How to pass the Taiwan driving test


#1

HOW TO PASS THE TAIWAN DRIVING TEST: FAQ
Please report errors to: malcolm_rix@hotmail.com

I wanted to share my experience of taking the Taiwan car and motorcycle driving tests. I learned a lot about the process and Taiwan’s driving rules, so this is a kind of FAQ that should help you pass. It is really not very hard and quite entertaining to try.

Strictly the test procedures only apply to Taipei City, administration may be different in other counties.

Disclaimer: Do not take this or the following posts as legal advice or fact regarding Taiwan’s road laws. The laws have also been changed a lot recently, while I have tried to be accurate but there may be errors.

PART 1: THE BASICS

b Do I need to take the test?[/b]
The easy answer might be, “Why not?”, it is fairly straightforward! Although you might be able to get through police road checks with foreign and international driving licenses, if you were in a serious accident a proper check would be run. The penalties for not having a license are quite severe. You can only drive for a limited time on an international license; it is best to take the test.

The following link explains the rules pretty clearly:
http://www.ntio.org.tw/doc/Driving_in_Taipei2002.doc

b Do I need to take the test?[/b]
First check to see if you automatically qualify for a Taiwan license. Taiwan has a reciprocal arrangement with some countries and states. If your license is from the U.S. states of Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, many Central and South American countries, most African countries, Portugal, France, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Mayamar, India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia you can be issued with a Taiwan license without taking the test. Check:
http://www.tcmvd.gov.tw/d8k/en_default1.htm
in the “License Manage” section. There are also some legal loopholes for license exchange. Please see the legal forum on “Oriented” board for discussions. Otherwise you are out of luck and will have to take the test.

b What do I need to apply?[/b]

    [*]Alien Resident Certificate and Passport[*]Two pictures (for each license applied for)[*]Your foreign driving license[*]A motorcycle, if you are taking the motorcycle test. For the car test, you use the ones at the test center.[*]Money of course (about NT$1000 total by the time you have done all the stages) [/list]You need to be an resident to apply. If you do not have a foreign driving license then you need to sign up with a driving school to learn to drive. This is not really covered here.

    b Where do I apply?[/b]
    If you live in Taipei, you need to go the test center at No. 80, Cheng-Der Rd., Sec.5, Taipei. It is on the north side of Taipei on the road to Tanshui. It is open for tests from 9am - 12pm and 1-30pm to 4pm. There is a center for license processing at No. 21, Pah-Der Rd., Sec.4, Taipei but they only do office work (new licenses, car registration) and you cannot take the test at that office.

    b Do I need to speak, read and write Chinese?[/b]
    All the signs, instructions, and the written test are in English. It is useful if you understand spoken Chinese for the driving test part and maybe dealing with the office staff, but it is not essential.

    b What is the test process?[/b]
    Assuming you can already drive and have a valid foreign driving license and ARC, the procedure is:
    (1) Health Check
    (2) Written Test
    (3) Road Check
    You can do all steps at Cheng-Der Rd. For both car and motorcycle you need to take a health check. This is done before the test. It consists of an eyesight test, color blindness check, some basic mobility test, hearing, and night vision. It is not very difficult.

    b Types of test?[/b]
    There are separate tests for different types of vehicles. If you pass the car test you can also drive a 50cc scooter. For ‘large’ motorcycles (50cc - 125cc) there is a separate test. Decide what you want to drive! If you take the car test, decide if you want to use stick (shou pai) or automatic (zi pai) model. There are also tests to drive trucks (lorries) and buses. The motorcycle test is quite easy, assuming you can drive a motorcycle then little preparation is needed. The car test is quite difficult and requires some practice even if you already drive.

    b The written test[/b]
    All vehicles require a written test. The test is multiple choice and is available in English or Chinese. It is taken at a computer terminal in the test center and only takes a few minutes. See the following post which gives details of the driving rules. Before you go be sure to practice online at:
    http://www.tcmvd.gov.tw/d8k/en_default1.htm
    Press the “Exam CAI” button.

    There does not appear to be a version of the road rules written in English despite what some people have written on this board. I tried hard to find one, the staff at the test center are not aware of one and neither are Eslite or Caves bookstores. Most bookstores do however carry Chinese books to teach you road rules, but it is not really worth the bother. The questions on the Web site appear to correspond with the ones on the test very well. The car test is harder than the one for motorcycles. You need to get 85% score to pass.

    b The motorcycle skill test[/b]
    The test is conducted on a short U-shaped track. You need to drive between two lines set about 1m wide. There are pressure sensitive strips down each side, if you drive off a horn will sound and you loose some points. You must make stops briefly at a stop sign, traffic lights and a simulated railroad crossing. Don


Taiwan-issued International Driving Licences/Permits
#2

PART 2: THE DRIVING RULES

This section deals with Taiwan


#3

PART 3: THE CAR SKILL TEST

Taiwan


#4

Thanks for posting this, very informative.

I am in the posession of a Malaysian (car) driving license, thus I want to apply for an exchange, hopefully they can authenticate this at the embassy here (the rule says in the issuing country) and will approve even I am not Malaysian!? That would be nice though I guess I still have to sit for the motorcycle license as I don’t have any.

Anybody got a motorcycle here and transferred it back in the home country (Germany in my case)? Will a Taiwanese license be accpeted there (given that the test is rather, say, easy)?


#5

Wow, interesting case. Honestly I would just take the test, for motorcycle at least it is easy.

I really would wonder about sanity in Germany if they allowed you to exchange a Taiwan scooter license to a German license that allows you drive a 1200c.c. superbike at 250km/h on the autobahn. The skillset would seem a little different!


#6

Fabulous work, Malkie.

One simple question. Do you need anyone to go with you? A Chinese friend for example. It seems like you don’t as the test is in English, but I just want to be sure. Years ago, when I thought about taking the test, I was told a non-Chinese relative had to accompany me. Maybe that was before the test was translated to English.

Thanks.


#7

I used to “interpret” for people’s driving tests (around 1998-1999 or so)…towards the end of that period, when they got the test translated into English, they began to frown on the practice. I believe, however, that technically you would be allowed to use an interpreter to help you with the test IF you do not speak English or Chinese (and how are they really gonna know, unless you have a US passport or something, in which case they might assume?)

Don’t know what the situation is now.

Terry


#8

There is certainly no requirement to take anyone with you to take the driving test. You certainly won’t have a problem if you are literate in either English or Chinese.

I could not determine if there were any arrangements for people who did not speak these languages.

The computer test is done in a special room and there seemed to be plenty of staff around to ensure people were not cheating. I doubt ‘friends’ would be let in unless there was some special arrangement.

The only need you might have for Chinese language is for the car road check, but even there the supervisor explained the procedure to me in English before I went out on the course with the examiner. Since I speak well enough to understand the examiner so I did not have a problem, but I suspect if you do not speak Chinese it is quite possible they would find other ways to assist. If you go to a driving school to practice first, you will know the procedure anyway. I really found the staff to be quite helpful (and of course quite interested that a foreigner was coming to take the test, they spent quite a while passing round my shiny holographic California license!)

-Malcolm


#9

Malkie, the reason Germans cannot change their driving license into a taiwanese is because Germany “does not accept” the taiwanese license. Actually, it is accepted, but after Germany found out that there is no road test (What they do here is only equivalent to the technical test on a closed area, Germans have to take that too.) which is compulsory in Germany, Taiwanese have to pass a practical road test to get a german license.
But, with a “fresh” bike license you are restricted to 26kW (iirc), which should(?) also apply to Taiwanese going to Germany. There are a lot of kits to downsize the power of your bike, but I’m not sure if there are any for a 1200ccm bike…


#10

Malkie, I took the driving test at the test center on Cheng-Der Rd. three years ago and they had an English-language instruction booklet they let me read before the test. They only had one copy though and I had to read it at the desk, then take the written test.


#11

I guess the ‘only copy’ must have finally worn out, it is not there now. Other counties it seems have a driving manual.

Honestly though, the Web based test is so similar to the real test that all you need to know can be learned online by practicing the questions.

-Malkie


#12

Malky, seems strange, but a mate of mine went in for the test, then failed, hahaha, but then the girl behind the desk sold him the book. Must have felt sorry for him I suppose. Anyway my mate said the book was just full of multiple choice questions with the answers. I haven’t seen it myself. Judging by his score in the first test, I’d say he’ll be keeping this book for quite a little longer too.


#13

b What do I need to apply?[/b]

    [*]Alien Resident Certificate and Passport[*]Two pictures (for each license applied for)[*]Your foreign driving license[*]A motorcycle, if you are taking the motorcycle test. For the car test, you use the ones at the test center.[*]Money of course (about NT$1000 total by the time you have done all the stages) [/list]You need to be an resident to apply. If you do not have a foreign driving license then you need to sign up with a driving school to learn to drive. This is not really covered here.

    What? So if I’m a Canadian here on a student visa without an international license, I can’t get a Taiwanese license?
    And cabs are not safe alone, so I’m screwed…

    *Christie


#14

I’ve never had any problem in a cab in Taiwan yet (thank God!)

But if you’re riding alone, get somebody to very obviously write down the guy’s cab number when you get in. I’ve even asked the odd night watchman whom I didn’t even know to do this for me on occasion, to good effect, if I was out late alone.

Terry


#15

Neither I nor my wife had any problems with taxis, except for the occasional driver who wanted to take the long way. However, most Taiwanese women I know hesitate to ride a taxi alone at night. My wife, somewhat of a wimp, wouldn’t even consider it. I agree that making a big show of writing down the number is a good idea.
I’ve heard it can be a bit more risky outside Taipei. My friend was actually robbed at gunpoint (possibly a fake gun?) outside Taoyuan by a taxi driver and his wife just before Chinese New Year in 1993. My other friend I and were there when he got into the cab, but didn’t write down his number.


#16
quote:
Originally posted by christie: [b]What? So if I'm a Canadian here on a student visa without an international license, I can't get a Taiwanese license? And cabs are not safe alone, so I'm screwed...

The process I described assumes that you have a driving license issued in another country. You do not need the ‘international driving license’, just one issued elsewhere.

If you have a Canadian license then go the the office on Pa Der (Ba De) Rd or Cheng Der Rd and they will issue you an international driving permit. There are strict limits on how long you can drive on this type of permit.

If you have never passed a driving test before the process is a little different. To drive a car you need to take some driver training from a driving school, needless to say instruction would probably be in Chinese. I’m not sure what the rule is for motorcycles, but just ask any young Taiwanese! You will need an ARC card, I doubt a student visa will suffice.

In summary, having a foreign driving license allows you to skip the mandatory driver training step.


#17

The only thing I ever feared riding in taxis was the way they were driven, but this risk is only to some extent mitigated by getting your own car. They might still get you!

Taxis are very well regulated here compared to other countries in the region. Incidents, while they occur are very rare. Let’s face it with the number of cabs cruising round, it would be hard for anyone to pose as a taxi driver and target foreigners. That being said would avoid riding in unknown areas late at night, and I would pass up a ride if I thought the driver/cab didn’t look right.


#18

I’ve got really picky with my cabs on the few occassions I need to take them. I never get in one with dents in the side, or one that is hugging the side of the road and being a danger to other traffic. I also take a l;ook at the driver first. It’s not too accurate, but I get a feel for the ‘look’ of particularly bad drivers from my experience being almost killed by them everyday on my scooter.

Bri


#19

I just wanted to let everybody know that I went to the ShuLin (Shu4 Lin2) motor vehicle department on Friday and took the motorcycle driver’s license test.

They now have a preparation book available for both the motorcycle written test and the car written test. All you have to do is sign your name (or make up a name), and they’ll give you one of each book. The preparation book contains multiple choice and true/false questions that are the same ones used on the written test in ShuLin.

I have no idea if the test questions used in ShuLin are the same as the ones in Taipei, but I just wanted to let everybody know that I’ve found a source for the preparation books.