1. International Driver's License
  2.  / 
  3. Blog
  4.  / 
  5. Getting a driving license in China
Getting a driving license in China
March 04, 2019

Getting a driving license in China

If you want to become the owner of a driver’s license in China, it is necessary to pass examinations (despite the presence of a driver’s license obtained in another country, including international one, China hasn’t ratified the International Convention establishing the driver’s license of international standard).

The procedure for obtaining the license in China is not an easy one. Nevertheless, it is possible, and we will describe how to do it in this article.


You must register before taking exams. To do this, apply to the local traffic police. The set of documents should include the following:

  1. Passport and a copy of the page with the photo.
  2. Copy of a valid Chinese visa.
  3. A copy of the page in the passport with the latest stamp on entry into the country.
  4. Copy of both sides of national or International Driving License.
  5. The official translation of the current license, provided by a certified translator.
  6. Four passport photos.
  7. Medical certificate of health status obtained in any hospital.
  8. Your Chinese name and height in centimeters.
  9. 200-300 yuan.

A person who doesn’t speak Chinese can use the help of a translator when submitting documents.

A medical examination is limited to visiting an ophthalmologist, measuring height-weight parameters and paying approximately 20 yuan.

After registration, you must complete the application form for taking a theoretical exam. Further, the applicant for license is given a card indicating the time and date of the exam, as well as a booklet with variants of exam questions and useful links to resources, where you can also get the necessary information. The exam itself is taken on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Theoretical exam

Theoretical exam is taken in the administrative office of the transport administration of a particular locality. There can be a separate office for foreigners.

In Shanghai or Beijing, you can take the specified exam in any language. But even if you have to be examined in a remote province, you can take a translator (of course, by paying him).

You can prepare for the exam using the Drive in China app. It is free for Android, paid for iOS. It is a high-quality application. It takes a little time to figure out how it works, but after the adaptation take place, it is very convenient to use it.

When preparing, you should pay special attention to the following sections:

– Road signs;

– Points system and penalties for different offences (however, on the exam, there will be only tickets about violations providing for the largest penalty points – 6 and 12);

– Controls and dashboard indicators;

– Jail time and other penalties for offences;

– Road surface markings;

– Hand signals;

– Minimum and maximum speeds in various situations.

You can prepare for the theoretical exam using the English version of questions, there are just a little more than 1,500 of them. Those who know Chinese well can prepare in this language, there is also this option in the app. At the exam, you can also choose the language of questions, all European languages are available there.

There are 100 questions in the exam in total. Each question contains three answer options. Only one should be chosen. If there are correct answers for at least 90 test questions, the exam is passed. A lot of questions relate to driving on mountain roads and serpentines, as well as speed limits. There is also such a limitation as 30 km/h in Chinese traffic rules.

The exam is taken on a computer in 45 minutes. In case of failure, you can retake it even without additional payment (and immediately, on the same day). But repeated failure will require parting with 50 yuan, and you will have to register for a re-test separately, and take it only after 20 days.

If a person already has any driver’s license (national or international), it is enough for him/her to pass only a theoretical exam in China. The license is issued for five years, regardless of when the visa expires.

After successfully passing the exam, you need to pay 10 yuan, and after three working days you can get the license: in the same place or with delivery by courier (this should be agreed on the day of passing).

Driving test

You should register for the driving test in advance. There are schools that teach foreigners to drive (a translator is provided). The process takes two to three months and costs from 3,000 to 8,000 yuan, depending on the school and its location. The following documents are needed:

– passport and residence permit valid for at least three months (original and photocopy);

– a confirmation of the temporary place of residence received at the local police station (original and photocopy);

– medical insurance (as a rule, you can obtain it right in this place);

– 3-5 color photos with a white background.

The driving test consists of three parts:

  1. Skills and parking on the test track.
  2. Practical driving test.
  3. A written test of driving rules knowledge (50 questions).

Each exam takes about two hours. If you fail it the first time, you will have to pay a fee at the local traffic police station and pass it again in twenty days.

The instructor who tests driving skills doesn’t flunk anyone on purpose. If a person is well-oriented on the road, is able to perform the elementary tasks – to start, brake, turn, park – the exam is considered to be passed. But after the practice, the test is taken again – this time on the knowledge of traffic rules. It turns out to be a four-stage system of admission to the right to own the driver’s license (as they call it in China). In part, this is fair – more or less well, this method weeds out those who don’t understand how to behave on the road. Nevertheless, millions of Chinese, even obtained a driver’s license with difficulty, continue to violate traffic rules. Guests of this amazing and beautiful country can be advised to follow the simple rule on the road: “The safest option is to move in the flow”. And in order to finally get to your destination, you should definitely provide yourself with a map and a navigator.

Remember that China is a country with excellent roads. You can and should look at it from the car window, but at the same time not forget about the specifics of Chinese driving. And it is great if you also have an International Driver’s License. If you still don’t own it, don’t get upset. It is easy to process an International Driver’s License in China on our website.

Please type your email in the field below and click "Subscribe"
Subscribe and get full instructions about the obtaining and using of International Driving License, as well as advice for drivers abroad