THE TEMASEK TIMES

News and views from an unique perspective

Foreigners need only pass the Basic Theory driving test to ‘convert’ their driving licences into Singapore ones

Posted by temasektimes on May 19, 2012

While Singaporeans have to fork out over $2,000 dollars to pass two theory driving tests (Basic and Advanced) and a practical driving test, foreigners need only pass the Basic Theory test to automatically ‘convert’ their foreign driving lessons into Singapore ones.

The recent tragic accident at Bugis caused by a PRC driver Ma Chi has raised questions on whether foreigners are adequately trained and equipped to drive on Singapore roads.

In China, the direction of traffic is different from Singapore and their driving tests are not upheld to the same high standards as ours.

According to a Discovery Channel programme, China has one of the highest road fatality rates in the world at 460.5 per 100,000 population. The programme interviewed a 30 year old driving instructor who just conducted a driving test for a 50 year old woman:

“She cannot drive, veering left and right and nervous etc, but I have to pass her out of respect for older people! She is also VERY RICH,” he smiled when asked why he passed her.

Statistics from the Traffic Police reveal that only 1 percent of foreigners in Singapore takes up Singapore’s driving lessons mostly because they are required to do so by their companies.

When interviewed by Channel 8, one PRC man in his 20s Mr Huang opposed the idea of introducing mandatory driving lessons and tests for foreigners:

“It will be very troublesome for us. We come here to work and are required to drive on the roads immediately,” he said.

A Caucasian Richard Baldric tried to learn driving in China and created an ‘instructional video’ on how to pass a practical driving test there.

In a space of 7 minutes you see crazy drivers on the wrong side of the road and others just pull out without looking.

It is crazy! Pedestrians nearly getting run over, cyclists nearly getting hit, people driving on wrong side of road, pulling out into traffic without looking or slowing down!

His conclusion:

“Driving in China is totally insane.”

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20 Responses to “Foreigners need only pass the Basic Theory driving test to ‘convert’ their driving licences into Singapore ones”

  1. MM luvs FTs said

    Previously, they did not even have to pass the Basic Theory Test.

    I think foreigners must have stayed here for at least 6 months before they are allowed to take the test to convert their licences – this is especially important if their country of origin drives on the other side of the road.

    Making everyone do the Practical test may be too onerous – but all should pass the Advanced Theory Test as well.

    • Giraffe said

      I still think a practical test is essential especially if their country of origins drive on left hand drive.Paper test can be easily pass easily (both basic and advance) if you study.

  2. xxx said

    Conversion of Foreign Driving Licence

    General Guidelines

    Any person holding a licence to drive a particular class of motor vehicle by the competent authority of a country other than Singapore, may apply for conversion to a Singapore driving licence to drive the equivalent class of motor vehicle. Licence that is granted automatically without the need of test but on the merit of attaining of another licence will not be converted, example a motorcycle licence granted with class 3 licence without going through a test is practised in countries like Myanmar and France.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Singaporeans and Permanent Residents

    Singaporeans and Permanent Residents may only drive in Singapore with a Singapore licence. They have to seek conversion of their foreign driving licence upon returning to Singapore and upon obtaining PR status respectively.

    Singaporeans and Permanent Residents may convert a foreign driving licence if they can show proof that they have reason to be staying in a foreign country for a period of 1 year or more due to study or work, and have a total stay of 6 months within the one year period.

    New PRs who already have a 5-year Singapore driving licence will have to replace it with a lifetime driving licence that reflects their new NRIC number. Replacement of licence can be done at a fee of $25 at the Traffic Police Department at 10 Ubi Ave 3 S’pore 408865.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Foreigners

    A foreigner above 18 years of age and holding a Work Pass/Dependent Pass/Student Pass may drive in Singapore with a valid class 3, 3A or 2B foreign licence, for a period of not more than 12 months. A Singapore driving licence is required after 12 months. Those on short term social visit may drive with their foreign licence for up to 12 months each time they enter into Singapore. For licence not written in English language, an International Driving Permit or an official translation in English language is required.

    Please note that Work Permit holder is not allowed to drive in the course of work on public roads unless the occupation stated in the Work Permit shows he is employed as a driver.

    For more information on Work Pass restrictions, please visit:- http://www.mom.gov.sg/Documents/services-forms/passes/WPSPassConditions.pdf or you can call MOM at 64385122.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Classes of driving licence that may be converted

    Foreign licence conversion is only granted for class 2B and class 3 qualified driving licences. Learner driving licence may not be converted.

    Those who wish to obtain a class 4 and/or class 5 licence need to go through training and a prescribed practical test before they can obtain the Singapore class 4 or 5 licence. No direct conversion is granted for these heavy vehicle licences.

    Conversion for a higher capacity or open category motorcycle licence is normally not granted unless there are documentary proof of training, testing, ownership of bigger motorcycle and insurance policy indicating that you have gone through proper training and testing regime and have had at least one year riding experience on the road.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Conversion procedure

    In order to convert your foreign licence to a Singapore driving licence, you are required to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT), overseas theory test results are not admissible for consideration.

    You may book for a BTT in person at any of the 3 driving schools. On passing the BTT you may then proceed to apply for conversion at the Traffic Police Driving Test Centre counters in person, with the relevant documents. The 3 Traffic Police Driving Test Centres are co-located with the 3 driving schools. Their addresses are:

    Woodlands Driving Test Centre, level 1, co-located with the Singapore Safety Driving Centre ( http://www.ssdcl.com.sg/ ) at 2, Woodlands Industrial Park E4 Singapore 757387.

    Bukit Batok Driving Test Centre, level 2, co-located with the Bukit Batok Driving Centre (http://www.bbdc.sg ) at 815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5 Singapore 659085.

    Kampong Ubi Test Centre, level 2, co-located with ComfortDelgro Driving Centre (http://www.cdc.com.sg) at 205, Ubi Ave 4 Singapore 408805.

    Please bring along the following documents where applicable, when applying for conversion of licence:

    Original and a photocopy of your passport and NRIC/Entry Permit/Employment Pass/Dependant Pass/Social Visit Pass/Work Permit

    Original and a photocopy of your valid Qualified Foreign Driving Licence

    Processing fee of $50 (Cashcard and NETS payment Only)

    One matt finish passport-size colour photograph with white background, eyes looking straight and both ears and eyebrow visible in the photograph. There should be no headgear worn unless normally worn for religious purpose, and glasses worn should not be tinted.

    For Malaysian licence holders, an extract from JPJ Malaysia showing information of your driving record and licence information (obtained not more than 6 months before date of conversion)

    For Singaporeans and PR studying overseas for one year or more, please produce proof of stay in the country, e.g. educational transcripts or Letter of Acceptance by the educational institution and the relevant student visa in the passport.

    For Singaporeans and PR employed overseas for one year or more, please produce Income Tax Returns or supporting documents from employers and the relevant employment visa in the passport.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Driving licence not in English language

    For a foreign driving licence that is not in English language, you are required to have an International Driving Permit in addition to the foreign driving licence. If an International Driving Permit is not available, an official translation of your driving licence in English is required. You may obtain translation from the relevant Embassy, High Commission, the Singapore Subordinate Court or the Singapore High Court. Translation is not required for licence issued by Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Foreign Driving licence that expires with the expiry of a foreign visa

    If you are a Singaporean or PR who holds a foreign driving licence that expires with the expiry of a foreign visa, you are required to obtain a written extract from the licence issuing authority of the country that your licence was issued. The extract should show the passing date, date of issue of your licence, the class of licence attained and your driving record.

    You have to register for the Basic Theory Test within 3 months from the date you return to Singapore so that your conversion may be granted subsequently.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Additional Documents

    Where the authenticity of a driving licence is in question, you may be asked to produce other documents for further verification. Such documents may include but not limited to International Driving Permit and driving licence extract from the licence issuing authority that issued your licence and endorsed by a notary public.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Drivers of age 65 and above

    If you are 65 years old and above, you need to be certified fit to drive by a Singapore registered medical practitioner. The prescribed form for the medical certification can be obtained at all Traffic Police Driving Test Centre counters. Application for conversion has to be accompanied by a favourable medical report that is complete.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Drivers with special medical condition or physical disability

    If you have an existing medical condition or physical disability that may render you unfit to drive in Singapore under our law, you will be asked to obtain a confirmation of your fitness to drive at any of the hospitals below.

    (1) Alexandra Hospital

    (2) Changi General Hospital

    (3) KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

    (4) National University Hospital

    (5) Singapore National Eye Centre

    (6) Singapore General Hospital

    (7) Tan Tock SengHospital

    (8) National Cancer Centre

    (9) National Dental Centre

    (10) National Heart Centre

    (11) National Neuroscience Institute

    (12) National Skin Centre

    (13) Institute of Mental Health/Woodbridge Hospital

    You may be required to undergo further assessment by our driving testers to confirm that you are fit to drive in Singapore.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Displaying distinguishing mark on vehicle during probation period

    You are required to display the distinguishing mark on your vehicle if the issue date of your foreign driving licence is less than 1 year before the date of your application for conversion. You may stop displaying it after your 1 year probation period from the date of issue of your Singapore driving licence.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Drivers Improvement Points System (DIPS)

    In the form that you submitted during the application for conversion of your foreign licence, you have affirmed that you have been informed that your licence will be revoked if you accumulate more than 12 demerit points within a 12-month period from the date of issue of your Singapore driving licence.

    You will have to sit for all the prescribed driving theory and practical tests one year after the revocation in order to regain a new driving licence.

  3. urbankni9t said

    TOTALLY RIDICULOUS !

    We LOCALS are made to pass the stringent driving tests + spent $thousands to attend countless driving lessons and yet these FOREIGNERS are allowed to drive almost immediately by passing some stupid basic theory ?!

    WTF is this ? WHY THE GLARING DOUBLE-STD ??! WHY ARE WE LOCALS ALWAYS MADE TO SUFFER AT EXPENSE OF FOREIGNERS ?

    Lui Tuck Yew pls explain !

    • AnoAno said

      You must always remember. Natives who don’t wear white clean clothes are always second class citizens. Second class citizens always have a choice. They can choose to remain as second class citizens here or go elsewhere to be second class citizens. Policy is like that. 60.1% opted this kind of second class citizenry and are very contented the way it is. No point you ask for explanation. You get the same answer ALL THE TIME except just before election. Only then you suddenly are part of their inclusive society. Good luck.

    • Zzz said

      Don’t be a retard. The foreigners that are eligible for the conversion must already have a driving license in their countries which also means that they already passed their driving test in their respective countries. How they passed, that will be another story. The driving lessons that you paid for is mainly for you to learn how to operate the vehicle while adhering to the traffic rules. So that is why the foreigners just need to take a theory test to convert their license since they already know how to operate the vehicle. If you are complaining about the money you are paying for it, perhaps that is something the driving center want to look into.

      Conclusion, there are no double standards. So you might want to think more before you type in the future.

      And no, I am not a foreigner, fyi.

  4. no standard said

    In WA Aust, S’pore driving license can convert without taking any test but M’sia driving license has to take test, though both countries are right hand drive similar to Aust.
    If M’sia drivers have to take test, more compelling for left hand drive PRC drivers to take test too.
    S’poreans should realise now how good S’pore govt is in welcoming PRC bus drivers.

  5. KNN said

    In several european countries they have similar requirements too. Some people from certain countries have to go through mandatory resit and meet the satisfactory standards before allowed for direct conversion. We should impose one on China/India given their lack of traffic rules and perceived safety there.

    Secondly did anyone find out where he got his license from (which province/city?), were they legally obtained? A check with SG driving center should also reveal how many years of driving experience he has.

  6. me said

    Truly, a country full of animals.

  7. This double standard is truly sickening. Driving license can be bought in other countries including china and India .

  8. PRO AHTIONG PARTY said

    PAP bends over backwards to please and attract foreigners, often at the expense of the well-being of the citizenry

  9. solaris8899 said

    obviously something is deeply wrong & our lta papa permit this. how come we are made so much steps to obtain our driving license and foreigners can so easy go for theory test and convert their license so easily.

  10. Ken Lee said

    then how did the SBS bus 171 driver pass the test? yellow box, is the most common in Singapore! did they go pass the test or didn’t even need to! have our TP and SBS ever consider this? or have our GOV consider this? road in Singapore are difference left and right hand drive also very difference! left hander and right hander use rifle also difference!
    is it have to die another 30 40 more people then consider if they want to change the system?
    and do F driver ma chi know the in common road, he is no suppose to speed at 180/km?
    even expressway in Singapore speed limited is no more then 100/km?
    or did the SBS driver in senkang the kill a lady know the traffic rule?
    even if your right way you still have to give way to pedestrian!
    or the sbs driver who kill a boy, did he really got go through our driving test?

    • Ken Lee said

      I HAVE POSTED ” VIDEO: Singaporean cabby knocked on doors of bus and hurled vulgarities at PRC driver after near accident at Orchard last night ” Posted by temasektimes on May 18, 2012″ IN SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE FACEBOOK. THIS IS WHAT I GET FOR REPLY.
      Bujang Teruna To provide traffic-related information, please call the Traffic Hotline at 6547 0000 or email it to spf_feedback_tp@spf.gov.sg
      THERE IS VIDEO IN YOUR POST, THAT’S IS A CONCRETE EVIDENT! LOOKS LIKE SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE FACEBOOK ARE THERE FOR FUN ONLY!

  11. nightkids said

    Ha ha ha…….there will be more of Ma Chi’s case in the future……already lots of fatal accident cause by PRC drivers……

    MORE GOOD YEARS AHEAD !!!!!!!

  12. Freemakan said

    never be safe on singapore road,when we allow these suckers(Whom are left hand driver) driving on our road

  13. Henry said

    Sigh! … I was in China with a Singapore Drving Lisence, byt I was told the Singapore DL is not convertible to Chinese roads … But we make it so easy for them to drive on our roads … Perhaps a topic for Transport Ministry to review.

  14. Philip said

    Left hand and right hand driver is totally different. I’d been to China and so confuse about the traffic there…

  15. Kully said

    why are the locals moaning about how much they have to pay to pass the driving test… I am from the U.K and believe me I have to pay just the same amount as you do or maybe more in order to pass my driving test, so why should we made to take the same tests or even a practical test in order to be issued with a license, where is the logic in that?

  16. broad band said

    Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The entire look of your website is fantastic, let alone the content!

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