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Getting a Chinese Drivers License

Getting a Chinese Drivers License

Old May 11, 18, 6:15 pm
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Originally Posted by JPDM View Post
It is not that bad. Chinese drivers are rather slow to start with. But I usually drive when I need to go out of town where public transportation is not good.
I find that the issue is not other drivers it's all those pedestrians and bicycles coming from all angles, Especially stressful at night.
Agree. It wasn't bad driving in China. While we need to be a little aggressive, few drivers are speeding and there are almost no drunk drivers. I drove in Jinan, and my biggest problem is that lanes are not too clear (usually not white enough), especially at night.
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Old May 13, 18, 9:38 pm
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I'm trying to understand something from this thread about temporary drivers licenses. I stay in Shenzhen often on a M visa (10 year, 60 day). Can I apply for a temp license with this visa if I also supply my hotels registration info?

My girlfriend, Chinese native, got her license here 2 years ago, but she's a very inexperienced driver. She took classes through a school which sponsored her application. It was a fairly rigorous process, written test and 4 separate road tests. She wants to rent a car to get more practice, with my help, and also for us to do some day trips. I think it would be useful if I also had a permit to drive. I don't think I'd trust her to deal with the streets and highways of SZ being so inexperienced. Although at night, especially on Sunday, the local roads in Futian seem pretty tame and maybe good for practice. I'd feel safer if I could take over for her in hairy situations. Of course I'd feel like I have a "lowai" target on my back if there was an accident.
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Old May 13, 18, 10:31 pm
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Originally Posted by synthkeys View Post
I'm trying to understand something from this thread about temporary drivers licenses. I stay in Shenzhen often on a M visa (10 year, 60 day). Can I apply for a temp license with this visa if I also supply my hotels registration info?
For the temporary license, you likely won't even need it, but it wouldn't hurt to bring it anyway. I've probably had 10 temporary licenses and was never asked for it since the address doesn't go anywhere on it.

Hardest part is finding the place in Shenzhen that issues these temporary licenses as they're not very common. Likely the main Traffic Police station. Be prepared with:

- Chinese name
- ID sized photos
- Notarized translation of foreign DL
- Completed health check form (they will give to you at the station to complete elsewhere, likely)
- Fee (was 10rmb last time I did it)

One other conflicting point which I could never get answered: I was sometimes told the temp license is not valid outside of the city/province where it was issued. Due to their rarity, and the fact that most police have never seen one, I've never had a problem but ymmv.
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Old May 14, 18, 11:55 pm
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Originally Posted by cxfan1960 View Post
Agree. It wasn't bad driving in China. While we need to be a little aggressive, few drivers are speeding and there are almost no drunk drivers. I drove in Jinan, and my biggest problem is that lanes are not too clear (usually not white enough), especially at night.
There's also very few texting morons behind the wheel. By contrast, just look around when you drive in the US and you'll see them all over the place. There are clueless morons who don't know how to drive defensively and do all kinds of stupid maneuvers, but at least they're paying attention when they're doing it.

I got a provisional license at PEK and have been driving around a bit near Kaifeng and Zhengzhou.
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Old May 17, 18, 3:27 am
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
There's also very few texting morons behind the wheel. By contrast, just look around when you drive in the US and you'll see them all over the place. There are clueless morons who don't know how to drive defensively and do all kinds of stupid maneuvers, but at least they're paying attention when they're doing it.

I got a provisional license at PEK and have been driving around a bit near Kaifeng and Zhengzhou.
Maybe not where you drive but here in Shanghai texting while driving is ubiquitous. Every time I look in the rear view mirror I will usually see the driver behind me take his/her eyes off the phone to check the road ahead.
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Old May 17, 18, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by tauphi View Post
Maybe not where you drive but here in Shanghai texting while driving is ubiquitous. Every time I look in the rear view mirror I will usually see the driver behind me take his/her eyes off the phone to check the road ahead.
I'll have to look out for those types if I rent a car in Beijing and drive to the Great Wall as planned in about 2-3 weeks.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 5:35 pm
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Last year, I was unable to rent a car with those temporary licenses that they give at the airport (valid for only the duration of my visa, which is 60 days per entry). Seems like a lot of the car rental companies require a regular license before they'll rent a car to you. Doing more research, it looks like in order to get a regular license, you need a visa that is > 90 days/entry. Is this the only way or are foreigners with visas of <= 90 days/entry allowed to take the test and get a regular driver's license? If I have to get a new visa, I'll do it, but it's an extra trip to the consulate and that's annoying.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 5:59 pm
  #83  
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
Last year, I was unable to rent a car with those temporary licenses that they give at the airport (valid for only the duration of my visa, which is 60 days per entry). Seems like a lot of the car rental companies require a regular license before they'll rent a car to you. Doing more research, it looks like in order to get a regular license, you need a visa that is > 90 days/entry. Is this the only way or are foreigners with visas of <= 90 days/entry allowed to take the test and get a regular driver's license? If I have to get a new visa, I'll do it, but it's an extra trip to the consulate and that's annoying.
The rules vary widely between regions AND change frequently. If you're hell bent on getting a drivers license, I suggest you research individual provinces/municipalities, and plan on making some phone calls.

Following are questions I would focus on:
1. qualifying visa types
2. what is the visa remaining validity requirement?
3. which hospitals do you approve for the health check?
4. apart from the passport/visa, foreign drivers license, and the health check form, what other documents are required? (Most want to see a residence permit of some sort.)

Apart from the above, when you actually get around to applying, make sure you have several passport sized photos ready to give out.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 7:40 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
4. apart from the passport/visa, foreign drivers license, and the health check form, what other documents are required? (Most want to see a residence permit of some sort.)
I think you mean a "registration form of temporary residence for visitors", right? If so then yes that is almost certainly required since it's going to be the only proof of address for the licence.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 8:31 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
The rules vary widely between regions AND change frequently. If you're hell bent on getting a drivers license, I suggest you research individual provinces/municipalities, and plan on making some phone calls.

Following are questions I would focus on:
1. qualifying visa types
2. what is the visa remaining validity requirement?
3. which hospitals do you approve for the health check?
4. apart from the passport/visa, foreign drivers license, and the health check form, what other documents are required? (Most want to see a residence permit of some sort.)

Apart from the above, when you actually get around to applying, make sure you have several passport sized photos ready to give out.
I can only speak about Beijing where I got mine some time ago. You had also to get your driver's license translated into Chinese. A visa longer than 90 days was required. I had a 120-day tourist visa ( I mean duration of stay, not duration of visa). And obviously, had to write the exam and get a score of at least 90%.
The health check was a joke. no need to go to any hospital. They just run a few tests themselves (staff dressed with the white jacket to look like a nurse) like making sure that you are not color blind. When I renewed my license 2 years ago in Nanjing it was the same "health test".
Despite having a Chinese driver's license, I was never able to rent a car as they would not accept a foreign credit card. I always had to do it with my girlfriend's credit card. They might accept a foreign credit card at Hertz but when I last looked they required 6 months of driving experience in China. So, not an option for someone who just got their license.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
The rules vary widely between regions AND change frequently. If you're hell bent on getting a drivers license, I suggest you research individual provinces/municipalities, and plan on making some phone calls.

Following are questions I would focus on:
1. qualifying visa types
2. what is the visa remaining validity requirement?
3. which hospitals do you approve for the health check?
4. apart from the passport/visa, foreign drivers license, and the health check form, what other documents are required? (Most want to see a residence permit of some sort.)

Apart from the above, when you actually get around to applying, make sure you have several passport sized photos ready to give out.
Okay, well, I'd most likely try to get it in Henan. So I guess licensing in China is similar to the US, where each jurisdiction (state/province) has different rules and requirements?

Originally Posted by JPDM View Post
I can only speak about Beijing where I got mine some time ago. You had also to get your driver's license translated into Chinese. A visa longer than 90 days was required. I had a 120-day tourist visa ( I mean duration of stay, not duration of visa). And obviously, had to write the exam and get a score of at least 90%.
The health check was a joke. no need to go to any hospital. They just run a few tests themselves (staff dressed with the white jacket to look like a nurse) like making sure that you are not color blind. When I renewed my license 2 years ago in Nanjing it was the same "health test".
Despite having a Chinese driver's license, I was never able to rent a car as they would not accept a foreign credit card. I always had to do it with my girlfriend's credit card. They might accept a foreign credit card at Hertz but when I last looked they required 6 months of driving experience in China. So, not an option for someone who just got their license.
What does "6 months of driving experience" mean? Does it mean you have held a Chinese driver's license for 6 months? Technically I already have driving experience because I drove last time (borrowed cars, not rental cars).

Why is it so ridiculously hard to get a Chinese license? China does not seem to actually care about making sure that licensees are safe drivers; I've seen so many Darwin Award wannabes there it's not even funny. And, I'm not sure what visa validity (days per entry) should have to do with this at all. But then again, there are things about China that are far more ridiculous than this, so...
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Old Jan 13, 19, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
Okay, well, I'd most likely try to get it in Henan. So I guess licensing in China is similar to the US, where each jurisdiction (state/province) has different rules and requirements?



What does "6 months of driving experience" mean? Does it mean you have held a Chinese driver's license for 6 months? Technically I already have driving experience because I drove last time (borrowed cars, not rental cars).

Why is it so ridiculously hard to get a Chinese license? China does not seem to actually care about making sure that licensees are safe drivers; I've seen so many Darwin Award wannabes there it's not even funny. And, I'm not sure what visa validity (days per entry) should have to do with this at all. But then again, there are things about China that are far more ridiculous than this, so...
I guess that the 6-month of driving experience can only be measured by how long you have held your driver's license. This is not a Chinese rule but a rental company rule. Visas with stays over 90 days are rare so I guess that they only want residents to get a license.
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Old Apr 6, 19, 11:29 am
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Is this a good resource for preparing for the test? https://www.chinesedrivingtest.com/
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Old Aug 27, 19, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
Is this a good resource for preparing for the test? https://www.chinesedrivingtest.com/
It's certainly written in poor English, which I understand to be a highlight of the real test... Anyone know what a "safety pillow" is? I'm assuming either an airbag or a headrest, but it's not obvious...

And the actual reason I'm bumping this thread... Where should I go in Beijing to get a translation of my UK driving licence?
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Old Aug 27, 19, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Deltus View Post
It's certainly written in poor English, which I understand to be a highlight of the real test... Anyone know what a "safety pillow" is? I'm assuming either an airbag or a headrest, but it's not obvious...
...airbag?

BTW, I did get my Chinese license. I used the Laowaidrive app for Android to study for the test, and got a score of 98 on the first try. The test wasn't difficult at all (just memorization). What took far longer was the following:

1. Getting a visa good for >= 90 days per entry
2. Getting the "Registration Voucher of Residence for Visitors from Overseas" at the police station
3. Getting photo taken and cut into the proper size for a driver's license (same process as for passport/visa photo)
4. Going to the DMV to start the paperwork. Need passport, visa, before mentioned registration voucher. The DMV gave me some papers that I would need to take the test
5. Getting my license translated into Chinese by an official translator
6. Doing a health check

After doing all of the above steps, I could go to the testing location and take the actual test, after paying a fee and giving them the paperwork mentioned in steps (3), and the translated license in step (4), and the results of the health check from step (5). After passing, I had to go back to the DMV to get the license (the test was administered at a different location, at least in Kaifeng).

Last edited by STS-134; Aug 27, 19 at 6:37 pm
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