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How Can Foreigners Drive in China?

Updated:2018-8-2 15:31:26    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:504

How can foreigners drive in China legally? Most foreign visitors find they have enough trouble surviving Chinese traffic without actually taking the wheel. Unfortunately, you cannot drive with an International Driver's Permit (IDP) in mainland China. Although China doesn't accept the use of international driving licenses on its roads, there are still three ways for foreign people to drive in China. Detailed explanations are shown below.

I. Transfer your foreign driver’s license into Chinese driver license
If you plan to drive around China, the first thing you should know is that an International Driver’s License is not recognized so you should get a Chinese Driver’s License. Here, Tannet take transferring foreign driver’s license in Shenzhen as an example. Procedures on how to transfer a foreign driver’s license in Shenzhen are as follows:

(1) The first thing to be done is to make an online appointment. An early time is recommended;
(2) Go to Xili Vehicle Administration Office and get an application to take the driver's license test and the list of accredited hospitals and clinics where you can take the physical exam;
(3) Take a Written (computerized) Test. If you do not speak Chinese you can bring a friend or translator. An English version of the test is available. There are a hundred of questions for you to answer and you should get 90% correctly to pass the exam. You are entitled to have two chances.

Generally speaking, it usually takes 15-20 working days to complete this process. Kindly remember to go to the testing center on time, because if you are late, you will have to get another appointment to get it.

II. Obtain a Chinese driver’s license by taking the driving test
Getting Chinese driver license without your own country's driver license takes quite a lot of effort, since you need to pass the exam on basic driving skills after passing the written exam, as same as the locals. However, it is really worth it when you are able to hit the road in your favorite ride. The tests for obtaining a Chinese driver’s license include:

(1) Written exam on laws and traffic regulations and basic concepts on vehicles;
(2) Parking and basic driving skills test on a track;
(3) Written exam on correct driving habits;
(4) Road test.

III. Apply for temporary Chinese driver’s license
Since January 2007, it became possible for foreigners in China to apply for Temporary Chinese driver license with the approval of a new clause by the Ministry of Public Security. The application process for temporary driver licenses is less complicated and removes the requirement of the examinations, the medical report and other procedures. Provisional driving license is specified to be valid in line with the duration of Chinese visa.

Holders of temporary driving licenses are subject to several limitations:
(1) Only those foreigners who have been granted a visa with a duration of stay of at least 180 days are eligible such application.
(2) The holders of the temporary license will only be allowed to drive in China for a period of 90 days at maximum after the issue of the certification.
(3) The period cannot be extended, and multiple applications are not allowed under the same visa.

Contact Us
If you have further queries, don’t hesitate to contact Tannet anytime, anywhere by simply visiting Tannet’s website, or calling Hong Kong hotline at 852-27826888 or China hotline at 86-755-82143512 or 86-755-82143181 or emailing to You are also welcome to visit our office situated in 16/F, Taiyangdao Bldg 2020, Dongmen Rd South, Luohu, Shenzhen, China.

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