Driving without a valid licence is never a good idea, and you don’t have to look far for a raft of bizarre stories to back this up.
There’s the sales manager, whose job involved test-driving premium cars. All well and good until he crashed the Lamborghini he was driving and fled the scene on Aug 31 last year. He later confessed that he did not even have a valid driving licence or insurance. Needless to say a hefty fine followed, plus a ban from driving anywhere for 2 ½ years.
Perhaps the most extreme case of driving, or rather flying, without a valid licence is the case of the 38-year-old Delhi University graduate who was serving as a captain with IndiGo, a no-frills carrier.
“A rough landing in Goa in January and her tendency to touch down on the nose wheel alerted India’s Directorate-General of Civil Aviation enough to investigate her flying. What turned up was a trail of forged certificates regarding her air navigation and radio aids and instruments skills, all essential credentials.” Ravi Velloor, Straits Times
All this to say that knowing how to legally navigate from A to B, whether in Singapore or is any other country can save you a whole heap of time and trouble.
If you hold a driving licence that was issued outside of Singapore, you should check if you need to convert a foreign driving licence to a Singapore driving licence before you begin driving in Singapore.
Here is our handy guide on how to get it sorted.
If you are a Singapore citizen or PR
If you are a Singapore citizen or permanent resident (PR), you can drive in Singapore only after you obtain a Singapore driving licence. New Singapore citizens and PRs must convert their foreign driving licences within 3 months of obtaining citizenship or PR status.
If you NOT a Singapore citizen or PR
If you are staying in Singapore for a short period, e.g. you hold a short-term social visit pass, you do not need to convert to a Singapore licence to drive in Singapore. To drive, you must possess a valid foreign licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by an authorised body in your own country, e.g. the Automobile Association (AA). If an IDP is not available, an official translation of your foreign licence in English is required.
Drivers from ASEAN member countries only need to possess a valid driving licence issued by their licensing authority in order to drive in Singapore without an IDP.
To continue driving in Singapore after 12 months of staying here (from the date of your last entry into Singapore), you must obtain a valid Singapore driving licence.
How to apply for conversion if you hold a motorcar licence
You can convert your non-Singapore motorcar licence once you pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT), overseas theory test results are not admissible for consideration. Both manual transmission and automatic transmission-type motorcar licences can be converted.
Step 1: Pass the basic theory test (BTT)
To book a BTT test, create an account with any of the three driving centres in Singapore, book in person or online:
Bukit Batok Driving Centre
815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5, Singapore 659085
T: 1800 666 8888
ComfortDelGro Driving Centre
205 Ubi Ave 4, Singapore 408805
T: 6841 8900, 6848 0617
Singapore Safety Driving Centre
2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387
T: 6482 6060
Step 2: Apply for conversion
You must apply for conversion at the Traffic Police Test Centre counter in person. It is important that you check the items you will need to bring at the Government web page.
Additional requirements if you hold a Malaysian driving licence
You must present an extract from Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Malaysia (JPJ), which shows your driving record and licence information. The extract cannot be more than 6 months old.
If you hold a motorcycle licence
You can convert a non-Singapore motorcycle licence into a Class 2B licence (for motorcycles that are 200 cc or less) once you pass the Traffic Police’s Basic Theory Test (BTT), check out the Government requirements here.
When you are moving countries, having a helping hand to settle in is a huge comfort. As is the case in several countries around the world, it is compulsory for vehicle owners in Singapore to have car insurance. At DirectAsia.com you can save by buying a policy to suit you, online. Simple, quick and low-cost. As always, we will do everything we can to help you navigate the road ahead.