Renew your Thai drivers license in Chiang Mai.
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.
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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Choose any local clinic or hospital and let them know you need an exam to renew your Thai drivers license.
- Fill out all the basic forms and wait to see the doctor.
- The doctor will ask if you are well (hint: the answer should be YES)
- They will also check your breathing with a stethoscope.
- 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.
#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.
#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.
#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)
#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!!!)
#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)
#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.
#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
#10 – That’s it. The picture is taken and the new card is printed almost immediately. You’re done!