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Can I Drive in Taiwan With My Singapore Driving License?

Goh Jun Cheng

With close transport links between Singapore and Taiwan, some Singaporean drivers may wonder if their Singapore driving licenses allow them to legally drive in Taiwan. What are the license requirements for Singaporean motorists driving in Taiwan?

This article examines cross-country driving license validity between Singapore and Taiwan.

Singapore Driving Licenses for Citizens and PRs

In Singapore, driver’s licenses are administered by the Traffic Police division of the Singapore Police Force.

Licenses are issued to:

  • Singapore Citizens
  • Permanent Residents (PRs)
  • Foreigners residing in Singapore

Key license classes include:

  • Class 3 for cars and light vehicles
  • Class 2 for medium-sized goods vehicles and buses
  • Class 1 for large vehicles like heavy trucks

New Licenses Have 2-Year Validity

Since 2020, Singapore has issued new driving licenses with a shortened 2-year validity period, down from the previous 5 years.

Thereafter, licenses require renewal every 10 years up to age 60, then every 5 years for 60-70 and every 3 years for over 70.

The renewal process is simple with online applications or touchscreen kiosks. Eyesight and basic theory tests are needed for elderly renewals.

Reciprocal License Arrangements

Singapore has reciprocal license agreements with some countries like Malaysia, allowing driving on either country’s license.

But many other countries do not recognize Singapore licenses for direct driving privileges. Local licenses or International Driving Permits (IDP) become necessary.

Taiwan is one such country without reciprocity with Singapore’s licenses.

International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a globally recognized travel document that serves as an official translation of the driver’s home license. It facilitates driving abroad.

IDPs are endorsed by Singapore’s Automobile Association but issuance requires a valid Singapore driving license first.

IDPs are recognized in over 70 countries including Taiwan but temporary and only valid when accompanied by the original home driver’s license.

Using Singapore License in Taiwan

Singapore licenses whether Class 3, 2 or 1 are not directly valid for driving in Taiwan.

Foreign nationals including Singaporeans must secure a local Taiwan license before driving legally.

Attempting to drive in Taiwan on just a Singapore driving license risks rejected insurance claims and penalties if stopped by police.

Obtaining Taiwan Driving License

To drive in Taiwan, Singaporeans need to pass Taiwan’s license test and obtain a local Taiwan license.

The test comprises a computer theory exam and practical driving test. Questions are available in English.

Applicants need supporting documents like passport, existing driving record and Taiwanese residential address proof.

Those proficient in Mandarin can take the test after only 3 months residency but others require 6 months.

License Conversion Option

Taiwan also offers an option to convert a foreign driving license to a Taiwan license.

Eligible license holders can submit an application, supporting documents and minimum residency proofs to convert their overseas license.

This avoids re-taking the full driving test. But only certain recognized foreign licenses qualify for conversion.

Unfortunately, Singapore licenses do not qualify for direct conversion to a Taiwan license. Taking the Taiwan test remains necessary.

International Driving Permit Insufficient

An International Driving Permit (IDP) alone without getting a formal Taiwan license is also insufficient for long-term residency and driving.

IDPs are designed for tourists on temporary short visits, not residents.

Strictly using an IDP in Taiwan beyond 30 days on Singapore license risks fines for illegal driving.

Renting Vehicles in Taiwan

Renting a vehicle as a tourist in Taiwan using an International Driving Permit is possible short-term.

But Singapore residents in Taiwan are advised to obtain proper local Taiwan licenses first before driving or renting cars for everyday use.

Conclusion

In summary, Singapore licenses cannot be used directly in Taiwan. Converting or taking the local license test is necessary for compliance, safety and insurance validity. Singaporeans planning to drive frequently in Taiwan should promptly apply for Taiwan licenses.

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