Motorbike License- Hard to get for Foreigners.

It is illegal to ride a bike over 50cc's without a valid Vietnam Motorbike License.

The laws have changed, I believe because of the amount of motorcycle accidents by Foreigners over recent years. You, until recently, were able to go through a day course with the help of a training school, pay 500,000 VND, and get a bike license, but this has been suspended, I guess while VN transport people take a look at the laws, and toughen them up for foreigners to get a license.

Those that already have a VN bike license are of course fine, and I think you can change your countries bike license over subject to some visa requirements.

For those who don't have a bike license, it seems there will be alot more involved, and a longer time involved, and certainly a more expensive process than it was before.

Of course, the reason why having a license is important due to insurance cover in case of an accident. Recently, a foreigner hired a bike, had no license, and ran into a cyclist, who died of her injuries. What is worse, he was p1ssed... He got 3 years Jail, and his family had to pay 200 million VND as compensation.

So, I'm thinking about a few things here:

1- Is there actually a Vietnamese Insurance company that will cover you even if you are legal?
2- Will 50cc bikes become more desirable, considering you don't require more than a drivers license?
3- I guess it comes down to the same old rule, have a donation ready for the Police in case you get pulled over, keep a wad of cash in case you fall over, and need medical costs, and what ever you do, don't hit anything, or anyone, ever.... especially if you are drunk!

Its not about safety, it's more to do with increasing profits.

Of course it is... It seems they make it difficult to comply with the laws as it is easier, and more profitable to fleece the foreign national. Then again, I guess the Police in most Asian countries are able to top up their measly salary with the added revenue contributions. Such is life in Vietnam, living the dream!

Silvertail26 :

It is illegal to ride a bike over 50cc's without a valid Vietnam Motorbike License.

...

1- Is there actually a Vietnamese Insurance company that will cover you even if you are legal?
2- Will 50cc bikes become more desirable, considering you don't require more than a drivers license?
3- I guess it comes down to the same old rule, have a donation ready for the Police in case you get pulled over, keep a wad of cash in case you fall over, and need medical costs, and what ever you do, don't hit anything, or anyone, ever.... especially if you are drunk!

From your icon it looks like you aren't in county yet.
Before you come, take a motorcycle proficiency test and get the qualification mark on you foreign driver's license. It is pretty easy to convert that to a Viet license, and you will get some training how to ride too.

50cc bikes are small and slow. If you are to typical-sized foreigner, you won't be comfortable on it, forget having a passenger.

Sure, in case you get pulled over, carry 200k to 500k in your wallet to pay on the spot.

Accidents: Has anyone in the forum had insurance that paid for accident damage or liability? I doubt it. So many ways for an insurance company to weasel out of paying.
I self insure. I have enough to pay for somebody else's motorbike, or a broken-bone-type of hospital bill. I drive slowly and not intoxicated. 200 million sounds like enough.

And the golden rule is don't hit anything, especially girls and grannies on bikes.

gobot :
Silvertail26 :

It is illegal to ride a bike over 50cc's without a valid Vietnam Motorbike License.

...

1- Is there actually a Vietnamese Insurance company that will cover you even if you are legal?
2- Will 50cc bikes become more desirable, considering you don't require more than a drivers license?
3- I guess it comes down to the same old rule, have a donation ready for the Police in case you get pulled over, keep a wad of cash in case you fall over, and need medical costs, and what ever you do, don't hit anything, or anyone, ever.... especially if you are drunk!

From your icon it looks like you aren't in county yet.
Before you come, take a motorcycle proficiency test and get the qualification mark on you foreign driver's license. It is pretty easy to convert that to a Viet license, and you will get some training how to ride too.

50cc bikes are small and slow. If you are to typical-sized foreigner, you won't be comfortable on it, forget having a passenger.

Sure, in case you get pulled over, carry 200k to 500k in your wallet to pay on the spot.

Accidents: Has anyone in the forum had insurance that paid for accident damage or liability? I doubt it. So many ways for an insurance company to weasel out of paying.
I self insure. I have enough to pay for somebody else's motorbike, or a broken-bone-type of hospital bill. I drive slowly and not intoxicated. 200 million sounds like enough.

And the golden rule is don't hit anything, especially girls and grannies on bikes.

This is the best advice I think a newcomer can get regarding motorbikes.
Insurance in Vietnam is a different creature than what westerners know.
The fact that my overly cautious GF has no insurance tells me it's really virtual insurance, which means virtually no insurance.
So before you tell me how wonderful the insurance you have is, as Gobot asked, have you ever had a claim paid?
And don't hit anything you can see. Doesn't get more simple than that.

I'm not implying I drive better than others but it's hard for me to imagine I'll ever drive fast enough in a context where I'd hit a bicycle and kill the driver... when it's crowded I slow down, and on emptier roads I can go faster but unless someone literally crosses over at the last second I'll have time to react... but yeah I don't drive in Saigon, this is another level of craziness.

Insurance that covers motorcycle incidents is a “black hole” that it’s hard to get clear answers on.
A lot of companies simply won’t cover you in places like Bali & Thailand , unless you take out specific insurance for it.

Insurance companies have every get out of jail card you can think of.

First up.    Policies that state you must have a “valid”  bike  license in the country your in.
But...is your license “valid”.   

Most people get their licenses thru travel agents.   The IMPORTANT road rules & knowledge test is in VIETNAMESE.    How many of us have done the written knowledge test.   It’s in VN because the road signs & traffic warnings are in VN.   

Every insurance company will know that.   No matter how you slice & dice it......unless you did & passed that written test ,,you license could not be considered “valid”.   

Most policies won’t cover you if your guilty of breaking local laws/rules either.    In nearly every road incident here, the foreigner will always be in the wrong.  It’s happened to me twice.....luckily only minor damage & a few grazes.  Immediately your surrounded by a crowd of VN onlookers ALL supporting the local guy because it’s all about cash compensation.   I was clearly in the right, but try telling that to a mob.

There’s several other points to cover where an insurance company will have clear grounds to avoid paying , but those above issues will be hard to get around.

Just get a good helmut, ride slow, be aware . 

PS.
This is sneaky...but if you fall heavily from a bike ( no other party involved)  and are seriously injured but lucid , forget the motorbike.   
Leave it & say it was a bicycle you fell off...and get away from there as soon as you can...That’s the beauty of not having a bike registration in your name.    But if your badly banged up, that’s life ain’t it.

Hi
I got my Vietnamese car and motorbike driving licence in one afternoon. No lesson required. Just paperwork, picture and pay.

Sheesh, how did you get both licences in one day? Pray tell!

I managed to get my foreign motorcycle licence transferred into a Vietnamese one, but only for the duration of my residence permit or foreign licence, whichever expired first. It took a couple of weeks of running around for all sorts of make-work procedures, but I was curious how it would work. It did, and cost very, very little as opposed to going through an 'agent'.

Once it expired I didn't bother trying to renew it, which would have involved the same amount of running around. Not sure how my overseas insurance would react if something goes wrong, though I do have a valid international driving permit (including motorcycle) which Vietnam apparently has begun to accept -- though it's still not listed on the document which lists just about every other country in the world.

Apart from that, I have a secondary 'police wallet' which I've mentioned before on this forum, with my (expired) Vietnamese licence and about 150,000 dong in small notes. "Sorry Sir, that's all I have." Haven't been pulled up yet by the yellow cops, so I don't know how it would work, but if they're after take-home money like they have been lately in Saigon before today's public holiday, and always before Tet, they might settle for what they can get on the spot without paperwork.

I've had Vietnamese license since 2008 and the little yellow paper that means next to nothing.  I had a valid US license when I obtained the license.  In 2014 the US license expired in the US.  I had been driving up to my the expiration of my Visa which was in February of 2019.  Reading into the 'new regulations' even with a 'valid Vietnamese license', I was actually driving illegally.  I do not have valid US license as I do not have a 'residence' in the US, nor do I have any motor vehicle insurance.  I am now riding a bicycle and walking.  For me it is not worth the chance to spend several years in a Vietnamese prison...   
It is stated that the "Insurance" from your foreign country along with a valid 'country' license and a "Valid" Vietnamese license (road test and written test) along with that little yellow paper qualifies you as being "Legal and Insured".  You have to have insurance from your country to have insurance overseas...unless you can find a li-get insurance company elsewhere.  The bike rules were changed in December of 2014. 
I hear there is at least one guy in Saigon that can get you VN license, but it is a scam and would be a risk if you injured someone seriously.  Be careful.

Not hard to get

I paid 2.6 mil VND for a motorbike license that will never expire and I don’t speak Vietnamese.

I had to take the driving portion of the motorbike test and as for the written part...well...that’s a long story.

The guy that helped me had me come and practice 2 different times because you can only make 4 errors on the driving part.

Also your Visa must be for longer than 3 months. I had a 1 year Visa and I went to the local photo store in D7 and had my Viet sister in law tell them I needed photos for a motorbike license. They take picture with a blue background. My motorbike license never expires.

As for driving styles and safety, best to not be overly cautious. I found driving the style as everyone else (going with the flow so to speak) worked fine.  I say that meaning don’t drive like a grandma but obey the laws at the same time. I drove all over anyday in Can Tho, Ca Mau, and Saigon. Never had any problem even when I drove past the police. In fact, I had the Viet style driving down pat that all my wife’s family got on the back of my rented motorbike without hesitation and said I drive very good.....even my wife’s father haha and he only ever would get on back with his older daughter.

If you end of getting a motorbike license, be respectful about it and you won’t have any problems. As for the insurance, that’s a “paper protocol” but won’t really do you any good at the end of the day so try not to hit anyone.

Anthony64 :

I've had Vietnamese license since 2008 and the little yellow paper that means next to nothing.  I had a valid US license when I obtained the license.  In 2014 the US license expired in the US.  I had been driving up to my the expiration of my Visa which was in February of 2019.  Reading into the 'new regulations' even with a 'valid Vietnamese license', I was actually driving illegally.  I do not have valid US license as I do not have a 'residence' in the US, nor do I have any motor vehicle insurance.  I am now riding a bicycle and walking.  For me it is not worth the chance to spend several years in a Vietnamese prison...   
It is stated that the "Insurance" from your foreign country along with a valid 'country' license and a "Valid" Vietnamese license (road test and written test) along with that little yellow paper qualifies you as being "Legal and Insured".  You have to have insurance from your country to have insurance overseas...unless you can find a li-get insurance company elsewhere.  The bike rules were changed in December of 2014. 
I hear there is at least one guy in Saigon that can get you VN license, but it is a scam and would be a risk if you injured someone seriously.  Be careful.

There is more than 1 guy in Saigon that can get a motorbike license and it’s not a scam.

I legitimately tested for the license and actually have it.
They guy I went through is highly recommended by a lot of people. It’s not a yellow piece of paper
It’s a legit Vietnam motorbike license depicting I’m a US citizen.

Insurance is another story

Texan71 :
Anthony64 :

I've had Vietnamese license since 2008 and the little yellow paper that means next to nothing.  I had a valid US license when I obtained the license.  In 2014 the US license expired in the US.  I had been driving up to my the expiration of my Visa which was in February of 2019.  Reading into the 'new regulations' even with a 'valid Vietnamese license', I was actually driving illegally.  I do not have valid US license as I do not have a 'residence' in the US, nor do I have any motor vehicle insurance.  I am now riding a bicycle and walking.  For me it is not worth the chance to spend several years in a Vietnamese prison...   
It is stated that the "Insurance" from your foreign country along with a valid 'country' license and a "Valid" Vietnamese license (road test and written test) along with that little yellow paper qualifies you as being "Legal and Insured".  You have to have insurance from your country to have insurance overseas...unless you can find a li-get insurance company elsewhere.  The bike rules were changed in December of 2014. 
I hear there is at least one guy in Saigon that can get you VN license, but it is a scam and would be a risk if you injured someone seriously.  Be careful.

There is more than 1 guy in Saigon that can get a motorbike license and it’s not a scam.

I legitimately tested for the license and actually have it.
They guy I went through is highly recommended by a lot of people. It’s not a yellow piece of paper
It’s a legit Vietnam motorbike license depicting I’m a US citizen.

Insurance is another story

Foreigners dont get legal never expiring licenses, its all done under the table. The law states that a foreigners license will expire upon their home country license expiring or their visa expiring.

colinoscapee :
Texan71 :
Anthony64 :

I've had Vietnamese license since 2008 and the little yellow paper that means next to nothing.  I had a valid US license when I obtained the license.  In 2014 the US license expired in the US.  I had been driving up to my the expiration of my Visa which was in February of 2019.  Reading into the 'new regulations' even with a 'valid Vietnamese license', I was actually driving illegally.  I do not have valid US license as I do not have a 'residence' in the US, nor do I have any motor vehicle insurance.  I am now riding a bicycle and walking.  For me it is not worth the chance to spend several years in a Vietnamese prison...   
It is stated that the "Insurance" from your foreign country along with a valid 'country' license and a "Valid" Vietnamese license (road test and written test) along with that little yellow paper qualifies you as being "Legal and Insured".  You have to have insurance from your country to have insurance overseas...unless you can find a li-get insurance company elsewhere.  The bike rules were changed in December of 2014. 
I hear there is at least one guy in Saigon that can get you VN license, but it is a scam and would be a risk if you injured someone seriously.  Be careful.

There is more than 1 guy in Saigon that can get a motorbike license and it’s not a scam.

I legitimately tested for the license and actually have it.
They guy I went through is highly recommended by a lot of people. It’s not a yellow piece of paper
It’s a legit Vietnam motorbike license depicting I’m a US citizen.

Insurance is another story

Foreigners dont get legal never expiring licenses, its all done under the table. The law states that a foreigners license will expire upon their home country license expiring or their visa expiring.

If you take just the driving portion and not the written part then your license expires as the date on your Visa. I took both and is 100% legit license and underneath my picture says
Hang/Class A1
Cỏ giả trị đến/Expires Không thòi hạn

That means expires NEVER

Texan71 :
colinoscapee :
Texan71 :

There is more than 1 guy in Saigon that can get a motorbike license and it’s not a scam.

I legitimately tested for the license and actually have it.
They guy I went through is highly recommended by a lot of people. It’s not a yellow piece of paper
It’s a legit Vietnam motorbike license depicting I’m a US citizen.

Insurance is another story

Foreigners dont get legal never expiring licenses, its all done under the table. The law states that a foreigners license will expire upon their home country license expiring or their visa expiring.

If you take just the driving portion and not the written part then your license expires as the date on your Visa. I took both and is 100% legit license and underneath my picture says
Hang/Class A1
Cỏ giả trị đến/Expires Không thòi hạn

That means expires NEVER

So you did the written test in Vietnamese without any help?

It's now a lot clearer now you have stated you did the driving and theory test. It is still done under the table if someone has assisted you with answering the 150 questions.
If you did this all by yourself, then well done, but I have a feeling the guy you used made it possible using his contacts within the testing center.

So does someone have contact information for getting a license (one that will be accepted in a worst case scenario)? What happens if you kill someone and you have a license? No prison if you are sober? I would assume they would assess who is at fault. Pedestrians are the scariest. They jump out of nowhere and the strategy seems to be not to make eye contact with any motorists so they will be forced to stop and let them cross.

NYSTEACHER :

So does someone have contact information for getting a license (one that will be accepted in a worst case scenario)? What happens if you kill someone and you have a license? No prison if you are sober? I would assume they would assess who is at fault. Pedestrians are the scariest. They jump out of nowhere and the strategy seems to be not to make eye contact with any motorists so they will be forced to stop and let them cross.

They will generally try to blame you either way, if someone speaks up in your defence you may be ok.

Oh boy. Ride and pray.

colinoscapee :
Texan71 :
colinoscapee :

Foreigners dont get legal never expiring licenses, its all done under the table. The law states that a foreigners license will expire upon their home country license expiring or their visa expiring.

If you take just the driving portion and not the written part then your license expires as the date on your Visa. I took both and is 100% legit license and underneath my picture says
Hang/Class A1
Cỏ giả trị đến/Expires Không thòi hạn

That means expires NEVER

So you did the written test in Vietnamese without any help?

It's now a lot clearer now you have stated you did the driving and theory test. It is still done under the table if someone has assisted you with answering the 150 questions.
If you did this all by yourself, then well done, but I have a feeling the guy you used made it possible using his contacts within the testing center.

It was 20 questions, not 150 and I was in a room with other Viets taking the test on the computer. Afterwards, I was instructed to go downstairs and await my name to be called to take the figure 8 driving test. I took the test with hundreds of other Vietnamese watching and congratulate me afternoon I successfully drove the figure 8. I was alotted 4 mistakes on the driving portion on which I was told I made 3 and passed
My license is identical to my Viet wife’s license inverbiage except mine says I am a US citizen and along with my picture name etc but it’s class A1 and never expires

This only alleviates any headaches from yellow police provided I have the proper insurance but as noted if I injure someone or not even injure somebody while driving the motorbike then I will be at fault and expected to pay something

When I first got to Vietnam in my 5 month stay, I borrowed my wife motorbike to go to Big C for food. On the way back a Viet guy purposely cut in front of me on a loose gravel road so as to make it an accident where I hit him but I saw through it and crashed to the ground instead. I think I suffered a hairline fracture in my arm but even though I didn’t hit anyone and only hurt myself and some small damage to the motorbike, I was swarmed by Viets on other motorbikes or who were out in front of their shops. So yes, be warned that even having a motorbikes license as a foreigner may not get you  out of any trouble if you hit someone and lucky for me I only suffered slight embarrassment and a painful injury for about 2 months.

Looking back, it could have been a whole lot worse

By the way, my wife makes fun of me because she paid 200,000 VND for her license and I had to pay 2,6 mil for mine...so if you want a legit drivers license it will cost you but I’ll never have to worry about police if I am stopped unless I legitimately did something wrong while driving.

NYSTEACHER :

Oh boy. Ride and pray.

A lot of foreigners drive motorbikes...do you need a motorbike license and yes you should except a lot don’t so as mentioned, a lot of the police in yellow uniforms know this and it’s a money opportunity for them. They will ask for one million..:as someone else stated pull out wallet with 200.000 VND or pay 500.000VND whatever you feel. If not, they will take your motorbike and the prettier your motorbike, the higher chance for a foreigner to be stopped.

There are a few places to rent motorbikes as well. I rented one from a legit business in district 2 that I don’t want to seem like I am marketing them but I got a Honda Airblade for about 1.5 mil a month because my wife’s motorbike was very old and I didn’t like the way it handled. You can send me a pm if you want know name of a good place to rent a motorbike.

Currently, they have suspended licenses for foreigners, due that jackass who was riding drunk, and killed a woman.

GuidoVN :

Currently, they have suspended licenses for foreigners, due that jackass who was riding drunk, and killed a woman.

My Viet wife knows that story and she showed it to me on her phone.
That man did not have a VN motorbike license and he was drunk and hit and older lady on a bike in January 2018. He had to pay that family 200 million VND and he is still in jail there.
I got my motorbike license in January 2019 1 year later

Texan71 :

It was 20 questions, not 150 and I was in a room with other Viets taking the test on the computer. Afterwards, I was instructed to go downstairs and await my name to be called to take the figure 8 driving test.

Based on the above may we assume that you read and understand Vietnamese?

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