How to Obtain a Chinese Driving License for Foreigners Holding a Valid Foreign Driving License?
According to Article 19 of the Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China, whoever drives a motor vehicle shall have lawfully obtained a motor vehicle driving license.
Whoever applies for a motor vehicle driving license shall meet the conditions for driving permission as prescribed by the public security institution under the State Council; after he/she is found upon examination be qualified, the traffic administrative department of the public security organ shall issue a motor vehicle driving license of the corresponding category.
Foreign nationals holding a valid foreign driving license may go to the Vehicle Management Station of the Traffic Police Detachment of Public Security Bureau of Changsha City (长沙市公安局交警支队车管所直属分所)and apply for a Chinese driver’s license.
The following information is based on information published on the official website and answers obtained via phone calls to the Changsha Public Security Bureau Traffic Management Authority. These are the current [March 2019] requirements, but they may change over time so please check for the latest policy before applying.
(a) Motor vehicle driving license application form;
Tips: The application form is provided by the Changsha Traffic Police Detachment, and printed at the business handling window. The applicants need to fill and submit the form on site. There is no English version and a signature is required. To check the specific content, you may download and print the form at the remote information service platform of the Changsha Public Security Bureau Traffic Management Authority.
(b) The Driver Physical Condition Certificate （《机动车驾驶人身体条件证明》）issued by medical institutions that are above the county level;
Tips: The names and addresses of hospitals authorized to issue driver physical examination certificates can be found on the Changsha Traffic Police Detachment official website.
Recommended physical examination institution: Changsha Municipal People’s Government Medical Office of the Changsha NO.4 People’s Hospital
Address: Room 103, No. 2 Office Building of Changsha Municipal People’s Government, No. 218, Yuelu Avenue, Changsha (Inside the office of the Changsha Municipal People’s Government, where certification translation can also be made.)
Office Hour: Monday to Friday: 9:00 am–12:00 am, 13:00 pm–17:00 pm (except statutory holidays)
(c) Valid identification papers and a photocopy. The passport must include the page showing the current visa page;
(d) Foreign driving license and a photocopy;
If the driving license is not in Chinese, it must be accompanied by a certified translation into Chinese.
Tips: Translations must be provided by the provincial and municipal government offices for foreign affairs at one of the following two offices. Bring the passport, including the current visa records to obtain a translation.
Hunan Foreign Affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office
Address: Xianghui Building, No. 12 Shaoshan North Road, Furong District, Changsha City（长沙市芙蓉区韶山北路12号湘汇大厦）
Tel: 0731-88878389; 0731-82219825; 0731-82219830
Changsha Foreign Affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office
Address: Room 515 or 519, No. 1 Office Building of Changsha Municipal People’s Government, No. 218 Yuelu Avenue, Changsha （长沙市岳麓大道218号长沙市政府一办公楼5楼）
Translation Fee: RMB 100-300 per person
(e) The applicant must present four  recent, 1-inch color, bareheaded photos with a white background (25mm×35mm); and,
(f) The applicant must present a currently valid foreigner Residence Permit. These are issued by local police stations.
The applicant must submit the application to the Vehicle Administration Office of the Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau with all the required materials; then obtain and complete a driving test application form at the Business Handling Window; then pay the fees at the Charging Window; then go to Changsha No. 2 Driving Test Center and take Subject 1 test（长沙第二驾考中心：长沙市开福区青竹湖镇天井社区天井路与青竹湖大道路口东北角）; then return to the Vehicle Administration Office with the stamped transcript provided by the Vehicle Administration Office in order to obtain a driving license after passing all the exams.
Office Address: Attached Building of Changsha Traffic Police Buildings, No. 2, Fenglin Yilu, Yuelu District, Changsha City
Office Hour: Monday to Friday: 9:00 am–12:00 am, 13:30 pm–17:30 pm in Summer (July 1 to Sept. 30) (except statutory holidays) ; Monday to Friday: 9:00 am–12:00 am, 13:30 pm–17:30 pm in Winter (Oct.1 to June 30) (except statutory holidays)
Before preparing the required materials, the applicant should go to the Vehicle Management Station of the Traffic Police Detachment of Public Security Bureau of Changsha City and make sure the foreign driving license is valid and if the application is in a proper form. The vehicle management archives system will display the test subjects which are determined according to the foreign driving license status.
An applicant holding a foreign motor vehicle driving license who applies for a motor vehicle driving license shall take the examination on Subject 1. An applicant seeking a motor vehicle driving license for the permitted types of a large bus, tractor, city bus, medium-sized bus, or large freight vehicle shall also take the examination on Subject 3.
Subject 1 examinations papers on driving theory are available in the following languages: Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Spanish, German, Russian, Korean, and Arabic.
Foreign nationals not holding a driver’s license from another country who wish to apply for a Chinese one, must enroll in a driving school and take the Chinese driving license test. To obtain a Chinese driving license, the applicant must: 1. Meet age and heh requirements; 2. attend training according to the laws and regulations and pass an exam on driving theory; 3. attend vehicle driving training and a pass a practical driving test given by the Changsha Public Security Bureau Traffic Management Authority at a prescribed time which must be within three years of making a reservation to take the test.
If the applicant passes all the examinations, a Chinese driving license will be issued after three working days.
For questions, call the Vehicle Administration Office at 0731-96111.