Sharing my experience on getting temporary driving license or short term driving license for Foreigner in China.
China does not recognize the International Driving Permit or other foreign driver’s licenses. You need to obtain a China Permanent/Temporary Driving License
As of my last check in Dec 2023, there are two types of driving license you can get if you are foreigner:-
Long Term Driving License
This license is for foreigners visiting China for over three months or plan on staying in China long term. The driving license is valid for 6 years. I believe the documents required for long term driving license is the same as short term. In additional, you will also need to take a 100 questions test with 90% pass.
Temporary (Short Term) Driving License
- You need a 90 days or more China VISA. The validity of the temporary driving license will follow the visa validity. e.g. If your China Visa ends on 10 Mar 2024, the driving license validity will also ends on 10 Mar 2024.
1. Translate Driving License and Passport
Find a China translation company in Baidu that can translate and stamp the translated document.
For my case, I found a translation company in the same city and have it courier to my hotel the next day.
I paid RMB100 for each document. Hence, I paid RMB200 for driving license and passport (2 documents).
2. Obtain Proof of Resident 临时居住证明
Visit your local area police station 派出所 and mention that you need to obtain proof of resident 临时居住证明. If you are staying hotel, you will provide the hotel address as the residential address.
Some smaller local police station may not be able to do this and they will refer you to another police station.
Useful Tips: The driving department office department system does not allow entering name in English. I have to re-translate my documents to have my name to be translated into chinese. Hence, please ask the translation company to translate your name as well.
3. Visit Local Driving Department Office 车管所
Visit the local driving department office and explain that you are applying for temporary license.
Not sure if this is a new requirement in 2023 as I did not find anything on Google previously, you are required to watch a 3 hours training video.
Depending on the driving department office, they may redirect you to another driving centre to watch the video. Hence, please call up the office to check if the training video is to be watch at another place. For my case, I have wasted a trip only to find out about this new requirement and it is not at the same place to apply the license.
Useful Tips: official government offices close at 5 or 530pm. Hence, please allocate some time to watch the training video.
Once you have watched the training video, you may now return to the driving department office to submit your documents.
The officer would require physical copy of the following documents to scan:-
- Driving License
- 1 inch size photo. You can take this at their instant photo booth (if any) for RMB10
Processing time takes about 15-30 mins, depending on whether the officer has done this before.
The final step is to pay RMB10 (Alipay, WeChat) for the driving license.