How to Obtain a Driver's License in Thailand in Two Days

In our times, who hasn't been to Thailand? Show me that person, and I'll tell them just one thing: my friend, immediately head to these blessed lands. Whether you want to be a tourist, a freelancer, or even embark on a grand journey through all of Southeast Asia. To a place where coastal cliffs resemble the prototype of Pandora from "Avatar," or to a place where astonishing Buddhist temples are nestled under evergreen trees, or to a place where pearl plantations stretch far and wide.

By the way, the latter have expanded on one of the most beautiful islands - Samui. Samui! Even the name sounds like a song of wind in bamboo groves.
Azure waters, white sand, coconut palms - paradise on Earth.
Affordable and interesting local cuisine, and if you crave European flavors, the hotels in Samui will welcome you. And the aforementioned pearl farms. Not only a curious place but also an opportunity to purchase pearl jewelry for yourself or as a gift.

But Samui has another appealing feature. Not without reason is comfort mentioned at the beginning. Agree, when going somewhere for an extended period, it's much more convenient to have your own means of transportation - a car or a bike. And this requires having a driver's license, preferably from the country you're in. Not to mention various insurance cases that might arise, not to be mentioned in vain. And let's not even discuss the risks of driving without a license, especially in a foreign country. That's understood, we're all responsible adults who follow the law. And here's where Samui comes in - a place where you can obtain the necessary document in the shortest possible time. And when I say short, I mean it's truly short, just 2 days, unlike, say, Phuket, where you'd have to wait for almost 3 months. Agree, the difference is obvious. And without any extra charges.

You might skeptically ask, "How is that possible?" Well, as they said in an old movie, you have to know the right places. And you and I are lucky because I stumbled upon instructions compiled by a dedicated traveler who knows the local realities inside out.

So, where do you begin? First and foremost, of course, you come to Samui, which is already a pleasure in itself. Starting early in the morning, sip your tea or coffee and set out. Head to the immigration service to obtain the coveted certificate (resident certificate), and bring along a photo of yourself and the TM.30 form. This is not the actual registration of your place of residence, but a screen from the system where the property owner inputs your details within 24 hours. All your details are recorded there - name, passport, phone - and it's all in Thai, naturally. The rental agreement itself isn't necessary; they specifically require the TM.30 form. Don't mix them up!

In the immigration service on the second floor, there's an information desk administrator on the left. Approach, smile politely, and state that you want to get a certificate for a driver's license. That's exactly what you say, because there's a new feature - a field at the bottom of the form with three options. We need the first option to be checked, the upper one, for the driver's license. And if you also want to open a bank account (yes, we're such cool people), then you ask for the third option, the bottom one.

And if we're the proud owners not only of a car but also a motorcycle? Then we need two of these certificates, so ask for both. And if we're also planning to open an account (yes, we're going all out), then ask for three. And if we're planning to get a vehicle on top of that, then we need all four pieces. Oh, and photos, of course, four of them. But the TM.30 form is still just one. Convenient, isn't it? And they'll give it back to you later when they hand out the certificate. They'll give it back for free!

Now you need to get a medical certificate. You can do this at any hospital. The seasoned traveler who equipped us with these instructions did it at Bandon International Hospital for 250 baht.

Like anywhere else, when dealing with various institutions, you need to make copies of all your documents. Thailand is no exception, and Samui, being a part of it, is no exception either. As many certificates as we're taking, that's how many sets of document copies we're making. Because in the end, we'll receive multiple plastic cards! For example, one for a car, another for a motorbike.

What copies do we make:

  • passport (main page and visa),
  • international driver's license (photo, name, categories),
  • national driver's license (it must be with us, with the relevant categories, otherwise Thai licenses won't be issued),
  • medical certificate (maybe we did it in vain).
Let's find a comfortable spot, preferably where we plan to stay overnight. Take your phone or laptop, go to, and after registering, watch four 15-minute educational videos about traffic rules. The system is cunning; it will check if we're watching by periodically displaying a verification window. So, let's stay focused and try to remember what we see because there will be tests at the end. Fortunately, they aren't overly complex. When we're done with the tests, we'll be given a code, which we should definitely take a screenshot of or at least capture on our phone. We'll show this code at the Department of Land Transport, or else they'll make us watch it there. Do we want to waste a whole hour on that?

All right, the first day is over. Good night.
Good morning! Let's get up and get to work. We check the necessary documents that must be on hand. Here's the list:

  • Passport + copy,
  • Certificates (we'll get them at immigration),
  • National driver's license + copy (for Russians, it's the pink card, and the license must be valid),
  • International driver's license + copy (also valid, of course),
  • Medical certificate that we got yesterday.
The first visit today is to the immigration office to obtain the certificates. The second visit right after leaving the immigration office is to the Department of Land Transport, - it's a quick process, as they work there until lunchtime. On the second floor, we locate the ticket machine and take a ticket labeled as "A." We wait for the invitation to enter the office, where we submit the prepared documents. Afterward, there is a bit more waiting for an invitation to take elementary tests, during which they assess our reactions and color perception.

Upon completing the tests, we return to the ticket machine and take another ticket, this time labeled as "C." This is the queue for paying the government fee (approximately 330 baht for two cards). Following that, we are called to have our photographs taken. And within 5 minutes, our cherished driver's licenses are ready!

We can choose to celebrate this achievement somewhere and simultaneously calculate the total cost for us. Rough calculations indicate that the direct expenses amount to approximately 780 baht. This is for two licenses; if it's just one, it's naturally less. And all of this in just 2 days! Now we have two-year licenses! I won't even mention the possibility of using these same licenses to travel to places like Malaysia. Thai licenses are more respected there than Russian ones. Not to forget about various discounts for excursions, museums, and more. Freelancers can also use these licenses to create accounts on platforms that interest them. These licenses are, in essence, genuine documents from a foreign state! The guru who provided me with this guide verified it through personal experience. A big "thank you" to him for that!