Driving in Singapore

How to drive in Singapore
Updated 2020-05-08 13:00

Singapore has an efficient public transportation system coupled with an excellent taxi services, with phone apps providing very affordable car rides. For those who would still like to drive, it might be necessary to apply for a licence depending on your residency status.

Driving in Singapore for temporary visitors

Tourists or temporary visitors to Singapore can drive using a valid foreign licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP), issued by the authorities in your home country. In general, international permits are issued by the authorities issuing driving permits, although other bodies such as the Automobile Association (AA) might also be able to deliver international permits. Official English translations are required in the absence of international permits. If you come from one of the ASEAN states (Association of South-East Asian Nations), you can drive in Singapore without an international permit. For further details on how to obtain translations or international licences, you need to contact the authorities which have issued your current licence, as these tend to vary and change over time.

Driving in Singapore for long term residents

After 12 months in Singapore, it is compulsory to obtain a local licence. Permanent Residents, students and long-term residents need to apply for a local driving licence. When applying, you will be required to prove the legitimacy of your stay; this can be done by providing details of an employment contract or details of your course of study. New citizens and permanent residency holders need to convert their foreign licences within three months of obtaining their new status.

To apply for a local licence, you will need to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT) in one of the three approved schools in Singapore. If successful, the next step is to exchange your national driving licence for a local licence in a Traffic Police Driving Test Centre. Documents required include:

  • Original and photocopy of your passport and residency documentation
  • Original and photocopy of your valid foreign driving licence
  • A recent passport-sized matte, colour photograph of yourself with a white background (further details are available online)
  • A processing fee of SGD 50 (payment is only possible through a cash card or NETS card)
  • A translation of your driving licence (if not in English)
  • Details of the first date of issue of your licence

Note that there are further documentation requirements for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents. This includes documentation that you have worked or studied in a foreign country for a year or more. If your driving permit has expired, you need to seek documentation showing details of when you passed your test, the date of issue of your licence as well as your driving record details.

Driving licences issued to foreigners will be valid for a period of 5 years from the date on which the licence is issued. Renewals should then be carried out within a month of the date of expiry of the licence. Licences issued to Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents have unlimited validity and do not need to be renewed.

Special cases

Licences for heavy vehicles cannot be converted and applicants will be required to enrol in a driving school and pass relevant driving tests before being allowed to drive in Singapore. The same applies to motorcycle licences which are granted automatically with motorcar licences in some countries. If you wish to ride a motorcycle, you need to pass relevant tests and cannot automatically convert your licence.

Good to know:

Singaporeans drive on the left!

Useful links:

Singapore Traffic Police www.police.gov.sg
The International driving license www.idlservice.com
Singapore Police Force www.police.gov.sg

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.