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Driving in Hong Kong

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Can foreign nationals drive in Hong Kong? Can they use their original driver's license or do they need a local driver's license? Find out in this article.

During your stay in Hong Kong, you will probably want to drive at some point of time. In general, foreign nationals are allowed to drive in Hong Kong provided they have a valid driver's license. In all cases, they have to apply for a local driver's license, whether or not they already have a national driver's license. Make sure to inquire on related formalities and costs beforehand.

Applying for a learner’s driving license

First of all, you are required to apply for a learner's driving license and to register for driving examinations. Hence, you have to duly fill and sign a TD555 Form which you have to produce to the nearest licensing office to your address. If you wish to apply for a motorcycle driver's license, you have to take theoretical and practical driving courses before submitting the application form.

Regardless of the type of driver's license you are requesting for, you have to produce your passport or any other travel document, as well as proof of address issued less than three months beforehand. Fees of HKD 548 apply.

Simultaneously, you have to register for driving examinations by filling the TD82 form intended for the car driver's license. You also have to enclose a copy of your passport or other travel document while producing it in person to the Hong Kong or Kowloon licensing office. Fees of HKD 510 apply.

Provisional and permanent driver's license

Once you have passed through the practical driving examination, you have to request for a probationary driving license, then for a full driver's license. In the case of the probationary driver's license, you are required to produce the following:

  • a duly filled and signed TD590 form
  • your passport or other travel document
  • the oral exam application form
  • proof of address issued less than 3 months beforehand
  • administrative fees of HKD 90.

These can either be produced in person at the licensing office or sent by post mail at the following address: Kwun Tong Licensing Office, Transport Department, P.O. Box 68115, Kowloon East Post Office.

As regards the full driver's license, it can be requested to the licensing office or by post at the above-mentioned address within a maximum of three years following the issue of the probationary driver's license. The following documents have to be produced:

  • a duly filled and signed TD557 form
  • your passport or other travel document
  • proof of address issued less than three months beforehand
  • fees of HKD 900.

Foreigners having a national driver's license

Foreign nationals holding a driver's license that has been issued in their home country have to request for either a full driver's license or a temporary driver's license if they intend to make a more than 12 months stay in Hong Kong. Note, however, that they are not required to pass through driving examinations all over again. On the other hand, foreigners having an international driver's license do not have to obtain a full driver's license. In fact, the international driver's license is valid there.

Apply for a full driver's license

If you already have a foreign driver's license, you can request for a full driver's license provided you comply with conditions that are listed in the TD63A form. Hence, your driver's license has to be valid or have expired since less than 3 years, have been issued at least 5 years ago following a practical driving examination and have been used for at least six months on the territory where it has been issued.

The following documents are to be produced to the licensing office along with the TD63A form:

  • your passport or other travel document (original and copy)
  • your foreign driver's license
  • a translation of your driver's license if it is neither in English nor in Chinese
  • proof of address issued less than three months beforehand
  • fees of HKD 900.

Apply for a temporary driver's license

The temporary driver's license applies to foreign nationals whose original driver's license is not recognized in Hong Kong (that is when the driver's license has been issued in a country that is not listed in the TD63A form). If this is your case, you first have to register for driving examinations within 3 months following your arrival in Hong Kong. Otherwise, conditions (validity, residency period) will be the same as those applied to the full driver's license.

The following documents have to be produced:

  • a duly filled and signed TD181 form
  • your passport or any other travel document
  • your foreign driver's license
  • a translation of your driver's license if it is not in English or Chinese
  • proof of address issued less than three months beforehand
  • fees of HKD 90.

Administrative features

Regardless of the type of driver's license requested, administrative fees, as well as the validity period will vary according to your age. Indeed, these are reduced for more than 60 years old people who also have to undergo medical examinations supported by the TD256 form so as to determine their ability to drive.

 Useful links:

Hong Kong Transports Department – Driver's license www.td.gov.hk/en/public_services/licences_and_permits/index.html
Hong Kong Transports Department – Administrative fees www.td.gov.hk/en/public_services/fees_and_charges/index.html#driving
TD555 Form – Learner's permit www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/common/tdforms/td555(2013.01).pdf
TD82 Form – Registering for the driving examinations www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/common/tdforms/td82(2014.08)e-fillable.pdf
TD590 Form – Probationary driver's license www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/common/tdforms/td590(2013.12) e-fillable.pdf
TD557 Form – Full driver's license www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/common/tdforms/td557(rev.11.2014)e-fillable.pdf
TD63A Form – Full driver's license for foreigners holding a foreign driver's license www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/common/tdforms/td63a(2013.09).pdf
TD181 Form – Temporary driver's license www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/common/tdforms/td181(2010.08).pdf
TD256 Form (bilingual) – Medical examination www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/common/tdforms/td256(2011.06).pdf

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