Driver's License

I have a South African driver’s and drove legally in the States as the two countries have a reciprocal arrangement. Does Taiwan have any such arrangement for holders of foreign driving permits? Thanks.

They used to. They changed the law about 5 years ago. Now if you want to drive in Taiwan, you need to sit the local exam. There is an English edition of the road laws and an English Test.

Grasshopper, where can one find the English version of the road laws? And have you ever taken the test? How was it? What about the driving test? Is there a need to practise a bit on one of the driving school courses?

Mucha Man

I was able to change mine over when it was still possible. That meant I didn’t have to do anything other then the medical.

The medical was very straight forward. It was more like a recovery session for stroke victims than anything else.

I’m not sure about where you can get the English version of the road laws probably in a bookstore like Keystone, maybe even Eslite. You don’t have to do driving lessons and if you’ve been riding a motorcycle on the streets then the switch to a car is very smooth.

The thing to be aware about is that having a driver’s license means that if you get stopped by the police you can be processed. The benefit, however,is that if you ever have a serious accident you are legal, and may not end up being the one left carrying the baby.

If you are looking for more information on this topic it has already been discussed at length, please see the following links:

Are you SURE there’s an English version of the road code. I could never find one (not that you need it).

I am interested in a question made on another thread. Do you need an International License to Drive in Taiwan. Suppose I am a foreigner coming to Taiwan for a 2 week holiday and I want to rent a car. In most countries a driving license from the person’s home country is accepted, but in Taiwan if John Jum comes for a holiday, does he to drive legally on the road have to do a driving test or take his international license with his country license, queue up , grunt and point to the clerk and get a Taiwan International license. And if he doesn’t do this, and the police stop him and he shows his country’s license will he get arrested, get fined, get deported, and have to give a urine sample, just to make sure he isn’t on heroine and cocaine also!!!

You get your international driver’s licence in the country of your “normal” licence, usually from the AA or some other motorist organisation.

To my knowledge, you cannot rent a car from a “regular” rental company in Taiwan without a Taiwanese or an international licence.

For reasons discussed elsewhere in this forum, Avis, Hertz and other international rental companies do not operate in Taiwan. The discussion explains why you should avoid “backyard” car rental companies.

Like I said in this thread
You do need an international licence to drive in Taiwan (officially that is). After you’ve drive for a certain period of time (I think it’s two months) you then need to either:

  1. Get a permit to use your international licence
  2. Swap your international licence for a Taiwan licence or
  3. Swap your own country’s licence for a Taiwan licence
    depending on where you’re from

Look here駕_frm.htm (then licence manage) to find out what applies to you. If you’re from Oklahoma, or the Solomon Islands, you’re in luck!

As for the road code, I recommend doing the online test:駕_frm.htm (then Exam CAI)
It does show you the right answers (it subtly changes your answers - you have to look carefully) and you just do it again until you’ve got them all.

I thought the test was some sort of scam though… you NEED to do driving lessons from instructors otherwise you will be failed by the testor for even the most minor fault

These instructors get commission for each person that passes. My taiwanese friend did it and she said that the instructor was a “psycho”. The smallest mistake and she would be scolded. I guess he was more interested in the commission, and her not making mistakes than teching her how to be a repsonsible driver

Today, I went to the DMV on Pate Section 4. I thought, because of that website Bri urled us, I could switch my license to a Taiwanese one. It all seemed so simple according to the site…I’d forgotten, this is Taiwan.

So, I collected my state license, my international permit, a couple photos, passport, ARC…copies of each doc…and I’d hoped to pop in and out brandishing my lovely new Taiwanese drivers license.

Well, I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong…

They said, “Oh, your state doesn’t allow us Taiwanese to drive with our licenses, so why should we allow YOU?”


So, they sent me away fuming and vowing to call my state DMV, AIT, Richard Hartzell, and anyone else who would tell them otherwise. Then, as I glanced down the list, I found that there are only a few countries which are allowed to do this.
18, to be exact, mostly Central American and Caribbean nations. And as it turns out, if you’re from the US, the only two states that accept a switcherooni is Missouri and Oklahoma! TWO STATES out of 50???!!! DID YOU HEAR ME? TWO STATES!
The other states residents are allowed to get a driving permit to use with the International License. EXCEPT FOR North and South Carolina license holders. And, guess where my license was issued??? the Palmetto State. The 8th state…

Now, what does this mean for me if I want to drive legally, a vehicle, not a scooter, in Taiwan? Am I able to even RENT a car since I’m denied a permit? Should I follow some other procedure, like starting from scratch and paying out the nose for a driving bushiban so I can be sure to pass the test because as rumoured and posted here, the instructors are dickheads?

It just doesn’t seem worth the effort anymore, and since I don’t own a car, then whatever…
I’ll continue driving my friend’s car illegally, I guess. I’ve been doing that for years, WITHOUT an international permit. The only reason I got that this trip home was so I could legalise my driving situation here.

PS>To see where you stand, be sure to click on the ‘Mutual Beneficiary Table’ on the site Bri urled us. They should just call that page
CAN’T than CAN.

It is still possible to take the Taiwanese Driver’s test(s) and get a Taiwanese license the normal way.

While it is true that it would be simpler to just have your overseas (home-country) license accepted as proof of your driving skills and competency, if that is not possible then the best alternative appears to be just to go through the normal Taiwanese DMV testing procedures.

Thanks Guys,

It turns out Taiwan still recognizes South African driving licenses, so it’s still possible to “EXCHANGE DRIVING LICENSE OF FOREIGNER FOR DRIVING LICENSE OF REPUBLIC OF CHINA,” under the “mutual beneficiary” system. As in other administrative offices i.e. visa issuing offices etc (we are not charged for visas), the Motor Vehicle Department hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that the RSA dumped the ROC for the PRC five years ago. Don’t tell though.

Once again, thank you.

Hi all, I hope this isn’t too far off the track, but what about motorcycles or scooters?

Can I legally drive/ride a motorcycle in Taiwan on an international driver’s license? Or would the average policeman know the difference? I’m talking about a 1 or 2 month visit over the summer, since I’m no longer a resident, but I couldn’t imagine not having my own transportation …

Car, scooter, motorcycle - no difference - same regulations

Are you sure? I mean, before I had to take a separate test to get a motorcycle license, because I had turned in a car license (they used to accept TX licenses in those days). So is an international license good for both cars and motorcycles, or is it just that no one really cares because it’s tourist dollars (ostensibly!)?

What about an old Taiwanese license? Would they accept that to get a new one, or is it back to the test? (Not that anyone couldn’t pass the motorcycle test unless they had really hit the old kaoliang beforehand!)

Actually if you do go ahead and do the test and hang around for a while at the test area, you will see some very entertaining sights of people driving bikes that are out of control. I think the main point of the test has little to do with safe responsible driving. All you gotta do is to keep the bike up on two wheels and know how to pull the brakes. And of course you gotta be able to recognize a railroad crossing and traffic lights.

I saw one girl who started off pretty well but when I looked again, the bike was dragging her after it

The actual test you do on the computer is pretty tricky though. Just got to be careful to read every word in the question

Would a vehicular manslaughter rap be easier to beat with a Taiwan license or without?

Not that I’m planning anything, just general legal curiosity. I have a scooter now. No license and always play dumb. The only time I tried to be upright and speak Chinese, they impounded my bike and hit me with a $6000 no driver’s permit fine.

The manslaughter charge will of course be compounded if there are extenuating circumstances, such as driving while intoxicated, driving without a license, driving without a helmet, etc.

I had a American friend once who tried the old “play dumb” tactic on the police. He was legal, but from his license the police could see that he had probably been in Taiwan for at least several years. The officer demanded that he speak Chinese, but the guy refused, even though he can actually speak halfway decent Chinese and did eventally marry a Taiwanese girl (not that the two matters are necessarily related).

Anyway, the officer eventually took away his license and registration, told him to park his bike and sent him on his way.

So the playing dumb tactic doesn’t always work. As for me, I tend not to pretend I don’t speak Chinese, especially since my Taiwanese license was issued in something like 1987 or 88 and sports an ROC ID number instead of a passport number. If I have to pay a few hundred NT for making an illegal right on a red, it’s not too big a deal. Frustrating, but not worth the whole “Oh, I don’t speak Chinese” song and dance.