If you are holding a foreign driving license, you may be required to convert the driving license to Singapore license to drive legally in Singapore.
Of course, there are some exceptions.
This driving in Singapore guide explains who can (and who cannot) use a foreign driving license to drive in Singapore, the requirements and procedures for converting a foreign driving license to Singapore driving license.
Who can use a foreign driving license to drive in Singapore?
Although cars are exceptionally expensive in Singapore, many people are willing to pay the price for conveniences.
Generally speaking, you need a Singapore driving license to drive in Singapore. All Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents MUST have a valid Singapore driving license to drive in Singapore.
But as an internationalized city-state, Singapore does allow a certain group of foreign drivers to use their valid foreign driving license to drive in Singapore. For example,
- Foreign visitors, social visitor pass (SVP) holders, short-term pass holders can use a valid foreign driving license to drive in Singapore.
- Holders of long-term pass including Student Pass (STP), Employment Pass (EP), long-term visit pass (LTVP) and Dependent’s Aass (DP) can use their foreign driving licenses to drive in Singapore for up to 12 months. The 12-month period is calculated from the date of your last entry into Singapore (before getting the pass), NOT from the date of issuance of the Pass.
- Holders of Work Permit (WP) and S-Pass can use their foreign driving licenses to drive in Singapore for up to 6 months. This 6-month period is calculated from the date of issuance of the pass.
Of course, in all cases, the license needs to be valid for the class of vehicle you drive.
When do you need to convert a foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license?
You MUST convert your foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license, if
- You are a foreigner residing in Singapore for more than 12 months. It is NOT necessary to wait for 12 months. You can immediately apply for the conversion after you get the pass with a validity period of longer than 12 months.
- You are a holder of Work Permit (WP) or S-Pass for more than 6 months. Again, you can immediately apply for the conversion after you get the pass/permit with a validity period of longer than 6 months.
- You are a Singapore permeant resident (SPR) or Singapore citizen (Singaporean). For new SPRs or new citizens, you must apply for the conversion foreign driving license to Singapore driving license within 3 months of obtaining SPR/citizenship. You cannot drive in Singapore with your foreign driving license once you obtain SPR or citizenship. For SPRs and citizens returning from overseas, you need to get a Singapore driving license before you can drive in Singapore.
For other foreigners, you are not allowed to convert your license to Singapore one because you can use your foreign license here.
What are the requirements for you to convert to a Singapore driving license?
Some applications for converting a foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license will be rejected if:
- Your pass or work permit will expire within one month.
- You haven’t passed the basic theory test (BTT, read on).
- Your driving license has expired. You will be asked to provide some additional documents.
- There is no date of issuance in your driving license. You will be asked to provide additional documents.
- Your foreign driving license was issued after the date of issuance of your Singapore pass/permit. For example, you got your driving license in your home country during a holiday while you were holding a student pass in Singapore.
- Your foreign driving license was issued by one country when you are a resident of another country. You need to show documents (passport stamps, visas, employment record, academic records, tax returns, bank statement …) to prove that you had lived (studied, worked, or just lived) in the country (who issued the driving license) for 1 year or longer AND you had stayed in that country for a total period of at least 6 months within a period of 12 months.
If your driving license is not in English, you need to have either a valid international driving permit (IDP) or an official translation from your embassy or any Singapore registered translation companies.
How to convert a foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license?
Before you submit the application for conversion of a foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license, you need to pass the basic theory test (BTT).
Basic theory test (BTT) will test your knowledge of the rules and regulations of Singapore roads, the traffic signs, and signals. It will be conducted on the computer in any of the three driving schools (Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC, west), ComfortDelGro Driving Centre Pte Ltd (CDC, east), and Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC, north)).
Although the test is simple and straightforward, you should read the official Basic Theory Handbook, which is free (PDF in 4 languages) on the Singapore Police Force’s Online Learning Portal. You should spend some time on that portal if you are new to Singapore roads.
You need to book the BTT with any of the 3 driving schools and prepare the test. You should book earlier as some slots are very popular.
After you pass the BTT, you need to submit the application to convert your driving license to a Singapore driving license at the Traffic Police Test Centre counter located in any of the driving schools with the following documents:
- Original and a photocopy of your passport and/or NRIC/entry permit, EP/STP/WP/S-Pass/LTVP.
- Original and a photocopy of a valid foreign driving license.
- One passport-sized photo (matte, color, white background, …)
- A non-refundable processing fee of $50 (NO cash; NETS and cashcard only).
- The IDP or English translation of your driving license if it is not in English.
- Supporting documents to prove that your foreign driving license was issued when you were a resident there.
If your driving license was expired, or there is no issuance date, you have to provide other supporting documents. You need to get a list from the officer.
Why some Singapore driving licenses have a validity period, while others don’t?
Currently, a Singapore driving license issued to Singapore permanent residents (SPR) and citizens is valid for a lifetime (subject to medical examinations after 65 years old).
However, a license issued to foreigners will be valid for up to 5 years. You can renew it before it expires.
How long is the BTT (Basic Theory Test) result valid for?
Currently, the result of the Basic Theory Test (BTT) is valid for a lifetime.
It means you only need to pass it once. You can use the result forever. This is the reason why we recommend you to register for the test if you plan to convert your foreign driving license (or want to learn about the main driving rules in Singapore).
Do you know how to convert a foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license now? Do you know the requirements for conversion to a Singapore driving license?
If you have any questions about converting a foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license, please let us know in the comment box below
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For questions on buying a car in Singapore, please check Singapore car ownership guides page.
For questions on driving a car in Singapore, please check Singapore driving guides page.
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Safe driving! Happy driving!