September – Traffic Safety Month

Time to get a motorbike license

September 1st is the start of the annual Traffic Safety Month in Vietnam.  For Saigon, this means that the traffic police will enforce most of the traffic rules including pulling over foreigners who break the law.  The most common infraction for foreigners will be riding in the left lane.  This is only meant for cars.  In the six years and half years I lived in Vietnam, my two traffic violations were for riding in the left lane meant for cars.

Normally each year the chief, or director, of the traffic police in Saigon will make an announcement in the English news that foreigners will be pulled over for breaking any traffic laws.  He is strong to his word, foreigners find September a bad month, especially tourists.  I know a couple that lost their motorbikes last year AFTER breaking a traffic rule.  I have been okay, I stay in the right lane and do not speed anymore.

This year it looks as if all foreigners will be stopped if they break a rule.  Many tend to just keep going past the police or try to speak English to avoid a fine.  This year, the traffic police will just pull them over.  That makes it opportune time for the traffic police to stop all foreigners since they know most do not have motorbike licenses.

For me, that means I will be better off getting my motorbike license.  I have my work permit and temporary resident card so I might as well become 100% legal in Vietnam.  Luckily the process is quite easy.  For me, I just need to do the following:

For holders of international or national driver’s license eligible of operating automobiles only.

You can obtain a motorcycle driver license after submitting all the documents and passing a driving test for motorcycle.
1. Conditions :
– Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
– Vietnamese Visa must be at least for 3 months.
– Driver license must be legitimate and legible, undamaged, free of defect or modification, and with a valid expiration date.

2. Documents required :
– Application Form (download from our website): Completed and signed form must be stamped at one of these offices : Embassy, Consulate, Government Office, Private Company, Representative Office, etc.
For those who get stamp from a private Company, you must enclose the application with a photocopy of the Investment License if you are an investor, or a photocopy of the Investment License and a photocopy of Work Permit if you are employees.
For those who get stamp from Representative Office (R.O.), you must enclose the application with a photocopy of the Establishment License with your name as Chief of Representative Office if you are Chief of R.O., or a photocopy of the Establishment License and a photocopy of Work Permit if you are not Chief of R.O.
– A photocopy of international or national driver license.
– International or national driver license must be translated into Vietnamese, and notarized by authorized Vietnamese government offices
For popular languages such as : English, French, Korean, Chinese. Japanese… you can do the translation at 47 Le Duan street, district.1
For other languages such as : Dutch, Thai, Spain…, you can do the translation at the Embassy, or Consulate.
– A photocopy of Passport (at the page with your picture and personal information only ).
– A photocopy of valid Visa or permanent Residence Card ( if you have )
– 8 photos ( 3×4 )
– A valid medical certificate. You can do the medical check at the Dept. of Transportation and Public Works ( 63 ly tu trong street, district 1 ) or public hospitals
3. Time for driving test : you will be informed immediately when the application is submitted.
4. Fees : 70.000 VND ( for driving test )
5. Processing time : 10 days ( except saturday and sunday ) from the date you pass driving test.
6. Office accepting documents and test site :
63 Ly Tu Trong street, Ben Nghe ward, district 1
7. Notes :
– All photocopies must be notarized ( certified as an exact and accurate photocopy ) by authorized government office ( 47 Le Duan street, district 1 )
– Applicants must present the original Passport, Visa, Diplomatic ID Card and Driver License… when the application is submitted.
– Applicants who are working for Embassy, Consulate, Diplomatic Representative Offices, or other International Organizations, you are entitled to fee exemption if u can present a diplomatic ID card and an Introduction Letter ( download from the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs )
– If you have both international and national driver license, you’d better check the expiration date first, then choose the one with longer expiration date for vietnamese translation.


The full procedures are listed at this URL:

I hope to have my driver’s license for both a car and motorbike by late next month.  Until then, I will keep wearing my mask and sunglasses to fit in with the Vietnamese riders and obey all the traffic rules.

5 comments on “September – Traffic Safety Month”

    • SaigonNezumi (Kevin)

      I always hate this part of year. A bit stressful on the road for the next 10-12 days. After that they leave the Expats alone.

      Amazing how they keep changing the rules of getting licenses. I know several Expats that did it with the current rules. The issue for most now is time.

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