Driver's license in China

Documents and exams

Driver's license in China

China does not accept the international driver’s permit, so if you want to drive while you are there, you should get a Chinese driver’s license.

You are allowed to apply for a Chinese driver’s license if you have Chinese residency (permanent or temporary). This license is only valid on mainland China. Citizens of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also need to apply for a Chinese driver’s permit.

In order to apply for a license you should go to the Motor Vehicle Administration.

If you have a driver’s license issued in your country you can apply for the same category as the one listed in your home-country’s license. Upon application you should bring:

  • a driver’s license application form
  • the original and photocopies of your identification documents and your residence permit
  • the original and copies of your the latest entry stamp in your passport
  • a copy of your foreign driving license (both sides) along with its translation in Chinese
  • eight one-inch (2.54cm) photos with a white background
  • a document with your Chinese name (if you have one).

You also need to show an original of a health certificate issued by a county hospital. This health certificate should state your height.

People who work in foreign embassies, consulates or the Chinese offices of international organizations and hold a valid foreign driver’s license don’t need to present a health certificate.

Once the Motor Vehicle Administration accepts your application, you can reserve time for course 1 in case you are applying for a personal vehicle. Applicants for higher categories (large or mid-sized passenger vehicles, freight vehicles) must also sign up for the course 3 test.

Each of the two courses are taken once, if you fail you can re-take only one time. If you fail both times, you have to re-apply. If you want to re-apply for Course 3 you need to wait 20 days.
In case of cheating, the applicant may lose their qualification for the test and all of their previous results are considered invalid.

The Motor Vehicle Administration issues the driver’s license of a successful applicant within five working days.

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