much in bureaucracies, it’s often hit and miss. Had similar experiences getting Moroccan and Indonesian licenses. Depends on moods, time of day, etc seems like.

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Martin Papworth

August 15, 2018 at 11:10 pm

The residency letter from Thai immigration is now 1000 baht, usually pick it up the next day, if you’re lucky on the same day( immigration called me to collect!) On the 2nd fl Promenada, you don’t need a queue ticket for residency letter but they only process so many in a day, if you arrive by 8:30am you’ll be fine, arrive late morning you’ll have to come back next day. Queue up at the desk half way down on the right hand side. Also you need a photocopy of your TM30 slip in your passport as well as front page, visa and departure card.

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January 18, 2019 at 12:33 pm

You can renew your licence before it expires. I renewed mine today, the day my old licence expired. All I had to do was show documents, wait in a queue to pay, and wait in another queue to get new licence printed. No need for any classes or tests of any kind!

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