Getting a car drivers license

Hello, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s finally time to get a car here. I’ve driven for nearly 15 years in the USA before moving here. Now we live near Taipei. Unfortunately I’m finding the process of getting my license in Taiwan frustrating and confusing. First of all, I stupidly moved here without renewing my own license, it has since expired, I’m from MI (no license reciprocity anyway). Still I’ve tried to get it renewed, but I’m not eligible to do online renewal this time and it’s impossible to get in contact with anyone at the DMV right now, phones are never answered and emails are never replied to (because of covid), I even had my mom try to go down their in person but they’re forcing you to make appointments and the next available appointment is in January sometime.

I think it may be fastest to just go through the process here from scratch. I’ve heard this involves a learners permit, has anyone gone through the process? How long did it take? Does a certain amount of time need to go by before I can take the test? I’m already confident in my driving ability and I’m sure with an hour or two of practice I could pass the test just fine. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

I’m not sure but it’s a little more involved than in the states. Because driving here in Taiwan isn’t an absolute need like they are in the states so testing isn’t going to be as easy.

I think they require a driver’s education class and all that too.

I heard they do the testing at a closed course but that might have changed. My dad said when he tried to get one they required him to test on a stick shift vehicle!

In the video I watched on youtube they were using a stick-shift, though from what I’ve heard they mostly use automatics these days. Regardless, I’d be fine using either.

I will add that the tests are harder here in TW than you are used to in the states. For example they will test parallel parking (this is absolutely essential in TW) and driver’s ed is about 10,000nt. They are not optional.

  1. Check if you can use your license to avoid having the multi-week driving lessons even if it is expired.
  2. You need to do multi-week driving lessons, then pass the written test, then pass the closed course driving test and then you need to do a driving test outside on a pre-determined route.
  3. You can choose the type of car, manual or auto.

We were tested on parallel parking in MI. The only part we we’re tested on, from what I can tell, is backing up an S-curve. But that looks easy anyway. I’m really not too concerned about the test overall, I just don’t want to spend a bunch of money and take a bunch of work off to take a class and learn things I already know and have been using for 15 years. If they make me do that I guess I’ll have to wait until I can renew my MI license through the mail or something.

Thanks for the info, I’m definitely going to try. I’m just not really sure who to even talk to about this. Does anyone have the address/phone # for the proper Taipei office where I can inquire into this further?

If you choose to go to the DMV and do the test on your own you need a valid “learners” license. Your foreign drivers license is accepted for this purpose, don’t need IDP or anything like that, however as yours is expired I don’t know if it will be accepted. Go to a DMV and check.

If your license is not accepted then you need to get a learners permit and wait 6 months before attempting a test.

If you go to a driving school and sign up for their full course which is 5/6 weeks you do not need the learners permit and can take the test on conclusion of the course.

This is an error many people (including myself!) make. The test is not about your driving ability, it’s about learning off the (sometimes dumb) things you need to do to pass the test.

Do you normally look under all four sides of your car before getting in? No? Fail

Do you 2 step your door when opening or closing? No? Fail

Turn on your left indicator when starting off on a straight? No? Fail

Change from first to second gear when going down a hill? Yes? Fail

There’s a huge amount of BS. If you’re not in a hurry then just pay the 14 or 15K to a driving school and have a pretty much guaranteed pass, especially if you don’t have good Chinese.

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I YOLOed it, You can do the appointment online or go directly to the DMV and pretend you don’t know. They will send you to an office where someone might help you do the appointment online and luckily they will get you a spot on the same day (you can even go Saturdays in the morning).

After you get your appointment, go get the medical and you do the procedure like you want to apply to your license normally, when you get to the counter before you do the written test, they will ask you for your foreign license. I showed mine even when it was expired, they get a huge binder out to check that the license matches their database and allow you in to start doing the written test.

This is correct, their driving lessons are to learn how to pass/memorize the test not learn how to drive.

You can individually pay one class at the driving school where they will teach you for an hour how to drive the test.

Texas is weird like this. If you got your learner’s permit and take the driving test within 90 days the fee is waived. Almost like they are encouraging people to rush through this. But I understand driving in the US is basically mandatory.

Hmm ok, I see where you’re coming from. I’m not against paying for some training specifically on how to pass the test, but I’m not going to do the 6 month learner permit route. I’ll get my MI license renewed long before that.

Here’s what I did. I went to my local DMV in Fengyuan and asked to take the driving exam. They checked my original license and ARC. With my home country’s license, I was eligible to skip the theoretical test and driving lessons. I had to:

  • do a health examination at a hospital
  • take the driving test on the closed course (stick shift)
  • take the driving test on the public road (automatic)

The examiner was very strict. If you fail to look exactly when they suppose you to look, it’s points lost. If your bumper is ever so slightly hovering over a line -points lost.
As stated above, they’ll not test your ability to operate a car, they’ll test how perfect you can copy the examples shown in the training videos.

Everything you have to do during the exam, down to the possible routes when driving “outside” are shown in videos. The examiner will also drive with you the whole course and route and show you what you have to do when and where.

Edit: I took my test around one year ago.

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I took the test in Taiwan and never had to do any of those things. It was a long time ago though. The guy just told me what to do as I went through the course.

Do you think they’ll give me a hard time about my license being expired?

I’d just try. Worst case scenario would be that they’ll send you back and you spent some time at the DMV for nothing.

Edit: Try it and be friendly. Take Meibanfa as a Meibanfa and do not try to argue. It will just ruin your day. Most Clerks I interacted with were quite lenient on some parts.

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That’s what I did after I failed the first test (after having driven taxis, commercial trucks, 4-wheel drive ambulances in the bush, for 20 years). The driving instructor gave specific instructions- “now turn the steering wheel exactly two and a half times until the far corner of the hood lines up with that pole” on an exact replica of the driving course. The people who passed didn’t have to know anything about driving, witness the streets.


The test changed significantly in 2017 with the introduction of new BS and the road test part.

Check with the DMV, from some of the above posts it seems an expired license might still be usable.

If you do the test with a test centre it’s around 6 weeks from start to finish and pretty much a guaranteed pass.

I did 3 hours of lessons over 2 days to get an idea of what to do on test day and also spent a few days reading through the written test questions. I highly recommend both.

A difficult part of the test is both the “car park” section and the road test section will be unfamiliar to you and if you don’t speak Chinese you’re pretty much screwed as you won’t understand the pre test instructions. If you do it with a driving school both test parts are at the facility you learned at.

I strongly recommend doing the tests at Shu Lin (not shi lin) and stay away from Keelung at all cost!


I did the driving test (small car- automatic) for many times and as other said there are so many rules and things that you need to remember as well now there is a road test outside the DMV

These videos show all the rules for the driving test

My advice is to just go to a driving school , they will help you do all the paperwork and also you can do the test in the school

You can check the list of the schools in the following link 駕訓班列表