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Getting a Chinese Drivers License

Getting a Chinese Drivers License

Old Oct 9, 12, 6:30 am
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Red face Getting a Chinese Drivers License

Hi All,

Need some help with this one.

I just finished my move to China (personal reasons), and am looking for some advice on getting a Chinese drivers license. I have a USA license that's still good.

From what I've been reading, I've gotten lots of conflicting info:

Some forums say you need a residence permit
Some say you don't, but your visa (any kind) needs to be 90+day stay
Some say always possible if you have registration from police station
etc

I have no problem going thru the hoops (written test, medical exam, ...), but just want to know if there are any firm (or enforced rules)? I'd rather not go thru a sketchy broker for 5k rmb.

Anyone with experience?

I'm currently on a 60 day multiple L visa (can easily get an F, and have previously held 4 L 90+day multi's in the past 4 years.)

Thanks in advance!
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Old Oct 9, 12, 6:46 am
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My wife and I recently got our driving licenses in Beijing. You need 90+ days on your visa, original and translated copy of existing driving license, eye check result from a valid hospital.

Then memorise ~1500 exam questions and sit the test.

We skimped and did everything ourselves (with help from colleagues), but I believe the agencies only charge about 600RMB for the service, which is probably worth it.

Note you have to sit the test within one month of registering, and I believe you get one free re-sit if you fail.

tb

PS we have residence permit, so I'm just recalling what the regulations for visas are...if in doubt, speak to an agency!

Originally Posted by vforni View Post
Hi All,

Need some help with this one.

I just finished my move to China (personal reasons), and am looking for some advice on getting a Chinese drivers license. I have a USA license that's still good.

From what I've been reading, I've gotten lots of conflicting info:

Some forums say you need a residence permit
Some say you don't, but your visa (any kind) needs to be 90+day stay
Some say always possible if you have registration from police station
etc

I have no problem going thru the hoops (written test, medical exam, ...), but just want to know if there are any firm (or enforced rules)? I'd rather not go thru a sketchy broker for 5k rmb.

Anyone with experience?

I'm currently on a 60 day multiple L visa (can easily get an F, and have previously held 4 L 90+day multi's in the past 4 years.)

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by trueblu; Oct 9, 12 at 6:48 am Reason: PS
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Old Oct 9, 12, 7:48 am
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Some places have more lax restrictions than others (e.g. Shanghai is pretty easy, and Guangdong is reported to be a complete cakewalk). A few years ago I tried to apply in Beijing, and eventually gave up because I continually failed to nail down all of the required steps in the proper order (nothing was especially onerous, but showing up at the hospital for the cursory examination, and being told that I needed to provide 5 pictures --with no photo facilities on site-- was especially annoying).

Here's what I can tell you about the scene in Beijing:

-if you have less than 90 days remaining on your visa, you can get the y10 license at the airport by simply showing your foreign DL
-if not, you need to go through the formal application process
*the temp residence permits issued my your local PSB are good enough (i.e. no need for a Z visa)



*
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Old Oct 9, 12, 7:57 am
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I'm adding on to my last post because I encountered some sort of strange UBB bug that wouldn't let me complete it.

In addition to the residence permit, you need to complete the medical check (remember to bring pictures), and take their written test, which you might have to schedule in advance. While I've met a few people who have failed the test (because some of the questions defy logic), most people pass it, and if you're really feeling desperate, there are ways to get around this requirement completely (wink, wink).

Nobody seems to care how many days/stay you have on your visa; only the total remaining validity matters to the powers that be.

While technically illegal, many car rental companies are completely cool with the practice of renting cars to people with foreign DLs (only).
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Old Oct 9, 12, 8:49 pm
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Used to be: laowai driving - good target for hustling some money
Now: probably can't find a job in home country and broke...
better steer clear!
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Old Oct 10, 12, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by anacapamalibu View Post
Used to be: laowai driving - good target for hustling some money
Now: probably can't find a job in home country and broke...
better steer clear!
Sign of the times but so true!

It used to be laowai in the back seat of a black Audi
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Old Oct 10, 12, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
Sign of the times but so true!
The real Giant Leap Forward

Bicycles to Enzo Ferraris in 20 years.
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Old Oct 11, 12, 1:05 pm
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What? No requirement for a doctor to certify your insanity? You have to be insane to drive in that traffic!
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Old Oct 12, 12, 7:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
What? No requirement for a doctor to certify your insanity? You have to be insane to drive in that traffic!
If you lived in China, you'd get used to the traffic, even in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, or Shenzhen (the 4 worst traffic cities, as far as I know). While you wouldn't want to drive yourself to/from work, being able to escape for weekends without bringing along a driver and paying for his hotel room is a nice thing... a thing that helps us preserve our sanity.
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Old Oct 12, 12, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
What? No requirement for a doctor to certify your insanity? You have to be insane to drive in that traffic!
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
If you lived in China, you'd get used to the traffic, even in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, or Shenzhen (the 4 worst traffic cities, as far as I know). While you wouldn't want to drive yourself to/from work, being able to escape for weekends without bringing along a driver and paying for his hotel room is a nice thing... a thing that helps us preserve our sanity.
Traffic in many places in China indeed can be crazy, but after having driven in Bali (total lawless chaos, complete absence of street signs, AND right-hand drive) I'm convinced that I can drive almost anywhere.
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Old Oct 12, 12, 8:41 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
If you lived in China, you'd get used to the traffic, even in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, or Shenzhen (the 4 worst traffic cities, as far as I know). While you wouldn't want to drive yourself to/from work, being able to escape for weekends without bringing along a driver and paying for his hotel room is a nice thing... a thing that helps us preserve our sanity.
I've spent something like a year (in many pieces) in China. The highways wouldn't bother me but the cities--no way.

Originally Posted by Skyman65 View Post
Traffic in many places in China indeed can be crazy, but after having driven in Bali (total lawless chaos, complete absence of street signs, AND right-hand drive) I'm convinced that I can drive almost anywhere.
Yeah, Indonesia is worse.
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Old Oct 21, 12, 7:01 am
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Thanks for the input guys. I'm going to give this a go next week in Hangzhou and report my results.

Driving in China isn't that bad, not much different than NYC..and the highways are wonderful...not that I've done it
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Old Oct 21, 12, 8:42 am
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Jay Leno shows his China DL.
Probably one of the < less than 90 day temporary.

http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/cars/v...ng/index.shtml
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Old Oct 21, 12, 9:33 am
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Is the written test available in English?
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Old Oct 21, 12, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
Is the written test available in English?
I don't know about the mainland, but in Taiwan, I was surprised to discover that the DL test is offered in English (and several other languages).
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