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To drive a car in China, you need a Chinese driver’s license. China does not recognize the International Driving Permit or other foreign driver’s licenses. Only foreigners with a valid residence permit can apply for a Chinese driver’s license.
Solutions Consulting provides the best solution for our clients to have made their driving license with maximum ease, and whether you are an international foreigner, we can get the best outcome for you.
How to Get a Chinese Driver's License
If you plan to drive a car or motorcycle in China, you need to be between 18-60 years old and will need one of the following two types of China driver’s licenses.
Full Driver’s License (time consuming)
This driver’s license is for foreigners visiting China for over three months or who plan on staying in China long term as it is good for 6 years. Unfortunately, it takes a few trips (if you’re lucky) to get a full license as well as passing a 100 question written test.
Provisional Driver’s License (easier)
This driver’s license is temporary and available for foreigners visiting China for up to 3 months. The biggest perk to the provisional driver’s license is you don’t need to take a written test.
Required Paperwork for a China License
3-4 Copies of Your Passport and Visa: In addition to these clear photocopies, you’ll also need to bring your actual passport with you, so don’t forget it!
3-4 Copies of Your Residence Card/Certificate of Temporary Registration: The Residence Card or Certificate of Temporary Registration details where you live and is provided by your local police station. If you are applying for the provisional driver’s license, you can request a certificate of temporary registration from your hotel after checking-in.
5 One-Inch Identification Photos with a White Background: Some regions may require more or less, so it couldn’t hurt to bring a good number of spare photos. You can always get more photos directly at the DMV, but they will charge you more than elsewhere. Remember that you also cannot smile in these photos!
Notarized Translation of Home Driver’s License: You’ll find translation companies near most of the major government buildings, and you’ll need to make sure that they are a licensed translator with a chop. Expect to pay at least 250-300 RMB for the translation. Notarization happens at the local 公证处 (Gōngzhèng chù) in your city.
How to Get a Temporary China Driving License
In order to apply for a China Provisional Driving Permit, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the documents listed in the section above and then follow these steps.
Step 1: Visit the DMV – Once you have all the necessary paperwork detailed above, make the journey out to the DMV or 车管所/Chēguǎnsuǒ where your certificate of temporary registration is issued. For example, if your temporary registration is at a hotel in Xi’an, then you need to go to the DMV in Xi’an.
Step 2: Health Check – Once you arrive at the DMV, start by getting the health check over with. The examination is quick and easy to where you simply need to show you aren’t blind and healthy enough to drive.
Step 3: Present Permit Application – Once you have the results of the health check, present all the documents and fill out an application for the provisional driver’s license.
Step 4: Wait for Processing – After filling out the application, the DMV will process your provisional license within an hour or so. It’s that easy and there is no written or driver’s exam required!
How to Get a Full China Driver’s License
In order to apply for a full Chinese Driver’s License, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the documents listed in the section above and then follow these steps.
Step 1: Visit the DMV – Locate and visit your local DMV or 车管所/Chēguǎnsuǒ. You must go to the DMV where your residence permit is issued. For example, if you have a residence permit issued in Beijing, you cannot go to the DMV in Shanghai.
Step 2: Take the Physical Examination – Somewhere on the grounds of the DMV is a place to take the physical exam. Once you arrive at the DMV, pay the fee and take the exam, which will mostly test your eyesight, hearing and reflexes.
Step 3: Fill Out the Application – After receiving the results, share them along with all your other paperwork for approval. You’ll also have to fill out the application for a full Chinese driver’s license, but since it is written and needs to be filled out entirely in Chinese, try to get the staff to fill it out for you since they already have your information handy.
Step 4: Take the Written Test – Then it’s time to take the written test, which can be taken in eight different languages including English. In many cases you’ll have to make an appointment for the exam, so be ready for news that you’ll have to come back another day to take the test.
After passing the written test you can now have a driver’s license in China. There is no need for a driver’s test!
Following the test, listen out for and double check on the processing time for your Chinese driver’s license.
Typically you can expect around 5 business days before you can come back up to pick up your driver’s license. But sometimes you may be lucky to where they can process it for you immediately.
If you need any more information about driving license, feel free to contact SOLUTIONS. We will be glad to assist you.
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