Driving in taiwan for returning overseas Chinese who used to live in Taiwan

A family moved from taiwan around 1990s two of them held Taiwan licenses in the past. Now they hold California licenses with M1 endorsement which allows them to ride all types and sized motorcycles.

In this case if they are coming to Taiwan for a month long stay or visit should they obtain a International driving permit from the AAA which translates their license and endorsement, Though can they rent cars or motorcycles both heavy and light based on having an International driving permit with the motorcycle endorsement translated? Or is the situation different compared to a true foreigner driving in Taiwan who are allowed 30 days to drive in Taiwan with international license from home before being required to endorse their license. As they were formerly licensed in Taiwan and have household registration in Taiwan.

Taiwan licenses do not expire. If they held licenses for both cars and scooters/motorcycles before, they need not worry about getting an international license for Taiwan.

If they do not have the actual license cards, I might suggest they get them. Most car/scooter rental places will want to make a copy of your license or Taiwan ID.

You’d need to do a little more research to see how to renew or apply for a new license card if they’ve lost their licenses.


Thank you Renee,

Interesting to hear that Taiwan licenses don’t expire as some other people I know say that they do.
I would also like to ask what about those who never held a Taiwan license, and only hold overseas license with full motorcycle endorsement? Would an International drivers permit from AAA suffice in this case for rental of cars and motorcycles of both light and heavy? And be ok if ever needing to deal with traffic enforcement?

There’s lot of threads about these kinds of instances on the forums, but no one has an exact answer. I’ve seen people successfully rent 49-249cc scooters (we call them white plates) with an international license and some reported back that they failed.

Your endorsed license should legally allow you to rent scooters and large sized motorcycles, but different shops and different employees. Some just want to make the extra buck, others don’t want to deal with hassle of renting to a foreign passport/license holder.

As for cars, if you have an international driver’s license and rent from a legit car rental service, it should suffice.

Always have your passport and international driver’s license on you (as the AAA international license states). It’s very unlikely you’ll be pulled over. However, in the case that you are, it’s unlikely they will ticket you. It’s too much of a hassle to go through the necessary paperwork for an international license.

Since the licenses were from the 1990s, since they didn’t even have “heavy motorcycle” licenses back then, I’d just go ahead and bring an IDP from AAA. No need to get it endorsed as it is valid in Taiwan for the first 30 days.

As for renting, I’ve rented red plate bikes in Taiwan a couple of times with just the IDP. They will want to use your credit card to make an “authorization” as a sort of deposit. This won’t actually charge your card, but just authorize it in case you crash or don’t return the bike.

As brother @ranlee says, YMMV per shop/employee/time/weather/etc.

Thanks for all your advice,

Glad to learn driving with international license can suffice here. And that Taiwan authorities won’t get mad seeing that one is a Taiwan resident driving with a foreign license. I searched a lot for info on this but could find nothing. I know some countries do frown upon it. Ie In the US licensing is the primary responsibility of individual states and each one makes distinct rules about when someone can drive license from another state or out of country foreign license and when they need to change over after “establishing residency” which can be a very vague ambiguous definition in the US compared to China or taiwan as it’s based on prima facie and not solid evidence as US does not have household registration, the licensing rule one confuses immigrants a lot on whether they can continue to drive with international license or they must change over which is a catch 22 as they might not be eligible yet.

Regarding bike rental places I know had Taipei has a place called bike farm, which rents motorbikes to foreigners and accepts International licenses.

Though the family is probably most like going to rent in one of the outer islands such as Penghu and Green islands. So anyone know or have experience places that rent to people holding international driving licenses in those areas or in other parts of Taiwan?

On Green Island, they might run into some trouble with an IDP. We were there last year and were told they would only rent to people with a TW license/ID. But if you can’t get a gas scooter, you can get an electric one no problem. And Green Island is small enough that it wouldn’t be a problem.

One other thing is what is the deal with proof of financial liability and insurance when renting cars, motorcycles, and scooters in Taiwan. Do they come with a level of minimum liability insurance? Or do we need to purchase it ourselves as with in California? What about theft and collision insurance? Do we purchase this per day?

In the beginning the Taiwan license was a little booklet and they did not expire

My last few were a little card and they definitely expired

Understand that once again they don’t expire
That is pretty cool

I “exchanged” my Colorado license for a TW one a few months ago. They said since I have an APRC my license also doesn’t expire. There is no expiration date on it.

Neat to know that Colorado has a license exchange agreement with Taiwan.