International Driving Permit for Vietnam

Vietnam's stunning landscapes and vibrant cities are best explored on your own terms. For European and American visitors, this often means renting a motorbike or car. But before you hit the open road, securing an International Driving Permit (IDP) is crucial. This article will unveil the formalities for obtaining an IDP, ensuring a smooth and legal driving experience in Vietnam
 
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International Translation of Driver's License - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures


Before you leave

✓ Important points
  • ♦ An International Driving Permit is not in itself a driving license. It is an official translation of your national driving license, which must be accompanied by your national license to be valid.
  • ♦ An International Driving Permit is required to drive in Vietnam if you do not have a Vietnamese driver's license.
  • ♦ You must always carry your national driving license with you when driving in Vietnam.
  • ♦ The IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue.
  • ♦ You can obtain an International Driving Permit in your home country before your trip to Vietnam.
To obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Vietnam, the steps differ slightly for EUropeans and Americans.
Here are the detailed steps for each.
 
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International Driver's License Type of Vehicles - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures


INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT FOR EUROPEANS

  • ♦ If you don't have a Vietnamese driving license, you need an International Driving Permit to drive in Vietnam.
  • ♦ You can apply for an International Driving Permit from the motoring authority in your home country, such as the Prefecture in France.
  • ♦ The documents required are: your valid national driving license, a passport photo, an application form, and a fee.
  • ♦ Processing time is usually a few days to a week, and the cost is between 15 and 30 euros.

If you are French, to apply for PCI, follow the steps below

  • • Go to the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) website: ants.gouv.fr.
  • • Create an account or log in.
  • • Fill in the PCI application form online.
  • • Upload the required documents (copy of driving license, passport photo, ID).
  • • Pay the fee and receive your PCI by post to your address in France.
Required documents:
  • • Your valid national driving license
  • • A passport photo
  • • A completed application form (usually available online or from the motoring authority)
  • • An application fee
Processing time: Processing time may vary, but is usually a few days to a week.
Cost: The cost of an International Driving Permit varies from country to country, but is generally between 15 and 30 euros.
 
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Membership Card of International Automobile Association Inc. - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures


INTERNATIONAL DRIVER'S LICENSE FOR AMERICANS

  • ♦ You can apply for an International Driving Permit from the American Automobile Association (AAA) or other motoring organizations.
  • ♦ The documents required are similar: your national driver's license, a photo, a form, and a fee.
  • ♦ Processing time is also a few days to a week, at a cost of around 20 USD.


Once in Vietnam

Using the IDP

The IDP is valid for a limited period (generally one year) and must be accompanied by your French driving license.

Further information

  • • For more information on international driving licenses, please consult the website of the International Association of Automobile Clubs (AIACA):
  • • You can also find information on international driving licenses on the websites of the automobile authorities in your home country or in Vietnam.
  • • It is advisable to apply for your IDP several weeks before your trip, to give yourself time to receive the document by post.
  • • You can also drive in Vietnam with a temporary Vietnamese driver's license. To obtain this permit, you need to contact the Vietnamese traffic police on arrival in the country.

Here are some useful resources

Good to know

Before taking to the road in Vietnam, it's important to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and customs. You can find information on the Vietnam Road Safety Department website.
It's also important to take out car insurance to cover driving in Vietnam.

In summary, the formalities for obtaining an international driving license for Vietnam are relatively straightforward. Just make sure you apply in advance and gather all the necessary documents. With a little preparation, you can drive safely and legally in Vietnam.
 
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International Driving Permit - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures


APPENDIX 1

Applying for an IDP in Vietnam

Since February 25, 2023, it has been possible to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Vietnam.
1. Eligibility
o Vietnamese citizens
o Foreign residents in Vietnam holding a valid Vietnamese driver's license.
2.Application process
o Apply to the Department of Transport and Communications in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
- Documents required:
Completed IDP application form
Valid national driving license
Certified Vietnamese translation of driving license
Passport
Residence card (for foreigners)
Two 3x4 cm passport-size photos
3.Processing time and cost
o Processing time: 5 working days
o Cost: 135,000 Vietnamese dongs
4.Additional information
  • ♦ The PCI issued in Vietnam is only valid in countries that are signatories to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. The list of signatory countries is available on the United Nations website.
  • ♦ It is recommended that you apply in person to receive your ICP immediately. Requests by mail will take longer to process.
  • ♦ You can download the PCI application form from the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport website: https://mt.gov.vn/
  • ♦ It is recommended that you submit your PCI application in person so that you can pick up your permit immediately.

Further information

You can find more information about applying for an IDP in Vietnam on the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport website.
It is important to note that the ICP issued in Vietnam is only valid for countries that are signatories to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. You can find the list of signatory countries on the United Nations website.
 
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International Driving License - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures


APPENDIX 2

Converting your driver's license to a Vietnamese driver's license

To convert a foreign driver's license into a Vietnamese driver's license, foreign residents in Vietnam must follow a specific process.
1. Prepare the necessary documents
o Driver's license conversion application form
o Certified copy of your valid foreign driver's license
o Certified Vietnamese translation of your foreign driver's license
o Photocopy of your passport (pages with personal information, visa and entry stamp)
o Proof of residence in Vietnam (temporary or permanent resident card)
o Two recent passport-size photos (3x4 cm)
2.Submitting the application
o Go to the local Department of Transport (DoT) office in your city of residence.
o Submit all required documents with the completed application form.
3.Pay the fee
o Conversion fees vary by city and permit type.
o Verify current fees with the DoT and pay at time of application submission.
4.Processing time
o Processing time is generally 5 to 10 business days.
5.Collect Vietnamese permit
o You will be informed by phone, SMS or e-mail when your new permit is ready.
o Go to the DoT to collect your permit, bringing your passport with you.
A few points to note
  • ♦ The Vietnamese license is valid for the duration of your visa or resident card.
  • ♦ Make sure your Vietnamese license covers the same vehicle categories as your foreign license.
  • ♦ Driving without a valid license can result in fines and penalties.

     
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