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International Driving Permit (to prevent constant fines)


RyanAsksAQuestion
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I was in Phuket in March/April and will be going back next week. When I was there I kept getting a 1000 baht fine as I didn't have an International Driving Permit. I googled it and living in the UK apparently I need a 1949 International Diving Permit, which I can get from the post office. I went to the Post Office with a passport picture and two minutes later I was given an International Driving Permit written out by some random postal worker with my picture glued inside.... is this really what the Thai Police want to see and will stop me getting a fine? 

Thanks

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I was also surprised at the UK IDL, thought it might be a little more impressive than a couple of  bits of thick paper & my picture.

I did get stopped by the police, but at the time the IDL had actually expired. He didn't notice, or more likely couldn't read English.

So to answer your question, it will stop you being fined for not having a license, but they may well find another reason to extract a few baht.

It goes without saying, but I will anyway, 🤓 make sure you have proper insurance & that your UK insurance permits you to ride a motorcycle.

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Chiang Mai had a LOT of checkpoints last month when I was there, must have went through 8-10 of them

 

Every time I started to reach for my back pocket and IDP, they just waved me through once they saw I was reaching for something, didn't even ever get a chance to take it out!

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1 hour ago, RyanAsksAQuestion said:

I was in Phuket in March/April and will be going back next week. When I was there I kept getting a 1000 baht fine as I didn't have an International Driving Permit. I googled it and living in the UK apparently I need a 1949 International Diving Permit, which I can get from the post office. I went to the Post Office with a passport picture and two minutes later I was given an International Driving Permit written out by some random postal worker with my picture glued inside.... is this really what the Thai Police want to see and will stop me getting a fine? 

Thanks

Are they doing that again? Where, Patong by chance? The district would be of interest!

Usually they do accept the card driving licenses , as long they are in english. The EU license worked for friends of mine for the past 10 years or so. But they are right, you need the international piece. Just it is either a "new sheriff in town", or they have to open more income options, tourist numbers are ok, but down.

To really make sure, you are out of trouble, get the international piece and try to get a Thai license, a real one.

Not sure you can apply for with a extempt entry, but tourist would do, you then "just" would need an adress for the process. Which may  be the difficult part, depending in Hotel or landlord. 

But it is worth it, nice souvenir and less trouble with the RTP.

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2 hours ago, Marc26 said:

once they saw I was reaching for something, didn't even ever get a chance to take it out!

i have the same problem with the massage grannies on loy kroh....

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, RyanAsksAQuestion said:

I was in Phuket in March/April and will be going back next week. When I was there I kept getting a 1000 baht fine as I didn't have an International Driving Permit. I googled it and living in the UK apparently I need a 1949 International Diving Permit, which I can get from the post office. I went to the Post Office with a passport picture and two minutes later I was given an International Driving Permit written out by some random postal worker with my picture glued inside.... is this really what the Thai Police want to see and will stop me getting a fine? 

Thanks

Yes. However, I'm surprised the Thai police are even fining you for not holding an IDP. In 99% of the country they don't care. You could show them a McDonald's membership card and they would accept it. Being Phuket I suspect they're able to fine you 1000 Baht because they know there are lots of foreigners there and they're unaware of Thai law (and how loosely enforced traffic laws are) so it's a good opportunity for the Phuket police to fish for bribes.

However, elsewhere, such as if you're stopped for speeding at a checkpoint in Chainat heading north from Bangkok towards Chiang Mai, more often than not one can talk their way out of a fine altogether.

Edited by Highlandman
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1 hour ago, Guest1 said:

Are they doing that again? Where, Patong by chance? The district would be of interest!

Usually they do accept the card driving licenses , as long they are in english. The EU license worked for friends of mine for the past 10 years or so. But they are right, you need the international piece. Just it is either a "new sheriff in town", or they have to open more income options, tourist numbers are ok, but down.

To really make sure, you are out of trouble, get the international piece and try to get a Thai license, a real one.

Not sure you can apply for with a extempt entry, but tourist would do, you then "just" would need an adress for the process. Which may  be the difficult part, depending in Hotel or landlord. 

But it is worth it, nice souvenir and less trouble with the RTP.

That's exactly it...it's about revenue raising. Any proper DL from a western country should do. IDP is not an absolute necessity, though it's recommended.

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3 hours ago, Highlandman said:

Yes. However, I'm surprised the Thai police are even fining you for not holding an IDP. In 99% of the country they don't care. You could show them a McDonald's membership card and they would accept it. Being Phuket I suspect they're able to fine you 1000 Baht because they know there are lots of foreigners there and they're unaware of Thai law (and how loosely enforced traffic laws are) so it's a good opportunity for the Phuket police to fish for bribes.

However, elsewhere, such as if you're stopped for speeding at a checkpoint in Chainat heading north from Bangkok towards Chiang Mai, more often than not one can talk their way out of a fine altogether.

My stepson, his friend and I were at a Thai pub in Chiang Mai

 

We been drinking but only a couple beers each

 

We hit a police roadblock with them breath testing many people

 

My stepson was on his MB in front of me and they stopped him

 

He simply pointed to me behind him and said "I am with my Dad" and they waved him through

Don't think they wanted to deal with a farang  5555

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If you rent a car or motorbike in Thailand and if you bother to read the contract, you are required to have a driver's license for those two platforms respectively from your home country and also have obtained an IDP. I don't know the law in Thailand... but it's reasonable to assume that these two things are likely what is required. So if you are getting fined, it is because you are not in compliance. 

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11 hours ago, Freeduhdumb said:

If you rent a car or motorbike in Thailand and if you bother to read the contract, you are required to have a driver's license for those two platforms respectively from your home country and also have obtained an IDP. I don't know the law in Thailand... but it's reasonable to assume that these two things are likely what is required. So if you are getting fined, it is because you are not in compliance. 

Yep, by the book, the police can do it. You NEED an IDP. And after 6 month even a local license.

But since most DL are card size and coming in English, they are IDL's. And it is common practice, even on Phuket, to accept them without IDP.

The questions here would be: Was it a checkpoint, with payment booth, or without (send to the station, by motorcycle taxi, to pay), or even "just" a BiB, charging on the spot?

I don't think they won't find enough "farangs" , driving around without helmets, to charge them.

So the district would be interesting, if that is a station chief order! (They only check, what they are ordered to.)

What most people are still unaware off: Thai police gets their "commission" from fines, legally.

Good, the Joe Ferrari case put some light on that, but it is for every money the police is officially generating by fines, raids, ....! There is not really a number out, if it is 10 or 20, 30%, or what one (Bkk, I think) official mentioned, quite some time ago,  on Phuket perhaps even 50% of the fine amount getting into the bonus for all station officers to be shared. But it got admitted, that the police(station) can decide , how much the officers earn. Ok, the legal part of that. The other they do that anyway.

 

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26 minutes ago, Guest1 said:

Yep, by the book, the police can do it. You NEED an IDP. And after 6 month even a local license.

But since most DL are card size and coming in English, they are IDL's. And it is common practice, even on Phuket, to accept them without IDP.

The questions here would be: Was it a checkpoint, with payment booth, or without (send to the station, by motorcycle taxi, to pay), or even "just" a BiB, charging on the spot?

I don't think they won't find enough "farangs" , driving around without helmets, to charge them.

So the district would be interesting, if that is a station chief order! (They only check, what they are ordered to.)

What most people are still unaware off: Thai police gets their "commission" from fines, legally.

Good, the Joe Ferrari case put some light on that, but it is for every money the police is officially generating by fines, raids, ....! There is not really a number out, if it is 10 or 20, 30%, or what one (Bkk, I think) official mentioned, quite some time ago,  on Phuket perhaps even 50% of the fine amount getting into the bonus for all station officers to be shared. But it got admitted, that the police(station) can decide , how much the officers earn. Ok, the legal part of that. The other they do that anyway.

One flaw with your explanation, I reckon the BiB could nick someone every minute of every working day for motoring offences if they wanted too, but they are not out there. They don't give a stuff...🥴

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1 hour ago, Transam said:

They don't give a stuff...🥴

Nope, that is not a flaw, that is the explanation:

The station chief decides, after what they have to go, and where they have to do it.

On a dau by day base. Also depending, if the manila business is acceptable or not. Of course, they could do it by the books for every violation they see. Just as long the money is generated, .....

Because if the BiBs would do that, wherever they see it, it could happen, that even the locals would start to take care.. Thus could mean, locals would always drive with taxes paid, helmet, DL renewed, ..... 

But if only now and then, on mostly knowing and spotable checkpoints, with well known detours around, .... 

Don't slaughter the milk cow

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https://london.thaiembassy.org/en/publicservice/84710-driving-in-thailand?page=5d6636ce15e39c3bd000734d&menu=5d6636cd15e39c3bd00072e2

It's the law, so if you're in a revenue raising area, you'd better get one. 

Happened to me at a toll booth in Bangkok a couple of years ago. Got stopped by the police, showed him my license, he then walked off and came back with his buddy wanting to see the IDP. 

Whether him or his pal could read the English or Arabic on the international license is debatable..😆

Bottom line. Don't want the fine, (especially in areas where you're likely to be a target) then get one. 

I never drive in Thailand without it. 

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11 hours ago, Guest1 said:

The questions here would be: Was it a checkpoint, with payment booth, or without (send to the station, by motorcycle taxi, to pay), or even "just" a BiB, charging on the spot?

I don't think they won't find enough "farangs" , driving around without helmets, to charge them.

Maybe the OP is actually getting fined for having a car license when he is driving a motorbike? I got fined once in Pattaya, for only having my car license, and then they proceeded to also fine me for not having a helmet... the only thing was, I was wearing my helmet... lol. Naturally, I was able to get all of it reduced to just 800 baht with the help of the guy who rented me the motorbike. I wonder what his cut was?

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I've been riding & driving on holidays/vacations in Thailand for 16 years; always with an IDL.  Minor cost to avoid major hassle.  Make sure you have a motorbike endorsement in your home country--do NOT learn to ride a motorbike in Thailand; learn in your home country and hone your skills in Thailand.  I've ridden all over the country (Trang to Nong Khai, Chiang Rai to Koh Chang, Phetchabun to Phayao, etc.) and been pulled over at LOTS of checkpoints; that IDL (and a smile) was always my pass to continue without hassle.  Years ago I was in a line of farangs on motorbikes stopped at a checkpoint in Phuket; while the cops were trying to examine licenses from Italy, Germany, Russia (that I could see in front of me), the cop that checked my IDL held it up and yelled to the other farang,"You all need THIS!"

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IDL is good to have, but I don't believe it's lawful to use for more than one year. Getting a new one each year is also NG unless you leave the country, right?

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14 hours ago, Vance said:

IDL is good to have, but I don't believe it's lawful to use for more than one year. Getting a new one each year is also NG unless you leave the country, right?

Correct. They're valid for one year. If you live in Thailand obviously you'll have a Thai license so no IDP/IDL needed. 

If you're just visiting it's worth having in my opinion. 

Takes me 5 minutes to get one in my country and it costs very little. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/24/2022 at 5:46 AM, RyanAsksAQuestion said:

I was in Phuket in March/April and will be going back next week. When I was there I kept getting a 1000 baht fine as I didn't have an International Driving Permit. I googled it and living in the UK apparently I need a 1949 International Diving Permit, which I can get from the post office. I went to the Post Office with a passport picture and two minutes later I was given an International Driving Permit written out by some random postal worker with my picture glued inside.... is this really what the Thai Police want to see and will stop me getting a fine? 

Thanks

Yes.  Consider yourself lucky you can just go to the post office.  I don't think you have to pay very much in the UK either.  Here in Canada we have to go to the Auto Association, which runs about as slowly as the DMV.  I usually have to wait around for 45min to 1hr.  It's costs about $30 + 2 passport photos last time I checked.

Edited by samiam123
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20 minutes ago, samiam123 said:

Yes.  Consider yourself lucky you can just go to the post office.  I don't think you have to pay very much in the UK either.  Here in Canada we have to go to the Auto Association, which runs about as slowly as the DMV.  I usually have to wait around for 45min to 1hr.  It's costs about $30 + 2 passport photos last time I checked.

Some time ago, I remember there was an offer, to get an IDL for foreigners, on Phuket/ in Thailand

For more money up to 20 years valid, they claimed.

They also claimed it was legit. And I think, with google and 

 

Phuket

 

International Driver`s License

international Automobile Association 

 

Some should find something. Actually, I remember they had an office near Big C, once. Also got told, that police is accepting it in Thailand. But since I have a Thai license which is now valid in all ASEAN countries, no IDL needed and wanted

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Guest1 said:

Some time ago, I remember there was an offer, to get an IDL for foreigners, on Phuket/ in Thailand

For more money up to 20 years valid, they claimed.

They also claimed it was legit. And I think, with google and 

Phuket

International Driver`s License

international Automobile Association 

Some should find something. Actually, I remember they had an office near Big C, once. Also got told, that police is accepting it in Thailand. But since I have a Thai license which is now valid in all ASEAN countries, no IDL needed and wanted

International drivers association site says you need an International Drivers Permit in Thailand.  Misc. other sites say the same. Misc. people on forums confirm that's what their Thai Embassy told them. 

The official IDP site says you can only get an IDP in your home country, so whatever you were told was a scam.  

Quote

A Warning About International Driving Permit (also known as International Driving License) Unofficial Sellers:

There are many unofficial sellers online claiming to sell legitimate “international driving permits or licenses”. You must be aware that fake products can get you in trouble.

https://internationaldrivingpermit.org/ is the only AIT/FIA approved directory to all IDP issuing organizations around the world.

 

https://internationaldrivingpermit.org/how-to-apply/

Edited by samiam123
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On 6/24/2022 at 7:46 PM, RyanAsksAQuestion said:

I was in Phuket in March/April and will be going back next week. When I was there I kept getting a 1000 baht fine as I didn't have an International Driving Permit. I googled it and living in the UK apparently I need a 1949 International Diving Permit, which I can get from the post office. I went to the Post Office with a passport picture and two minutes later I was given an International Driving Permit written out by some random postal worker with my picture glued inside.... is this really what the Thai Police want to see and will stop me getting a fine? 

Thanks

No. You produced your Full UK Driving License for Car and/ or Motorbike which PO Validated before IDP Issue. 👍

So ensure you have the correct IDP vehicle cover or the fines may continue. Then get your TDL Thai Drivers License. 😎

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On 6/26/2022 at 8:53 AM, samiam123 said:

Yes.  Consider yourself lucky you can just go to the post office.  I don't think you have to pay very much in the UK either.  Here in Canada we have to go to the Auto Association, which runs about as slowly as the DMV.  I usually have to wait around for 45min to 1hr.  It's costs about $30 + 2 passport photos last time I checked.

You are complaining about having to wait 45mins?

 

Although I go to BCAA in downtown Vancouver and it only takes about 10mins, 45mins isn't that long...............

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On 6/25/2022 at 5:24 PM, FarangCoconut said:

I've been riding & driving on holidays/vacations in Thailand for 16 years; always with an IDL.  Minor cost to avoid major hassle.  Make sure you have a motorbike endorsement in your home country--do NOT learn to ride a motorbike in Thailand; learn in your home country and hone your skills in Thailand.  I've ridden all over the country (Trang to Nong Khai, Chiang Rai to Koh Chang, Phetchabun to Phayao, etc.) and been pulled over at LOTS of checkpoints; that IDL (and a smile) was always my pass to continue without hassle.  Years ago I was in a line of farangs on motorbikes stopped at a checkpoint in Phuket; while the cops were trying to examine licenses from Italy, Germany, Russia (that I could see in front of me), the cop that checked my IDL held it up and yelled to the other farang,"You all need THIS!"

My IDP says only MB 125 cc and under but I don't think the police ever check that

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On 6/26/2022 at 11:55 PM, samiam123 said:

International drivers association site says you need an International Drivers Permit in Thailand.  Misc. other sites say the same. Misc. people on forums confirm that's what their Thai Embassy told them. 

The official IDP site says you can only get an IDP in your home country, so whatever you were told was a scam.  

https://internationaldrivingpermit.org/how-to-apply/

You did get this sentence?

"They also claimed it was legit."

I was never in on that, just writing what was and may still be on the table. Alone the 5 or 10 (?)years validity option wasn't really legit, methinks. But: Since in some countries, you can get it in an post office, or from an motor organization, and since it is usually "just" a translation of your DL, which you need to have (usually) at hand, too, it might (seemed to have)  worked in Thailand and also on Phuket.

But so have the European card DL for years, which are kind of an IDL for Europe. Like the Thai DL is IDL for ASEAN countries. (Had one police encounter in Bali, who wanted to charge me. He wasn't happy about, but did not, in the end. In Malaysia that thing is "ok, go on", in Cambodia  I couldn't check, they waved me through ;-)

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