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Driving in China

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Melbourne, Australia
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Driving in China

A couple of "know it alls" I met at the Changsha airport recently mentioned that they had been driving in China on an international License.

I asked them how that was and they said the car rental guys fixed it for them.

i informed them that is not allowed and you need to have a Chinese License.

I referred them to our site and also to some websites.

I have checked and double checked with my Son who works for the local Kai Fu Governemnt in Chnagsha and with the local police station in Kai Fu, Changsha and was informed it is illegal for anyone / foreigner to drive in any part of China without a valid Chinese driving liocense.

My message to all TAers is that please check and double check before you go and think you can drive yourself, because you can not unless you hold a Chinese driving License.

Please Taers if i am wrong will you advise me. I am sure the ruling has not changed rtecently. has it?

Do the right thing please.

There are many many professional and experienced drivers with their cars to help you and drive you around mostly stress free and very reasonable prices.

Take care

Kind regards

Albon

http://china-driver-license.com/

Edited: 25 March 2012, 22:12
Sherbrooke, Canada
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1. Re: Driving in China

You are right Albon. But there is always someone willing to do something for the right amount of money. I wonder what these people will do if they get in an accident. The car rental company is taking quite a chance. In Beijing the penalty for driving without a license is that they will seize the car.

I did read about one car company who was able to "arrange" a Chinese drivers license on the spot. I checked their website and it said that they were able to do this because they have some special relationship, meaning they pay off someone so it is still illegal. Tourists cannot obtain a drivers license in China unless they actually live here and do the test plus the paperwork.

Serious car rental companies will certainly not do that. I have my Chinese driver's license and even then I could not rent from Hertz because they also required one year of driving experience in China which I did not have at that time.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Driving in China

Thank you for that Jean-Pierre!

I just hope they do not get involved in an accident

Kind regards

Albon

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: Driving in China

I believe it is possible to get a provisional driving licence for 90 days in Beijing.Has anyone any knowledge ?.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Driving in China

My son, daughter and Son in law live in Changsha, Hunan. they are Chinese Nationals, Born and Bred in Changsha.

I have lived there for a very long time as with in Melbourne.

I am not Chinese, I am British /American/ Australian.

I have checked thoroughly and I can not see anywhere where I can secure any form of Driving licence legally.

Please read the interesting comments here under Jean-Pierre.

It would be great to be able to drive there LEGALLY.

Any help guys truly welcomed.

Albon

Dublin, California
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5. Re: Driving in China

As JP says, there is always someone, with the right amount of money...

In terms of accidents, Chinese seldom wants to involve the authorities. So usually it's a cash arrangement between the parties. If you are interested in this, read "Country Driving" by Peter Hessler (MacArthur Genius Award winner). He did have a Chinese driving license.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Driving in China

Thank you!

Albon

Manchester, United...
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7. Re: Driving in China

Have you read the Wikitraval "Driving in China" page.Any comments

Shanghai, China
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8. Re: Driving in China

Just read the Wiki article...The US State dept clearly says:

"You may not drive in China using your U.S. driver’s license or an international license. If you have a resident permit, you can apply for a PRC driver’s license, although regulations for obtaining a license vary from province to province. Liability issues and the difficulty of passing the driver’s test may make it preferable to employ a local driver. "

…state.gov/travel/…traffic_safety

Every expat here knows someone who heard from a friend that their friends got a temporary license at the airport but in my 8 years here I have never actually met one showing that to me. And I met a lot of people.

So this here is quite interesting and explains why I have never seen it:

"The Temporary License

Those on tourist or business visas can get a temporary license for a max. 90 days. One tricky thing is that if you want this kind of license, your tourism or business visa must not be longer than 90 days. Else they won't approve the license application. (3)

This new policy is supposed to apply nationally, but try and get one in any city but Beijing, and you're likely to be greeted by blank stares. Some cities require that the temporary license be applied for by a travel agency on your behalf. That may be no bad thing for you because at least a travel agency can help you get through the thicket of the regulations. (3)

Applying for the temporary driving license requires the same process as the permanent license.

Why so difficult?

Schindler suspects the main reason is that China's car insurance industry and law enforcement and resolution mechanisms are ‘still under development'. If you do end up in a traffic accident, it will be a mess to extricate yourself. Ironically, in the biggest and most modern cities – Shanghai and Beijing – where the driving is not much fun, accident matters are handled fairly swiftly and according to the rule of law. In rural areas where the driving is fun, accidents, even small ones, can be a nightmare. So, drive carefully!"

shanghaiexpat.com/article/driving-china-part…

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Driving in China

Hi Guys

Thank you all very much for your contributions. The info now received is of great help.

Thank you all again.

I will also share it with my Son in Changsha because sometimes governments in one province ar alittle different from others. Like in Australia!

Wherever you are if you are driving, then please drive carefully

Kind regards

Albon

Edited: 10 April 2012, 22:04
Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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10. Re: Driving in China

I have many friends, German, French, Canadian & American mostly who drive happily & legally in Zhuhai. One has even completed a trip across China. However they are all on long-term visas, either Z or L. I suspect it helps if you are used to driving on the "right" (ie "wrong") side of the road!!