Motorbike licence exchange


I have an International Driving licence valid for cars, light motorcycles, heavy motorcycles and I come from a country where my home licence can be exchanged.

Therefore, I got my Taiwan car licence pretty easily after a short health check. However this licence is valid for cars only. Then I asked the guy at the Taipei Motor Vehicles offices about my motorbike licence. Then he looked at my int’l driving licence and he sticked a document in it “International Driving Licence Registration” + stamps but he told me that it was only valid for 125cc maximum but he did not look so sure.

Can anyone share their experience about a similar situation ?
Also, I heard that it would be difficult to insure my motorbike or scooter with a such Int’l driving licence and not a real Taiwanese motorcycle licence.

I am a bit confused .

And it’s limited in time. Also if your residency is in Taiwan an international driver’s license is not valid and you should change it for a local one. I had my license translated in my home country got it all stamped and notarized/legalized by the powers that be with the last one being the TECO. Than in Taiwan I went to the motor vehicle office and they checked how heavy a motorcycle I was allowed to drive with my license in the home country. In Europe now there are several new rules in place, it’s all about KW (Horse Power) not engine volume anymore as it used to be. Since I got my license before 1980 -1990 something I was allowed to drive any heavy motorcycle, after that date you need a specific license for different motorcycles. Anyways, it needs to be legalized by your home TECO, they have to put a stamp on it. Actually it’s the translation they legalize as they have no power to declare your driver’s license a legal one. But it was a pain in the butt, my car license was years ago and much easier to exchange here. That’s the last I know about it, I guess it was 2011 or 2012.

Hi Belgian Pie,

Thank you for your reply.
I am exactly in the same situation than you and I got already my local car driving licence exchanged. it was easily done (actually I did not do much as my company handled everything for me).
Regarding the motorcycle situation, it is on the same original car licence and it is the same than yours (no limit on power or Kw) but for some reasons, they did not want to put it on my local TW licence and just stamped my int’l driving licence as I said before. I am not sure what my offfice did but I am sure they are not familiar with motorcycle DL exchanged but anyhow what is TECO ? Just to make sure I understand you, you got your motorcycle licence exchanged and it does appear on your local driving licence without any test drive to take ?

That’s incorrect, an international driving permit is perfectly valid as long as you get it stamped up at the DMV, one of the items that is needed is in fact your ARC to prove residency!

Nope, just read the rules. An international drivers license is valid for a limited time only if you’re residing here. You need to exchange to a local and that is done by validating and translating your original driver’s license back in your home country, have these documents stamped by the Taiwan Economic and cultural Office (TECO) in your home country. An international is actually not a license, it’s just a prove of you having a license (it should officially be accompanied by the original license but no one cares about that) and is only valid outside your country of residence. An international driver’s license is valid for only 3-5 years or so anyways.

Taiwan has this one license for every vehicle system, so I have two licenses, one for the car and one for a heavy motorbike. I could get one for a bus/coach, 16 wheeler (commercial license) if I get work as a bus driver or truck driver they told me, as I have these licenses from my home country. I have in fact just one license from the home country that’s valid from a light motorcycle up to a huge truck. Last time I was back home I got the EU version, bankcard type, and they temporarily suspended my bus and truck license as I didn’t have a medical done, I can get it back when moving back home, doing a medical and do update classes. Rules change, my original non-EU license was valid indefinitely, the EU type 10 years. (but I’ll be old by then)

Have been doing it for years as I refuse to give up my home license which entitles me to drive in a great number of countries without an international permit for a Taiwanese license which doesn’t. You bring your ARC and international permit to the DMV, fill out a form and the they stamp and staple an addendum to your permit, it’s for a maximum of 1 year, will be less if either your ARC or permit has less than a years validity remaining. I have “heavy” motorcycles and cars on mine.

You can check the rules on the DMV’s own website, DMV, quoting from there, “Only people with an IDL issued by reciprocating countries and staying in the country fewer than 30 days can drive without additional permission. If foreigners wish to stay more than 30 days they should fill out the IDL permit application form and submit it to the highway inspection department. The longest validity for an IDL permit is one year. If the permit validity date is shorter than one year, the validity shown on the license or document applies. After expiration, permission to drive ends.” The bolding is mine. You may be running into an issue with reciprocity, assuming you are from Belgiun then there may be a limitation as Belgium only allows Taiwanese to use an IDP for 3 months in Belgium, check here DMV

They typically aren’t clear for “heavy” motorcycles, if your IDP and home license states a “heavy” motorcycle category then you should have that on the stamped insert they gave you. If I remember correctly mine states something odd like motorcycles to a maximum weight of 600kg which isn’t really a limitation as I can’t think of any offhand that weigh more than that or even close…

Never had an issue, I’ve actually never had to produce my license for an insurance company. Had a recent accident (not my fault) and there was no issue with license or insurance.

Actually you are both right in a way.

The IDP generally is no good once you become a resident of a country according to the IDP rules but Taiwan does this weird permit thing as Super pointed out.

Personally I never bothered to get it stamped for 4 years and when I got stopped I showed it to the cops and I just got waved through.

This year the rules changed and I was able to swap my overseas license for a local one with no test so I did it. I have a big bike license back home and a car. Taipei DMV gave me two licences , one for <249cc and one for the car but they refused to give me the big bike license. I argued with them and filed a formal complaint and was told that to swap for the big bike license, you need a original letter stating that you went to a bike driving school and had (if I remember correctly) 40hours of school experience , translated by teco in Chinese. I kept getting conflicting info so I gave up.

my car license I changed years ago, translated and stamped here in Taiwan by the Belgian office. No problem, they just looked in their ‘bible’ at the DMV to confirm the specimen was similar to my license. Done.
I even got the scooter license up to 249 cc thrown in.

Changing to the unlimited heavy motorbike I had to do that in Belgium for a part, translation, stamps, stamps, stamps and money everywhere. The final document with the stamp from the TECO was needed and I got the big bike license, but since laws and rules changed in Belgium over the years I had to do some specification on the translation about the unlimited power of the bike I could drive, because back than it stated only (A) on my license, B and all the following for every vehicle out there. (A) meant motorcycle without specifying how heavy. It actually was over 49 cc until …??? cc, could be anything. in 1989 they changed all that. So, it’s confusing for the DMV here when you produce a license from before 1989. Now I have a EU license style card (bankcard size), but that is just to get my Belgian IDL once in while (every 3 years) when I’m back home. More useful than the Taiwanese IDL.

BTW, you don’t have to give up your original driver’s license to get a local one.

For most countries you do, perhaps for yours you don’t. A fellow countryman applied and received a Taiwan license whilst keeping his own, I went to the Taipei DMV a few months later however no dice, they brought out the rule book which clearly states conversion. I tried in the office he originally got his and again no luck, they brought out the rule book. You may have gotten lucky with yours or your countries reciprocal rule may be different.

Yep, the statement on the DMV website doesn’t make much sense, “According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the principle of conversion of the motorcycle driver’s license among reciprocating countries is: If the issued country does not categorize motorcycles by emissions or horsepower, applicants can apply for the general heavy motorcycle driver’s license by following the above regulations. If applicants can also submit a certificate showing 32 hours of large heavy motorcycle training, they can convert the license into a large heavy motorcycle driver’s license.”

This is so confusing but BTW, my own original DL was returned to me while getting the new local one. I surely never accepted to give it away for a Taiwanese one !

Anyhow here is what is written on the paper they added and stamped on my IDL about “Class of International Driving License” (for cars, I got at same time, same office a TW car DL), can anyone tell me what it does exactly means in terms of motorbike power ?


For sure they don’t have the right to keep your original license, it’s an official document issued by your country, not Taiwan.

They send it back to your home country, the idea being that when you return you give up the Taiwan license and get back your own. I was incredulous at the idea and they showed me a Taiwanese persons license from my home country that they had gotten that week as the person had returned to Taiwan, they need to send it back to my country. I had already done the medical for both car and motorcycle (both a joke) and had all the forms filled up until they told me they would be keeping my license, that put a roadblock on proceedings and I went with IDP’s instead from then on. Again, it all depends on the reciprocal agreement with your home country (some countries and indeed some US states have no agreement and therefore must do a local test). Some people got lucky, such as my friend, where the DMV wasn’t properly trained and allowed the applicant to keep their home country license.

The whole thing stinks as well for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s supposed to be a reciprocal agreement however here I must do a “medical” and have the license linked to my ARC duration, there are no such requirements in my country for Taiwanese. For a large motorcycle I am apparently required to show X numbers of hours training, again no such requirement for Taiwanese in my country. What’s laughable is that the Taiwan car license up to this year was gained driving around a set course basically in a car park to be reciprocal Taiwanese should be required to show a test on real roads just like you need to do in my home country.

They kept mine this year as well but they said they don’t send it back, it’s kept somewhere locked in their office. I said no problem, I’ll get my licence office to mail a new one to my address back home which will get posted to me.

I ended up forgetting but I have just this week got a renewal from my countries license office to renew so I will just do that. I don’t think they have any idea what the rules are, just fly by the seat of their ass

Agreed, there seems to be no consistency. I’d be rightly pissed if I had handed over my license and then tried to get it back from my home country DMV before finding out that it never left Taiwan. I was shown a returned license in BaDe road DMV so it still could be true. Also considered claiming a lost license at home and just getting a replacement, didn’t yet due to the “sending it to your country” bit as that may cause legal issues. You bring up a good point on renewal, in many countries if you don’t renew within a certain time period you lose categories. Which DMV did you go to?