In Thailand, you cannot renew a Thai driving license online. However, you can partly complete the process online, so that you can get a new license more quickly. In the past, you had to sit through an hour of watching horrible traffic accident videos shot in Thailand, along with a few driving tips and rules, in order to get a 5 year renewal of your Thai driver’s license.
However, now you can watch the videos online, and the emphasis is on Thai traffic laws and good driving habits, rather than frightening people with videos of motorcycles being run over by trucks. What you need to do is set up an account at the DLT e-Learning website. You’ll be glad to hear that there is a “For Foreigner” button on the homepage. Click on that and it will guide you through the easy registration process, and the video tutorials.
The videos are split into four sections, each running for around 15 minutes. If you try clicking on a new browser tab to do something else while the video is playing, the video will stop. If you walk away from your computer to do something else, you may miss the quiz question that pops up while the video is playing. So, there is no way to game the system. Just block out an hour of your time to watch the required videos for the online renewal of your Thai driving license.
After you finish watching the videos, you’ll take a quick 5 question quiz, which mirrors the quiz questions that were asked during the video tutorials. You then will be given a QR code and digital confirmation that you’ve completed the required training for renewal of your driver’s license. Save this to your phone, so that you have it when you go to get your new license.
The next thing to do for streamlining the renewal of a driver’s license is schedule an appointment online! That’s right, no more waiting for hours inside the Thailand Department of Land Transport (aka DLT). To schedule your Thai driving license renewal online, download the DLT Smart Queue app. Don’t be misled by the 2 star rating that it has on the Apple App store. The app works fine and is easy to navigate in both English and Thai. It does have a 5 star rating in the Google Play store for android phones, which is what we would rate the iPhone app.
You’ll be able to choose the day and time for your Thai driving license renewal. And once again you’ll be given a QR code and confirmation that you must download to your phone and take with you to the office when getting your new license. Note that many DLT offices will serve people who have an appointment on a first come first serve basis (regardless of your scheduled time,). Therefore, if you have an appointment at 10 am, and the person with a 10:30 am appointment arrives before you, they’ll likely get served first.
So, when renewing your Thai driving license, arrive a bit early, even if you have scheduled an appointment online. On the plus side, even if someone with a later appointment time goes before you, the renewal process has become much more efficient. We were in and out with a renewed Thai driving license in about 45 minutes.
When you go to renew your Thai driver’s license you should bring with you: 1) Your old license, 2) A good health verification letter from a Thai clinic, 3) A photocopy of the first page of your passport and the page with your Visa stamp, 3) Digital copies of the QR codes for your video training and license renewal appointment, 4) A photocopy of your yellow residence book (Tabien Baan), if you have one, and 5 ) If you don’t have the yellow Tabien Baan book, a verification letter for a Thai driving license from the Immigration police (500 baht cost).
Note that you DO NOT need the document from immigration if you have the yellow housing registration book. Also note that the health verification letter can be done at most any Thai clinic, and doesn’t require a blood test, unlike the health verification required for your work or retirement Visa in Thailand.
You’ll still have to take the reaction time test, depth perception test, and traffic light color test to renew your license. The color test can be the trickiest, especially if you are slightly color blind. The yellow light at our DLT office isn’t actually yellow. It’s orange and can easily be confused as red.
An old Thai lady who color tested before us, started repeatedly saying “Som!” (orange), to the consternation of the official who said that there was no orange, and that it was yellow. To which the Thai lady replied, “Mai Chai, Som!” (No, that’s orange!). She was right. So, to make sure you get your red and yellow colors right, watch carefully the person who tests before you. The red light is a darker shade than the orange and can be identified once you know it.
If you are new to Thailand and worried about how dangerous the roads are, we clear some misconceptions in our article: Is is Safe to Drive in Thailand?