DRIVING LICENSE

If you have a recognized foreign driving license, you can have a Cambodian driving license without having to take a driving test.

 

An International Driving license is not accepted in Cambodia.

 

You need the following :

Original, current driving license with photo ID

 

Current Address Certificate

 

2 Passport photos - you should have 4 in case ....

 

The fee -  31,000 Riel ( $7.75 )

 

Health Certificate - if you are over 60

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what a Current Address Certificate looks like

 

 

 

You must have this document - however, it is not easy to get ...

First you have to show your Tenancy Agreement to the District Office. The Tenancy agreement must be signed and stamped by firstly the Head of the Village and secondly by the District Officer.

 

This is my tenancy agreement

 

 

 

Most important are the red thumbprints and the stamps and signatures


This is my Health Certificate

 

 

 I got it from the local hospital for $11.25
Only a blood test is required - no other examinations of any kind and no eye test.
Blood Test specifics

 

 They check cell count, glucose, HIV and Hepatitis B & C only - I passed !!!

Outside view of Driving License Department

 

It opens at 7.30 am - don't be late !

The address of the Transport Office is

Street 598 ( Chea Sophara Street )

Sangkat Chrang

Chamreh Pir

Russai Keo District

It is in Tuol Kork - a long way from the centre of Phnom Penh

My Driving License

 

First I renewed my 12 month visa and then, armed with my new visa, I went to 'Lucky Lucky' a motorbike shop that does driving licenses. They had previously told me on the phone that a driving license would take two weeks and cost $60, but at the shop they told me I must do everything myself now because of new regulations. This sounded a bit daunting.

Anyway I went to the Transport office which is on the outskirts of Phnom Penh at street 598. The office staff are very helpful and said it only takes a day, but I must have a Current Address Certificate and a Health Certificate because I am over 60. The address certificate meant a trip back to Kratie and I obtained the rental agreement from the apartment owners. Then a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to find the head of the village and the head of the commune and the district office and the provincial office to get everything signed. After wasting a complete day between the Administrative Office, the District Office and the Provincial Hall, I found out that the rental agreement didn't have the apartment owners' fingerprints – signatures are not used, only thumbprints in red ink – and my nationality was listed as ' Irish' (!) ( UK Passports are titled ' UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND ' which they had abbreviated to IRELAND ) Also the rental agreement had to be signed by the Head of the Village before the District Office would do anything. I asked the secretary to write down the address of the Village Head – of course this is Cambodia and there are no addresses, she just wrote down the name of the Temple near me and it turned out to be an expensive house on a dirt road behind the Temple – no road name, no numbers, no sign on the house. Even locals don't know about it.

The District Officer doesn't start work before 2pm on Fridays and I was told to come back then for the next round of rubber-stamping. ( He finishes at 5 pm ! ) However, he had not arrived by 2 O'clock, maybe he would come at 3 ? The school administrator had taken me there, and so, to save time, he took me to the Hospital for a Health Certificate.

I had asked at a nearby Doctor's Office in the morning about a Health Certificate, but he said he cannot do it – he also spoke absolutely no English.

At the Hospital, all that is required is a blood test – no need for an examination of any kind : no blood pressure, stethoscope examination of lungs, pulse, reflexes or eye-test. The blood test and certificate costs $11.25 and I was told to go to a room with a sign saying 'PHARMACY.'

I was surprised to see the same Doctor I had met in the morning – the one who just said he cannot do it – and it turns out that he is in charge of the blood- testing department for Health Certificates ! Why he could not have told me in the morning to go to the Hospital and he would do it there, I do not know.

Anyway, the Hospital is surprisingly modern with automated blood analyzers and the results were ready in a few minutes. My blood is normal – they test for cell-count, glucose, HIV and Hepatitis B & C only. Negative for HIV and Hepatitis. The result forms are printed in Khmer, but the test results are always written in FRENCH – never English or Khmer. After rubber-stamping at various departments, I now had a usable Health Certificate and so we went back to the District office to collect the stamped tenancy agreement.

However, the final stamp was not there and we were told to go to a local Kindergarten (!) to get it stamped. The Kindergarten is also the Polling Office for Elections and the official works there compiling voters' lists. It was now 4.30 and the office closes at 5.00. She rubber-stamped it and charged me $7.50. Then back to the District Office to get a blank Current Address Certificate – and they told us to go back to the Head of Village and get it signed and stamped before they would process it. He was not very happy about this form as it was supposed to be for Cambodian Nationals only. He said there should be a form printed in English for foreigners. There isn't. I was shown the very same form at the Transport Office in Phnom Penh – with it filled out in Chinese for a Chinese National – and they said this is the form I must have.

However, he signed and stamped it. Back to the District Office. It was now 4.50. No problem now, Right ? The District Officer didn't want to sign it – he said he wanted to 'consider it first.' Could I come back on Monday and maybe he would have an answer ? I said I would be in Phnom Penh on Monday and couldn't he do it now ? His colleague had no problems charging me and, if he needed money, he would have asked for it then. It turned out that he had not been in his job long and I was the first foreigner to ever ask for a Current Address Certificate. It also needed my Mother and Father's name ( why ? ) He then asked lots of questions about where I worked, and where I lived. Remember, he was the official who had signed and stamped the Tenancy Agreement as being genuine and correct and the Current Address Certificate is simply a document certifying that the Tenancy Agreement is genuine and correct!

I called my friend to help and he explained that I worked at his Brother's school ( the term Brother is used quite loosely in Cambodia ) His 'Brother' runs 5 schools and is also a high-ranking official in the Education Department – very well-known. The name-dropping did the trick and the document was signed and stamped immediately at no charge.

However, it still needed his colleague's signature and it was now 5.00. She was about to go home, but signed and stamped it – for another $2.50 !

Two hectic days – but everything is finished now. All this is the reason why many Cambodians don't bother with a driving license – they just pay the fine ( bribe ) to the police if and when they are stopped.

International Driving Licenses are not recognized in Cambodia and a Current Address Certificate cannot be issued if you are staying in a hotel – but there are HERTZ and AVIS rent-a-car offices in Phnom Penh for foreigners ? Must be for ex-pats, not for tourists ? Also car insurance is invalid if you don't have a Cambodian Driving License.

If you don't have a recognized foreign driving license, you must take a driving test – which man fail the first time. There is an interactive, computerized part of the test in English and I don't know about the road test – if there is one (?) If you pass the test, the driving license is then valid for ten years – otherwise you have to renew it every year.


I was told on two separate occasions that I could not have a Cambodian driving license because I am over 60 – firstly by the boss of the school and secondly at the hospital – this is obviously not true : at the driving-license center they issue licenses to Chinese who are well over 80. The boss also told me that foreigners cannot own a car in Cambodia! I don't know where they get their ideas from ? ( The procedure for foreigners buying a car are easy to find on the Internet.)

In addition, I was told that the Current Address Certificate would not be valid because I am not Cambodian – It is quite OK.

Despite all the negativity, I went to the Transport Office with my new documents at about 9 am. You need a photocopy of your original driving license – both sides, side-by-side – and a copy of your passport and visa. ( I think it must be a 12 month visa ) I didn't have copies, but there is a photocopier in the next building for 500 riel a go. You also need two passport photos. All documents are scrutinized at least five times – at three desks and in two small offices – each time they acquire more signatures as you go from one place to another.

The only question I was asked was by a woman – she was muttering about why an eye test was not recorded on the Health Certificate ( I never had one ! ) However, I said it was already done and that satisfied her !

Then you pay the fee ( 31,000 Riel or $7.75 ) at a 'Wing' money transfer office across the street and show the receipt. After a 5 minute wait the driving license is ready – very efficient.

I showed it to the motorbike-taxi driver and asked him if he had one – he didn't, but they are not needed for motorbikes under 125cc. He also smelt strongly of whisky and it was only 10 am by that time !

When you have to re-new the driving license after one year ( only valid for 1 year for foreigners ) you could go to the Transport Office, but far better  is to go to Aeon Mall 1 or 2. I went to Aeon Mall 2 and there is a renewal office on the second floor.

It is very modern and efficient.

  • First you take a number and wait.
  • Only counter 3 serves foreigners.
  • Make photocopies there - 2,000 riel ( 50 ¢ ) - Passport, Visa, Old Cambodian license and valid foreign license.
  • Take photo in booth there - comb and mirror provided to look nice !
  • Pay 10,000 riel ( $2.50 ) for photo and eye-sight test - the last row of numbers was VERY small and I could barely make them out with glasses, but I passed !
  • Pay 30,000 riel ( $7.50 ) at desk opposite photo booth and collect receipt.
  • They ask you height and weight
  • Wait a bit and sign for new driving license - no other documents required - easy !