Getting Driving Licence in Singapore

Complete Guide to Getting Driving Licence

Types of Driving Licence

A person can apply for three types of driving licence in Singapore. They are:

  • Provisional driving licence (PDL): A provisional driving licence will be given to you after you have successfully cleared the Basic Theory Test (BTT). Before you can enrol for any of the three authorised driving schools in Singapore for learning how to drive, you’ll need to have this licence. This validity of a PDL will expire every six months and will have to be renewed till you become a holder of a full licence. You may not be allowed to drive through some busy thoroughfares in Singapore with this licence.
  • Qualified driving licence (QDL): To qualify as a driver in Singapore, you’ll need to possess a qualified driving licence (QDL). This can only be obtained by successfully clearing the practical driving test. You’ll initially be on probation for one year. A full driving licence is valid for life in Singapore.
  • Vocational driving licence: Depending on your vocation, you may need to apply for a vocational driving licence in Singapore if you wish to drive commercial vehicles. For foreign applicants, the kind of employment pass or work permit you have will determine whether you’re eligible for a vocational driving licence or not. A holder of S-pass or work permit, who wishes to drive a Class 3A/3CA kind of vehicle, can do so only after successful conversion of their foreign driving licence. Following are the vocational driving licence options available:
    • Omnibus driver’s vocational licence for those driving omnibuses with a public transport operator in Singapore.
    • General bus driver’s vocational licence, available to those who drive school buses, excursion buses and private hire buses.
    • To drive a private hire vehicle as a chauffeur, you’ll need to be a holder of the private hire car driver’s provisional licence.
    • To drive a taxi in Singapore, you’ll need a taxi driver’s vocational licence.
    • If you wish to be an attendant on a school bus, you’ll need to apply for a bus attendant’s vocational licence.

Except for an omnibus driver’s vocational licence, the other vocational driving licences expire every three years.

Driving Licence Categories

Your driving licence is categorised by the class of vehicles you’re permitted to drive with it. The classes are as follows:

  • Class 1: This licence is needed for driving vehicles meant for the physically disabled.
  • Class 2B: This is for riding motorcycles not exceeding 200cc.
  • Class 2A: This is for riding motorcycles in the range of 201cc to 400cc.
  • Class 2: This is for motorcycles above 400cc.
  • Class 3A: These licences are necessary for driving vehicles without clutches. The following are the subclasses:
    • A car that has an unladen weight of not over 3,000kg and with seating arrangement for seven excluding the driver.
    • Tractors and other vehicles that have an unladen weight of not more than 2,500kg
  • Class 3: This class consists of vehicles with clutches. The subclasses are as follows:
    • Cars with unladen weight that is not over 3,000kg and seats seven people excluding the driver.
    • Motor tractors or other vehicle that do not weigh more than 2,500kg.
  • Class 4A: This class includes omnibuses.
  • Class 4: Heavy motor vehicles with empty weight of over 2,500kg, designed to carry passengers and load will be included in Class 4.
  • Class 5: This class includes all those heavy vehicles which weigh more than 7,250kg and haven’t been designed to carry load.

What is the Cost of a Driving Licence in Singapore?

You’ll have to pay a fee of S$50 along with your application package at the counter, if you’re applying for a driving licence for the first time. For subsequent replacements and renewals, you’ll have to pay a fee of S$25 each time. A foreigner looking to renew their licence will have to pay S$50. If you’re a first-time applicant, you can pay by Cashcard or via NETS at your test centre. For replacements and renewals, you can use any of the three payment options:

  • Cash
  • Cashcard
  • NETS

A foreigner applying for renewal of provisional driving licence at the Woodlands Test Centre can do so by paying S$25 by NETS or Cashcard.

Driving Licence Tests

If you want your licence in Singapore, you’ll have to take a slew of tests. You can either apply at one of the authorised test centres or hire a private instructor. If you’re hiring a private instructor, make sure that the person is carrying a valid licence issued by the traffic police of Singapore. The following are some of the driving tests:

  • Basic theory test: This test has been designed to test your basic knowledge of road rules and regulations. This test has to be cleared if you’re planning to apply for your provisional driving licence. You can book a test through a service kiosk or the website of a designated school.
  • Driving lessons: You’re expected to enrol for the structured course designed by one of the professional driving schools in the country. A competent instructor will accompany you at all times to help hone your driving skills.
  • Final theory test: This has been designed to test your knowledge about the right driving techniques, the safety aspects of handling a car and also your basic technical knowledge necessary to operate a car. You’ll have to clear this test before proceeding further. It remains valid for two years from the date of issue and you need to take the practical driving test within this period or you’ll have to reappear for the FTT.
  • Practical driving test: This test is conducted in two parts. A tester appointed by the Singapore Traffic Police will first test your skills and judgement on a driving circuit. After that, you’ll be asked to drive on a public road to check your ability to comply with safety rules and interact properly with the road users.
  • Proficiency test: Once you reach 65 years of age, you have to appear for a proficiency test in addition to successfully clearing medical examinations. Both these factors will be taken into consideration to determine your fitness to undertake driving.

Eligibility for Driving Licence

  • You’ll have to be at least 18 years old or above to be eligible for most categories of licences.
  • If you want to apply for a taxi driver’s vocational licence or a private hire car driver’s vocational licence, you’ll have to be aged 30 years or above and a Singapore citizen with a valid pink NRIC according to the issuing authority website (LTA).
  • For a bus driver’s vocational licence, you’ll have to be at least 21 years in age.
  • According to the current rules governing the application for commercial driving licences (bus and taxi/private hire car), you should mandatorily be a holder of Class 3 driving licence with minimum one year’s experience.
  • To obtain the taxi driver’s vocational license, you need to have a basic knowledge of English (reading and writing) as well. For all of these commercial licenses, you will need to successfully clear a medical examination.

Documents Required

A first-time applicant will have to produce the following documents:

  • Fill in the application form collected from the counter of an authorised test centre after passing the driving test.
  • Provide a medical certificate, wherever applicable.
  • Provide a copy of your NRIC or passport, whichever is relevant.
  • Provide a copy of a colour photograph with a white background.

How to Apply for Driving Licence?

After successfully passing your practical test, you can apply for your driving licence at one of the three traffic-police authorised test centres in Singapore. For foreign licence conversion, you can approach the relevant card issuing authority after clearing your basic theory test. If you’re a foreigner applying for Class 4, 4A, or 5 provisional driving licence (PDL), you’ll have to make yourself present in person at Woodlands Test Centre. If you wish to apply using the eServices available to applicants, you can do so on the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) website using your SingPass account ID. Foreigners looking to renew their PDLs for classes 2B, 3, and 3A can also apply using the online services by producing some mandatory documents.

Foreigners not eligible for SingPass can apply for their PDLs by logging into the dedicated SPF website using their Foreign Identification Number(FIN) and their date of birth.

How to Check Status of a Driving Licence?

You can check the status of your driving licence through the electronic services provided by Singapore Police. You can also see the number of driving classes left and the respective expiry dates through the website.

Driving Licence for Foreigners

If you’re a foreigner who has come on a visit to Singapore for a period not exceeding one year, you won’t have to apply for a local licence. You can drive in Singapore with your foreign licence if it’s in English. If it isn’t, you’ll have to carry an international driving permit (IDP) in addition to your foreign licence. If for some reason, you fail to obtain an IDP from a competent body in your country of origin, you’ll have to furnish an official translation of your foreign licence to the Singapore authorities.

After the first year though, you’ll have to get your foreign licence converted if you want to drive in Singapore. After clearing the basic theory test, you can apply for a provisional driving licence through the SPF’s website. You won’t be allowed to drive without a proper license if your work pass doesn’t mention that you need to drive during the course of your work.

Direct conversion of foreign licenses are only allowed for Classes 2B and 3. Direct conversion of licenses for heavy vehicles isn’t allowed. If you’re a foreigner who falls under the following categories and wishes to apply for or renew their provisional driving license, you’ll have to use your SingPass account details to log into the SPF website:

  • Foreigners with long-term visit passes (LTVP)
  • Holders of employment or personalised employment passes
  • Holders of S-passes
  • Holders of LTVP+ passes
  • Holders of dependent passes

A foreigner applying for Class 4A, 4 or 5 licence must provide the following documents at the verification counter inside the Woodlands Test Centre:

  • Provide your work pass.
  • Provide a letter from your employer showing that you need a licence for a heavy vehicle as you drive for them.
  • Provide proof of possession of Class 3A or 3 licence at the time of application.

How to Renew Your Driving Licence?

A foreigner holding a Singapore driving licence needs to renew it once every five years. You’ll have to renew your photocard driving licence by making yourself physically available at the Ubi Avenue traffic police office. Remember, no reminder letters will be issued. You’ll have to renew it not earlier than one month prior to the date of expiry of your licence.

If you can’t make yourself available during that period due to a valid reason, you’ll have to provide documents to buttress your request. You can’t renew your licence through a proxy. Documents you’ll have to provide for renewal are:

  • Passport.
  • Valid work permit, employment pass, student pass, or any other relevant document providing proof of extension of your stay in Singapore.
  • Provide a passport-size colour photograph with a white background.

How to Get Replacement for Singapore Driving Licence?

Losing or damaging a licence are the two most common reasons for getting a replacement. A declaration has to be signed by the applicant if driving licence is lost and the old licence has to be submitted with the police if it is recovered later. However, you may have to replace your licence under one of the following circumstances, too:

  • Change of name, address or other personal information mentioned on your licence.
  • You gave up your foreign citizenship and have got a Singapore citizenship in which case your driving licence must also reflect the change.

If you are staying in Singapore, you’ll have to be personally present at the Ubi office of the Singapore Traffic Police to collect your replacement licence. A replacement fee of S$25 in Cashcard or NETS has to be paid during replacement. If you’re a citizen or a PR, you’ll have to submit the following documents for replacement of your licence:

  • NRIC or passport.
  • Colour photograph with white background (matt or semi-matt finish is preferable).

Foreigners applying for a licence will have to produce the following documents:

  • Valid work permit or employment pass.
  • Colour photograph with same specifications as above.

Overseas Singaporeans have the option of applying for a replacement through their proxies. If you’re staying abroad, you can get your next of kin to submit the replacement application on your behalf at the Ubi traffic police office by sending them an authorisation letter through fax or email. The following documents have to be furnished at the time of application:

  • Authorisation letter.
  • Copy of NRIC of the applicant.
  • Copy of NRIC of the proxy.
  • Proof of absence of the applicant in Singapore.
  • A recent, passport-size, colour photograph that follows the government specifications. The name and NRIC number of the applicant has to be written on the back of the photograph.

A Singaporean staying abroad may also apply for a replacement licence through the Singapore embassy in the applicant’s country of residence. The following documents are required:

  • Cover letter providing valid reason for application.
  • A copy of the passport.
  • A recent, passport-size, colour photograph with name and NRIC number of the applicant written behind.

In this case, the replacement fee of S$25 has to be made by cheque issued by a Singapore bank or a demand draft (DD) drawn on a foreign bank. The DD has to be made in Singapore dollars and made payable to the Commander Traffic Police.

How to Change Address on Driving Licence?

If you’re planning to notify the authorities about the change of your residential address, you can do so at a police post in your locality or at one of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) centres.

International Driving Permit

If you’re a foreigner who plans to stay in Singapore for less than a year, you can drive only with a valid licence and an international driving permit (IDP) issued by authorities in your country of origin. If the text on your licence is in a language other than English, you’ll have to get it translated from an authorised agency if you don’t possess an IDP.

A citizen from an ASEAN member country may drive in Singapore without IDP if the licence has been issued by relevant authority in the country of origin. An IDP will only be valid when it is accompanied by valid driving licence.

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