The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Public Security Traffic Management Bureau Vehicle Management Building

Update: If you are looking to drive in China, I’ve put together an ebook called The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Chinese Driver’s License. This guide is a step-by-step walk through of the whole process and it is based upon my personal experience getting my driver’s license in Beijing in the summer of 2010. Click here for the guide.

Today I officially started the process of getting my Chinese driver’s license. I’ve written some before about traffic in Beijing (and honestly there are many many more posts about that coming). I really enjoy my electric scooter, and I don’t have plans right now to buy a car, but several of my friends have recently purchased vehicles and there are times when it would make life some much easier if I could just borrow a car. Fairly often I have to hire a van and driver to help me move things, but I’m kind of a do-it-yourself guy and would prefer to just take care of it on my own.

So I went with a friend the Chinese equivalent of the DMV.  I think it’s called the Motor Vehicle Administration, but on the website it’s the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau and according to the study book that they publish is called other The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Public Security Traffic Management Bureau Vehicle Management. I don’t know what to call it.

We walked into the main hall and tried to figure out where to go. Finally we asked someone who told us to go the Foreign Affairs desk. She pointed at the sign for the toilets. It turns out it was down a tiny hall past the bathrooms and around the corner. There were no sign,s though. At the Foreign Affairs desk, the sign above the counter said “Harmonious Traffic for Beijing, Friendly Beijing Traffic Police.” The guy we spoke to was not particularly friendly or harmonious, but he gave us the necessary paperwork.

Neither of us had all the documents we needed in order to actually set up an appointment, but at least now we know what is required:

  • Passport (with visa valid for at least 3 months)
  • Residence Permit (valid beyond 6 months)
  • Copy of overseas driver’s license
  • Translation of overseas driver’s license (with translators signature and stamp)
  • 4, 1 x 1″ photos with white background
  • Driver’s Physical Exam Certificate from an authorized hospital in Beijing (you will need a photo for this too)
  • Driver’s License Application Form

What you need before you go down to the Motor Vehicle Administration is the Physical Exam Certificate (available at the hospital), the copy of you overseas license and the translation of the license. I was unable to find the translation form for download on their site, so I’ve uploaded a scanned copy here. The Driver’s License Application Form can be filled out when you get there.

That is everything you need to know/have to set up the appointment to take your test. As far as I can tell you will need to make at least two trips. Once you get your appointment set, you should also buy a study book on the second floor of the main hall for 90 RMB. My plan is to get my medical checkup done this Friday and try to go back down there next Monday to set up an appointment for my test, so I will update you all on my progress as I go along.

Address: The Foreign Affairs Department of Beijing Motor Vehicle Administration
No.18 Southeast 4th ring, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100023 (map)
Tel: 86-10-87625150
English Website:

Physical Exam Form

Driver’s License Form

Overseas License Translation Form

  • Kim July 15, 2010, 3:59 PM

    Hi. Saw your blog on getting the driver’s license. Interested to find out how it goes as I’ll be applying for one soon.

  • KB in Beijing July 16, 2010, 2:36 PM

    There’s a APP for this!!


    I’m only playing with the free part, since I’m not planning to test soon, but it matches with everything that everyone has told me about the test.

  • Matt July 17, 2010, 1:15 PM

    Thanks for the app tip, I downloaded the free version this morning. I’ll post an update/review after I’ve used it a bit.

  • Adam September 10, 2010, 12:14 PM

    Where did you get your foreign license translated and stamped with the ‘official seal’ ? Also, how much did it cost?


  • Jimmy December 16, 2010, 11:56 AM

    Thanks for the info, really helpful.
    I just called the BJJTGLJ (admin in charge of traffic) and they said that translation can be done by yourself or a friend without needing official stamp.

  • mattbanker December 22, 2010, 1:46 AM

    Jimmy, thanks for confirming that.

  • JPDM March 30, 2011, 11:41 AM

    Got my driver’s license last year in Beijing and did not have any medical exam.

  • Jen October 10, 2012, 9:26 PM

    So…I hate to say I’ve been here 2 1/2 years and I don’t know what a residence permit is but could you clarify this? Is it just the registration form you get from the PSB when you arrive, is it your visa, or is it a separate permit that you need to apply to before applying for your license?

  • Matt October 11, 2012, 9:04 AM

    It’s the little white form that the PSB gives you when you register at your home address.

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