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Do Foreigners Need a Drive Permit to Drive in China?
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Yes. Foreigners who have a driving license issued by their home countries can apply for a temporary driving license and drive in China without having to take related tests, according to a clause in a regulation issued by the Ministry of Public Security.


The regulation, which deals with the management of automobiles and foreigners that come to China for a short stay, stipulates that the valid period for the temporary driving license should not exceed the period marked in the entry and exit certificates, and the temporary license can be valid for three months at most. The valid period cannot be extended. In addition, the temporary driving license should be used together with the driving license issued at his or her home country and foreigners should always take these two licenses with them, in case traffic police ask them to show these licenses at any time.


Although foreigners who have obtained their driving license at home can get their temporary driving license in China without having to take related tests, they need to attend lessons to study Chinese road safety regulations, before they can drive in China. And they can only drive small cars or automatic-gear cars.


If foreigners will stay for a relatively long time in China, they can consider obtaining an official driving license in China. To do so, they should take their foreign driving licenses and valid ID cards to the automobile management bureau, fill up the automobile driving license application form, take the related physical examination, and attend a traffic regulation test. Once they have completed all these procedures and passed related tests and exams, they can get the official driving license issued by the Chinese government.


(China.org.cn February 28, 2007)

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