How can I get a driver's license?
There are three ways for foreigners to legally drive in Vietnam:
Get a Vietnam-recognized IDP (International Drivers Permit)
Get a Vietnamese license
Drive a 50 cc motorbike
1. International driver's license (IDL) / international driving permit (IDP)
From August 1st 2016 the International Drivers License (IDL) became recognized in Vietnam – but only for certain countries. Those countries where the IDL is recognized were signatories to the 1968 Convention International Driving License (IDL).
Check if your country recognized by Vietnam on this link.
If your country was a signatory to this convention you can purchase an insurance policy that covers you for riding in Vietnam. You will need to take your home country driving license with a motorbike endorsement to the transport authorities to obtain it.
Australia, USA and Canada are not signatories to the 1968 Convention therefore, citizens of those countries are NOT able to drive in Vietnam with their IDPs. However, the UK has just been recognized.
2. How to get a Vietnamese motorbike license
Straight Conversion from Home License to Vietnamese License
If you hold a car or motorbike license from your home country (and hold a residence card of three months duration or more) you can obtain the equivalent driver’s license in Vietnam. In short, it is a straight-forward conversion.
Have a Valid Driver’s License from Home Country but not a Motorbike License
If you hold a valid driver’s license from your own country (and hold a residence card of three months duration or more) you can gain a Vietnamese motorbike license by passing a practical motorbike driving test. To pass the test you need to book – often several weeks in advance and you need to practice for it.
Do not have any driver’s license
If this is you, you will need to pass both theory and driving tests to operate a motorcycle. You will need to be fluent in Vietnamese as the theory test is in Vietnamese and you are not allowed a translator. Good luck!
3. Drive a 50cc motorbike
Vietnam does not require you to hold a license to drive a 50cc motorbike (scooter). However, you should check if your home country does. Whilst you may be legal in Vietnam you may not be legal (policy wise) in your home country.