According to the Department of Land Transport director-general, Chirute Visalachitra, Thais will be able to obtain permits to drive in more countries from 1st May.
The wider access is thanks to Thailand’s status as a signatory of the 1968 Vienna convention on road traffic and will also prepare the country for the resumption of international tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
From 1st May, international driver’s permits will be issued under the Vienna convention, allowing Thai nationals holding a valid driver’s licence to drive in 84 signatory countries.
The Vienna convention driver’s permit is granted alongside the existing permit issued under the 1949 Geneva convention, which covers 101 countries.
The United Kingdom, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, are among 52 signatories of both conventions, in which case only the Vienna permit will be issued.
The difference is that the Geneva permit is valid for a year, whereas the Vienna one stays valid for up to three years.
Both permits will cost applicants 505 baht.
Mr Visalachitra said Thailand’s entry into the Vienna convention would bring the country’s road safety and driver licensing rules up to international standards.
Overseas visitors who have a valid driver’s licence in their own country and obtain one of the two licences will also be allowed to drive in Thailand. The DLT chief welcomed the rules change, saying Vienna convention permits play an essential role in promoting tourism.
Thais applying for an international driver’s permit under either of the conventions must present various documents to DLT officials and inform them of the countries they plan to drive in.
The documents are a photocopy of their passports, a citizenship ID card, driver’s licence and two 5cm x 5cm photos.