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Vietnam Drivers License

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For those interested I got my VN drivers license a few weeks back. I learned a lot of the info on the net about this is worthless; bad or misinformation.

I learned recently that my medical nor life insurance will cover my wife or myself if we get into a wreck while operating a vehicle in Vietnam without a license. My wife had been driving for years without one. I told the wife get one; she knew someone at the issuing authority in her home town and got issued a license in two weeks. I thought I'd get an international driving permit but Vietnam doesn't recognize them. But you can get your foreign license converted to a VN license. Companies in vietnam report being able to do this for $100; it's waste of money.

You don't need a license for 49cc or less motorcycles in Vietnam so if that suits you no issue but I had bigger so need to take the plunge.

If you have auto and motorcycle endorsements on your state issued license you don't need to take the road tests or do any medical checks. They convert like for like. I was told if I had a CDL they would convert that too.

To get the process started while I was back home I had motorcycle endorsement added to my state license after taking a required 2 day course. I went back to Vietnam and got my VN size passport photo, it's the same size required for the visa. Next went down to the District 1 peoples committee on Le Duan. They just redid this office which now has a touch screen queuing system for services. The peoples committee is a two step process-translation of DL and passport signature certification. You'll need to get your state drivers license photo copied and translated; you pick up the translation the next day and they gave me the address to the VN motor vehicle office. The first day you can also get your passport biometrics page photo copied and certified. All this took on the first day an hour and a half. The second day was 5 minutes to pick up the translation.

Elsewhere online it tells you to get your passport certified at the US embassy; this cost $50 and is not required at least not in HCMC. Also you can download the application form online for the VN license conversion. Don't bother, it's the wrong form, just fill it out when you get there.

Went to the motor vehicle office. Sorry I already forgot the address. I filled out the form and they took a photo of me then paid the fee 130,000dong. I applied for auto and the 175cc motor bike. The guy at the counter asked if I wanted the big bike license and I said no as I don't have one over 175cc. He said it's already on your US license are you sure. I got interested as I also read online you needed to take the road test, have a health check and be a member of a bike club but he said no you already have an unrestricted motorcycle license in the US so you can be issued one here and now. I didn't need this so I didn't get it. They gave me slip to pick it up in one week. One week later I picked it up. Looks just like a US style license in both English and Vietnamese and expires the same day as my 5 year visa exemption. The whole process was fairly easy for Vietnam. One key point is you should bring your Vietnamese speaking spouse or girlfriend with you.

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