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Vietnam Motorbike Hanoi Rental – Vietnam Motorbike Driving License

VIETNAM MOTORBIKE DRIVING LICENSE

We understand most of the foreigners care about motorbike driving license when they think of travelling on two wheels in Vietnam. This page is updated until today.

Foreign Licenses

Sadly, none of your home country driving licenses is valid in Vietnam. There are conflicting reports about this but the reality is unfortunately not a good news.

1968 Convention international driving license (IDL)

Fortunately, the good news is IDL is now valid in Vietnam from August 1st 2016 with the 46/2016/ND-CP decree. However, this decree only covers countries that abide by the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic on IDPs. If you have a 1968 IDP like below, you can purchase an insurance policy that covers you for riding in Vietnam. Please also bring your home country driving license with motorbike endorsement. Congratulations, you are riding legally in Vietnam!

Vietnam Motorbike Hanoi Rental - 1968 Convention international motorbike driving license is now accepted in Vietnam
Vietnam Motorbike Hanoi Rental - 1968 Convention international motorbike driving license is now accepted in Vietnam

1949 Convention international driving permit (IDP)

Many countries like Australia, UK, USA and Canada etc. are not signatories to the 1968 Convention but abide by the 1949 Geneva Convention. Therefore, citizens of those countries are NOT able to drive in Vietnam with their IDPs.

Below is a copy of 1949 Convention IDP which is not accepted in Vietnam!

Vietnam Motorbike Hanoi Rental - 1949 Convention international motorbike driving permit is not good in Vietnam

Local Licenses

Vietnamese driving licences are mandatory for riders of motorcycles with a capacity of over 50cc. You need A1 license for under 175cc or A2 for over 175cc.

It’s more to do with insurance policies when you ride in Vietnam. For more details please follow this link.

Below we will go over the details to help you understand the whole process and how to have a local Vietnam motorbike driving license. We have one office in Hanoi only so the details are good for Hanoi, not other provinces or cities.

Your Status

You will first need to know your status to start with.

Currently, it’s impossible to have a Vietnamese motorbike license if you travel on a tourist visa. You need a business visa, a work permit and/or a residence card. In fact, this also applies to registering motorbike(s) in Vietnam.

Status 1

You have your home country driver’s licence and can operate either automobiles and/or motorcycles. However, you only have a tourist visa. Sadly, it’s impossible to convert to a Vietnamese driving license.

Status 2

You have your home country driver’s license and can operate both automobiles and motorcycles. If this is you, you can obtain the equivalent driver’s licence in Vietnam, without the need to do a test. In short, it’s just about converting your license!

Status 3

You hold your home country driver’s licence, but can only operate an automobile. If this is you, you can obtain a motorcycle licence after passing a motorcycle driving test. Luckily, there is no need to do a theory test.

Status 4

You do not have any driver’s licence that allows you to operate an automobile or motorcycle. If this is you, you will need to pass both theory and driving tests to operate a motorcycle. Please note though, the theory test is in Vietnamese and on a computer screen with 20 questions and you must pass at least 18 of them. To make it more difficult, sadly you can’t have an interpreter. In other words, you need to be fluent in spoken and written Vietnamese.

Status 5

You have your home country driving license with motorbike endorsement. In addition, you also have a valid international driving permit (IDP) from countries that signed 1949 Convention (found on the first page). Sadly, Vietnam doesn’t accept both of your licenses.

Status 6

You have your home country driving license with motorbike endorsement. In addition, you also have a valid international driving permit (IDP) from countries that signed 1968 Convention (printed right on the first page). Congratulations, there is nothing you need to do. Bring both of these documents and you are legal to ride motorbikes in Vietnam. However, you can only be legal for the displacement limit of your licenses.

Vietnam Motorbike Hanoi Rental - Vietnam motorbike driving license test in Bac Ninh April 2014 from Offroad Vietnam staff

Converting Your Motorbike Driving License

It is the easiest way to get a Vietnam motorbike driving license. In other words, you don’t need to take any theory or riding test.

This could only be possible if you already had your home country motorbike driving license. In addition, you need to have a business visa and/or residence card of at least three month’s validity. It’s simply converting from your home country driving license to the Vietnamese license.

You need to have notarizing copies of your passport, visa and home country motorbike driving license (take 1-2 working days once you are in Vietnam). These documents can be done at any notarizing office. Then wait 7-10 days (Status 2 above) to have a your Vietnam motorbike driving license issued.

If you need a riding test (Status 3 above) then you need to wait a bit longer. Normally, they can arrange a weekly test somewhere in Hanoi. But sometime this can be longer.

In Hanoi, applications for temporary driver’s licences should be directed to the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre, 16 Cao Ba Quat street.

Applying For a Vietnamese Driving Licence

This is much more difficult way to get a Vietnam motorbike driving license. You need to take both theory and riding tests (Status 4 above). All questions an instructions are only in Vietnamese! You have to do this because you don’t have a valid home country car or motorbike driving license. Something like CBT from the UK is not enough.

To get a Vietnam motorbike driving license, the applicant must hold a valid Vietnamese residence permit or a work permit, a business visa of at least three month’s validity and a sponsor company. You need to have notarizing copies of your passport and visa (take 1-2 working days once you are in Vietnam). These documents are translated and notarized at any notarizing office. Then wait for your turn to do the theory and riding tests that can take up to a month.

To apply for a Vietnamese driving licence in Hanoi, the applicant should contact the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre, 16 Cao Ba Quat street.

Service Companies

In reality, there are companies or people who offer service of obtaining or converting Vietnamese driving license. They usually require copy of your papers only. However, their prices are very expensive, starting from around 250$US (under 175cc or A1 license) to 400$US (over 175cc or A2 license).  In reality, most tourists found these prices too expensive and couldn’t afford them.

Decisions

If you want minimum risks and in safe hands without worrying about Vietnam motorbike driving license then book a guided motorbike tours with us. Many people think they can save on a self-guided motorbike tour but if something happens they do loose money!

The only thing that we found difficult for novice riders is getting out of town and returning back to Hanoi. Just watch this video and see how two girls who were beginners on Honda XR125 dirt bikes. With our guide leading your way, you will get through this. Flow as a fish in the river!

To know whether a self-guided or guided tour is better for you, please follow this link.

Just contact us if you still have more questions regarding driving licenses for your Vietnam motorbike tours.

Other Essential Things

Safety riding gear 
Motorbike lesson
Insurance
Things to bring
Mechanic basics
Terminology
Travel documents

Top of page Vietnam Motorbike Hanoi Rental - Vietnam Motorbike Driving License

  1. Nic Reply

    Hello,

    I am Canadian and have a valid drivers license for automobiles only. I’d like to tour Vietnam by motorcycle over 175cc. Can you please assist on what is required by myself and the cost.

    Thanks.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      If you travel on a tourist visa, officially you can’t get a license. You need a work permit or a residence card and a business visa. However, I know a service company who can arrange a Vietnamese temporary for you without doing any test but their price is quite steep (between 300 – 400$US depending on your license). Over 175cc is A2 license in Vietnam and it’s expensive and so far nobody is willing to pay this much. Note that we don’t offer this service, just posted the information.

  2. Ty Reply

    Which document copies need to be translated? Just the drivers license or all?

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Everything and must be notarized.

  3. Darryl Reply

    Bit outdated.. if your from Australia and have a open rider licence. a idl.certified along with a three month visa and $32 you can get what they call a tourist license in Ho Chi Min.. i got one last year and although now it has expired when my visa expired it did allow me to ride there.. i went through the transport dept with three photos all certified..

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hi Darryl. How long does it take? What papers did you need to have? If you have more details. We are not providing license conversion or offer any service so we can share everything. If you can send a copy of your tourist license that would be more real. We never heard of such a license in Hanoi 🙁

  4. San Reply

    Hello. My name is San. I’m from Indonesia.
    There is an agreement between ASEAN countries about driving license recognition. Is it also works in Vietnam?
    Thank you.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      To date, none of the foreign licenses is valid in Vietnam, including your country license. There are conflicting reports about this but the reality is unfortunately not a good news.

      However, the good news is IDP (international driving permit, 1968 Convention and not the 1949 Convention) is now valid in Vietnam from August 1st, 2016 with the 46/2016/ND-CP decree. You also need to present your home country driving license with motorbike endorsement.

      In conclusion, only Vietnamese driving license (local and converted) and the 1968 Convention IDP are recognized in Vietnam.

  5. Petr MAKALOUS Reply

    Hello Anh Wu.
    Your pages are very helpful! I consider to travel in Vietnam on motorbike next year but I have driving licence B only (car up tu 3 500 kg) from my country (Czech rep.) with corresponding IDP (Vienna 1968), that is “Status 3” by your info. I would like to go through “motorcycle driving test” then. Could you give an advice where I can apply for this exam? I mean what autority in Vietnam and practice info, etc. Thanks very much in advance!

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Dear Petr. If you travel on a tourist visa, you can’t get a Vietnamese license. You must be fluent in Vietnamese because you are not allowed to have an interpreter. To ask for more details, contact the nearest Department of Public Transport because we don’t assist in this process. However, in your case, it’s near impossible, sorry to say the truth.

  6. Dean Reply

    Hello Anh Wu,
    yes i got legal Document from Cambodian Police , dare my job transfer in Vietnam i would like to bring with me my motorbike as here a new Motorbike is very expensive .

    Do you mean the NN plate for foreigner?

    Thanks

    Best regards

  7. Dennis Wilde Reply

    Hello Anh Wu

    Great info!

    But one question if I’m visiting Vietnam for 2 weeks and I have an international driving license (car & moped). Can I get the 100cc test also? or do I have to have a work permit? or is it fine as a tourist?

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hi Dennis. Assuming you have a 1949 IDP. Bad news: Officially, tourists can’t get a Vietnam driving license. However, there are some service companies who can arrange a Vietnamese license for around 200$US. Too expensive, isn’t it? We don’t assist in getting a local license.

  8. Dean Reply

    Hello,

    I would like to register my motorbike. It is over 800 cc but I am a foreigner with Resident card and Vietnamese Driver License. There is any legal way to do it?

    Thanks.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Dean,

      You can only register your bike if you have all legal documents – this means you bought a new bike. If it’s an illegal bike there is no way to register it. Many used big bikes in Vietnam were illegally imported from Cambodia or use fake papers. Please contact your local police office (CSGT) for the specific requirement.

      Good luck.

  9. Stanav Reply

    Hello Anh Wu,
    Regarding operating a motobike less than 50cc (no driver license required), does the same law apply to foreigners also or is it only for local Vietnamese? And do you have anything < 50cc for rent?

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Stanav. Yes, this applies to everyone. Sadly, we have no small scooters, the smallest is 100cc. In fact, 50cc doesn’t have enough power and costs as much as 100cc while it’s mostly Chinese copy – not reliable.

  10. James Barker Reply

    Hello,

    Thanks so much for this valuable information! I don’t have a home country motorbike license from the USA since I haven’t lived there in years, but I do have a valid motorbike license from Thailand and Mexico (where I have recently lived). Will I be able to use either of these to obtain a Vietnam motorbike license easily or will I have to take a driving test? I will be have a work permit and work visa as a teacher.

    Thanks,

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello James. If your Thai or Mexican licenses have motorbike endorsement and you have a work permit then you can easily convert into a Vietnamese license. You don’t need to take any test. The validity is up to passport or work permit (whatever shorter). The company who applies your work permit must arrange this license at the local Department of Public Transport.

  11. Maheshkumar J Reply

    Hi I am from India and we are planning a bike ride (using 15 local rental bikes) trip in Vietnam for a week to see places around. We all have an Indian Driving License (Two wheeler with Gear). Will that be valid or need to any take any other measures. Please advice.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Mahesh. I think your license is 1949 Convention? Check the first page. If this is the case, sadly you are not allowed to use this license for Vietnam. Honestly, most traffic cops don’t know the difference between two IDPs, so bring it and hopefully it works. If you can apply the 1968 Convention, then do it. One of our English riders last month managed to get two IDPs!

  12. hagler Reply

    I think you should clarify to people that the decree of last year only covers countries that abide by the 1968 convention on IDPs. Australia, USA and Canada are not signatories to the 1968 convention but abide by the 1949 Geneva convention so citizens of those countries are NOT able to drive in Vietnam with their IDPs.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Yes, thank you for your detailed contribution. We did realize this but were too busy so just forgot. We now got this page updated.

  13. Tim Reply

    Hello,
    I got my automobile license from my home country converted to a Vietnamese license. Now, can you tell me where to get the application and sign up for the driving test for a motorbike? I think it used to be at Quoc Tu Giam but has moved. Thanks.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      You need a business visa and a residence card or work permit. Otherwise, you can’t convert to a Vietnamese license. This department is now in Ha Dong. Do some research and you will find out the new location.

  14. Brett Reply

    Hi,

    I live in Hanoi and I just got a car and motorcycle license for less than 175cc. I got it using my home license. No problem. But I want my full motorcycle license. My embassy (we are here as diplomats) says this can’t be done because you need to speak Vietnamese to get a motorcycle licence above 175cc. Do you know if this is correct?

    Thanks for your advice!

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Yes, they are right. Whatever test you take will be in Vietnamese and you are not allowed to have a translator. Therefore, you must speak and understand Vietnamese. Theory test has 20 questions. You must understand Vietnamese to circle the answers, all questions come with pictures and on computer.

      • Brett Reply

        Thanks. So I can’t just use my Australian motorcycle license to get a VN motorcycle license–like I did for my car license here?

        • Diego Reply

          Very useful into Anh. Many thanks for sharing your valuable knowledge. Please let me understand. In my country I have a full driving licence for any motorbike. Does it mean that if I convert to the Vietnamese one I will be able to drive max 175cc? I do not speak Vietnamese and therefore no way I can pass the test. Thank you for your advice.

          • Anh Wu

            To convert you must have a business visa AND a work permit or residence card. If you are on a tourist visa, you can’t do it. After notifying passport and driving license, you wait for 7 days to have a Vietnamese license. The validity will be your passport expiry date. You can ride any bike, it’s simply converting your license into Vietnamese one. Please contact the Ministry of Transport or local Department of Transport where you live and they will provide further instructions, we don’t offer any service relating to converting a license. Good luck.

          • Diego

            Dear Anh, I’m doing some extra search. From what I learnt it seems you are right but the driving license will last only until the end of the VISA (I have business VISAs renewed every 6 months). So I would end up having to go through the same process every 6 months. no good, no no! You indicated instead that “the validity will be your passport expiry date”. Are you still sure about that?

          • John Pearce

            @Anh Wu–This is incorrect. I have only a business visa, no work permit, and I get a new Vietnamese license right after I renew my visa. I’m on my fourth one, the most recent was obtained in Nov 2017 and the one before that in Nov 2016. I got my first one in 2013 on a tourist visa and another in 2015 on a tourist visa.

            @Diego–It takes a few minutes of your time and a less than US$15. Is that really too much to ask to be driving/riding legally?

          • Anh Wu

            John. It depends on which province you dealt with. The information is for general. We never heard of any success like yours so could you be a bit more specific of steps? It can’t be that easy, many of my friends who are foreigners reported worse things than I posted here 🙁

  15. Lee Reply

    According to the Australian Government website we cannot drive legally in Vietnam even with an IDP, but from what I am reading here if we have an IDP we can hire a car or motorbike is this correct?

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Yes, you are correct. Western media and even Vietnamese embassies are too slow on this. We did mention this on this page. They must be up with the current situation.

  16. Jamie Reply

    Hi,

    Is there any way of getting the license quicker? I have Status 1 but I want to arrive on a Friday night and start riding on Sunday morning in Hanoi, what do you recommend?

    Thanks so much, this is a very informative page!

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Jamie. As we explained on our website, you are not able to get a Vietnamese license if you travel on a tourist visa. Even with a business visa and a work permit, with all paperwork and notary papers you need at least two weeks in reality. The better way is get an international driving license from your country, make sure it has motorbike endorsement.

    • John Pearce Reply

      The only way would be to come earlier or start riding later.

      • Anh Wu Reply

        And make sure your riding skills are competent.

  17. Nura91 Reply

    Hey,
    I normally have a driving license in Europe, but got it drawn-in from the government for driving under the influence of alcohol 3 months ago. I wasn’t able to get it back before my departure, as I moved to Asia. My question: Is it still possible to rent a motorbike and get an insurance with only a copy of the European license?

    Thanks for your answer!

    greetings

    • Anh Wu Reply

      No, in fact you need an international driving license or Vietnamese license. Unfortunately, no copy is accepted. Therefore, you need to accept any risk for riding without license or wait and get license back.

      If you rent a bike, we don’t require a license but if police stops you pay the fine.

  18. Ben Dover Reply

    Hi, what’s the current status with regard to getting a Vietnamese motorbike license based upon my holding a UK motorbike license ?
    Are UK motorbike licences legally accepted yet ?!
    If not, what is the current process ?
    Also, how on earth do I get myself a business visa or work visa if I’m really just going to be a tourist ?! Assuming this is still a requirement.

    I do find it really quite backward of the Vietnamese government not to put a simple procedure in place for awarding tourists a license (even if temporary) upon presentation of a UK (or other well regarded driving test nation). Its an easy money spinner for the government and means people can get insured too. Frankly a rider with a UK license (or many other countries) will be a FAR better & safer driver than a native local !!!!
    I agree that people without any license shouldn’t be allowed to rent anything.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hi Ben. No foreign license is legal in Vietnam. A business visa costs a lot of money. For example, 1 year business visa is about 600$US. When you are in Vietnam you will know how crazy traffic is and Vietnamese riders are among the best in the world on SMALL bikes. However, many are very careless. Therefore, on average about 27 people die daily and most are bike riders.

      • John Pearce Reply

        A one-year business visa is a lot less money now. I paid less than US$250 for the one I got in Nov 2017

        • Anh Wu Reply

          Could you please provide the steps and/or company that you dealt with? We don’t offer this service so the details are for the customers.

  19. Susan Reply

    Hello,
    Would you let me know about the relation between Driving License and Temporary Resident Card.
    The Driving License will expire when the Temporary Resident Card expires, won’t it?
    Thanks

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Susan. They normally issue it to the validity of your passport but can be to your residence card. Please check with your local Department of Public Transport for more details.

  20. danny rushton Reply

    Hello. So if I am right in what you are saying if I visit Vietnam for 3 weeks on regular tourist visa I can not get a licence so therefore can not hire a motor bike? Or can I still hire a motorbike but risk getting caught by police for not having licence? If i do get caught by the police, what is likely to happen to me?

    • Anh Wu Reply

      You are right. The charge is about 50$US. That’s the same everywhere.

  21. Aaron Reply

    I have a valid driver’s license for an automobile from the US. I would need to take status 2. My question is, how much does the temporary license cost after I pass the road test for a motorcycle? And would I get the license the same day as I pass the test? Thanks for your help.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Aaron. You still need a business visa and a work permit. A license will be issued to the validity of your passport. A1 (50-174cc) license costs about 20$US and A2 (above 175cc) is about 150$US and some pocket money. Sadly, we don’t assist with getting a local license for foreigners due to the hidden costs and complicated paperwork. Please contact the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre, 16 Cao Ba Quat street.

  22. Al Reply

    Hello,

    Is there any news about the new international license laws in Vietnam, that are meant to be introduced early this year? I cannot seem to find anything definitive online. I will be visiting in May and hope that it is in place by then (i have a Australian motorbike license and am an experienced rider, including in other SE Asian countries).

    Cheers,
    Al

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Al. The government is working on accepting international driving license from 2015 but unfortunately there is no final confirmation from the Ministry of Transport. Laws in Vietnam need sometime to be enforced through a complicated system of decrees and letters.

  23. Bink Reply

    Hey I would like to rent two motorbikes to go from Hanoi to Hochimin city. We both have drivers licences. I have mine on me but my friend does not have his hard copy.

    Will this be an issue.

    • Anh Wu Reply

      Hello Bink. Unfortunately, we don’t offer one-way motorbike hire because we have only one office in Hanoi. Vietnam doesn’t recognize foreign licenses but it’s not that complicated as explained above.

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