The 2018 guide to getting a driving license in Cambodia

cambodia-driving-license

In order to drive a car in Cambodia as a foreigner, you’ll first need a driving license. Like most things in the country, the law is getting more strict, and the process is getting less logical. To make matters worse, the rules are often changed with zero notice. However, while many drivers (both foreign and local) choose not to get a license, getting caught can result in a fine or worse. As such we recommend getting your Cambodian driver’s license, and we’ve prepared this guide to help you.

NOTE: This guide assumes that you are applying/renewing the standard 1 year license, and have a license from your home country already. If you do not have that, or want to apply for the 10 year license, you’ll need to take the Cambodia driving test. Please contact us for more information on that.

What you will need

  • Driving license from your home country – Make sure you provide the original and a photocopy. If you forget the copy, there is a photocopier at the license center, near the Wing payment booth (see “Getting your driving license” section below). If your license is in a language other than English, you may also be required to supply a translation.
  • Passport with valid visa – Again, you should make sure you have the originals and photocopies.
  • 5 passport photos – Standard white background, it’s usually a good idea to take a couple extra just in case.
  • Residence certificate – Despite conflicting reports, the residence certificate is required even if you are only renewing your license. See the section below for more details.
  • Fee $11.50 for new Cambodian licenses, $10.25 for renewals (there is a $0.25 / 1000 riel processing fee at the Wing booth)

Getting your residence certificate

A Letter of Residence (also known as the Residence Certificate) is required for a Cambodian driving license, regardless of whether you are applying for a new one or renewing an old one. Note that the following is the “standard” process, but it’s highly likely that it may change depending on where you are staying/what Sangkat office you report to. We recommend asking your landlord or another Khmer local to assist you if possible.

1. Go to your local Sangkat office, and ask for a letter of residence. You should be provided with 2 copies of a single page form. If you’re lucky, the Sangkat may complete the forms for you, in which case you can ignore the remaining steps. If the language barrier is an issue, you can show them the image below:

residence-certificate-300x70 The 2018 guide to getting a driving license in Cambodia

2. Take the forms, passport and visa (with photocopies), rental contract and passport photos to the “chief” of the village you are staying in. Your landlord should be able to provide their address and/or contact details. It’s highly advisable you call ahead and arrange a time to meet – the village chief will most likely not have an office as such, so you’ll be meeting in their house, and they may not be there full time (or even that often).

3. The village chief will complete the forms for you. Most of the information they will take from your rental contract and passport, but you may also be required to give your occupation, mother and father’s names, and reason for applying for a residence certificate (in this case, to get a driver’s license).

4. Either you or the village chief then needs to return the Sangkat office to get the forms stamped. They will keep one copy and give the other one to you. The entire process should be free, but allow for a couple of days to get everything completed.

Getting your driving license

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to get your driving license for Cambodia! You’ll need to apply at the General Department Of Public Work and Transport, which is located in the far north of Phnom Penh here. It’s important to note that you cannot use an agent to apply for a license for you like previous years – you must apply for yourself.

The department is closed at weekends, so you’ll need to go during the week, and we recommend arriving before 10am or after 2pm. If you arrive too late in the morning you may have to wait while the staff go to lunch before the process is finished.

1. When you arrive at the entrance, you’ll see two gates side-by-side – enter the left one, following the short road and find a place to park up. The first thing you need to do is get a health checkup. Enter the building that was on the left of the entrance as you arrived (this one specifically), and follow the signs for the physical checkup. Once inside the checkup room, you’ll need to give the staff your documents, after which they’ll ask your height, weight, and give you an eye test. If all goes well, you’ll need to pay them 10,000 riel ($2.50) and give them a passport photo, and they’ll give you the form and receipt in return.

2. Leave the building and head back towards the main entrance, and this time head to the right of the entrance. Keep a lookout on your left for the Driving License office, it should be just passed the Wing payment booth (this is the building). Head to one of the windows and give them your documents. The staff will then check everything and enter your information into the system. This may take a while, potentially up to an hour depending on how busy the office is.

3. Once the check is complete your documents will then be returned to you in a cardboard folder. Head to the Wing booth you passed earlier. Show them your paperwork and they’ll ask for the remaining fee. Once paid, you’ll get a receipt.

4. Return to the driving license office and give them your documents back, along with the Wing receipt. You’ll need to wait around a few more minutes while your license is printed, after which you’ll need to sign a book to confirm that you have collected it. Congratulations, you can now drive legally in Cambodia!

Your license is valid for one year, unless you choose to attempt the driving exam to get a 10 year one. Now you have your Cambodian driving license, it’s time to start looking at cars! Don’t forget to check out Western Motor Garage’s Car Buying Service to help you get the best deal possible. We also have a separate guide for general information you need to know as a car owner in Cambodia.

As mentioned, the rules do change frequently, usually with no warning or official notification. Hopefully, the department will move to a more sensible online renewal process in the future. In the meantime, we’ll try to keep our information as up-to-date as possible. You can also contact us on 092 780 170 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

The 2017 guide to owning a car in Cambodia

owning-a-car-in-cambodia

While many people living in Cambodia choose to get around by motorbike, there’s no doubt that driving a car is the safer option. Despite Phnom Penh’s increasingly heavy traffic, it can also be more convenient.

Foreigners can own a car in Cambodia, but there’s a few things you need. We’ve put together this handy article to let you know how to drive in the Kingdom legally and safely.

 

Driving license

You must have a Cambodian driver’s license to drive in Cambodia, and it will need to be renewed every year. Generally most people choose to apply through an agent. Since this is quite a broad topic in itself we’ve put together a separate article on how to get your license, which you can read here.

Vehicle registration card

This is a small plastic card containing the details of your car. This is very important as it’s the main proof of ownership of the vehicle. You should never buy a car in Cambodia if the seller cannot provide this card. If you’re not sure, get in touch with Western Motor Garage and we can talk to the seller for you. NOTE: As of 2018, if you are stopped by traffic police, they will ask for this card in addition to your license. So make sure to carry it with you in a safe place!

Car tax

All car owners in Cambodia must pay a yearly car tax. Fortunately, this can now be paid at Acleda banks. You’ll need to take your Vehicle registration card and passport with you, fill out a form, and you’ll be told how much you need to pay. Additionally, you can pay a small fee to receive a card from Acleda, which will allow you to bypass the paperwork in future years. Once everything is done you’ll receive a tax sticker which you’ll need to display on your car’s windscreen.

Vehicle inspection certificate

As in other countries, cars in Cambodia need to pass an inspection in order to be driven legally. This needs to be done every two years, and as with car tax, you’ll receive a sticker to display on your windscreen. The main inspection facility is north of Phnom Penh in the Russey Keo District, however if you contact Western Motor Garage we’ll be happy to take your car there for you and assist with any servicing that is required.

Insurance

Yes, many people drive in Cambodia without insurance. No, it’s not a good idea. Accidents occur frequently, especially outside of the major cities. It’s best to make sure you are covered if the worst happens, even if it’s not your fault. Most insurance companies will provide you with an emergency number to contact in the case of an accident. Make sure you shop around for the best deal, or get in touch with Western Motor Garage and we can give you some recommendations.

A reliable garage

No matter how well you take care of your car inevitably things do go wrong, especially in Cambodia where rain, dust, and the road conditions can wear on your vehicle. Most importantly, you’ll need a reliable breakdown service in Cambodia. At Western Motor Garage we understand this, which is why our breakdown service extends to outside of Phnom Penh (callout charges may apply). If the worst should happen and you get stuck somewhere, please call us on 092 780 170 and we’ll send a team out to you asap.

 

So now you know what’s required for owning a car in Cambodia, why not take a look at some of our cars for sale in Phnom Penh? Or if you have a car in mind already, try our car buying service to get the best deal possible. As always, please note that the Cambodian transport ministry changes rules regularly without much warning. Give us a call on 092 780 170, or leave us a message on Line, Facebook, or our website, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Our new garage

moving-garage-6

A few photos of moving from our old location to our new one at House 108B Street 494, Phnom Penh. As you can see the new place has much more space, which will make it easier for us to work on multiple cars. So if you need your car serviced in Phnom Penh, give us a call on 092 780 170 or use the contact page to get in touch.

 

The 2017 guide to getting a driving license in Cambodia

cambodia-driving-license

NOTE: This article is out of date. Please check out our latest guide here!

In order to drive a car in Cambodia, you’ll first need a driving license. While many drivers (both foreign and local) choose not to get a license, getting stopped by the traffic police will result in a fine, and the law is likely to get stricter with each passing year. The good news is if you already have a license from your home country then the process is relatively simple.

Cambodian nationals can renew their licenses for just $10 at the new dedicated center for driver’s licenses opened in Aeon Mall, Phnom Penh, a process which only takes around 30 minutes. Unfortunately for reasons unknown this service is not available to foreigners. This means that as a foreigner the best way to acquire a Cambodian driver’s license is to apply via an agent. Driving schools will usually offer this service – the one located here is a good choice as it has English speaking staff. Some motorbike rental shops may also process foreigner licenses. Our team at Western Motor Garage are available to assist too, so feel free to get in touch if you need our help.

Once you’ve picked an agent to get your Cambodian license, you’ll need to go there with the following:

  • Your driving license from your home country
  • Your passport with valid visa (while most places will have photocopying facilities, it’s a good idea to get a copy of these beforehand, just in case)
  • 5 passport photos – when you have these taken, mention to the staff at the photo shop that they are for a driving license, to make sure you get the correct format
  • $35 + service fees – this will vary between agents, but it’s usually a good idea to take $60 total to make sure you can cover everything

The agent will process your application and will provide you with a receipt/provisional license – be sure to take this with you if you go driving, as it’s the only proof you have that you’re on the road legally until you get your full license. It will usually take around 2 to 3 weeks for your Cambodian driving license to be ready, at which point the agent will call you to go and collect it.

Note that if you would prefer not to deal with an agent, you can apply directly at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport on Norodom Boulevard – this will save you a few dollars on the service fee, but the level of English may be low and the application may be more frustrating.

Licenses for foreigners are only valid for one year – when the time comes to renew it, just bring your Cambodian license back to the same agent and follow the same steps above.

If you don’t have a driving license for your home country but still would like to drive legally in Cambodia, you’ll need to take a driving test. The process is a little more complicated but if you call us on 092 780 170 we’ll be happy to step you through it. Likewise if you would like to apply for the new 10 year licenses that are now being offered.

Now you have your Cambodian driving license, it’s time to start looking at cars! Don’t forget to check out Western Motor Garage’s Car Buying Service to help you get the best deal possible. There are a few other things you’ll need before you can start driving your car legally in Cambodia, and we’ll have a separate article on that soon.

A final note – the Cambodian transport ministry changes laws frequently, often without much warning. While we will keep this article updated as much as possible, you can always contact us on 092 780 170 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Western Motor Garage has moved!

map

Western Motor Garage has moved! We’re now at House 108B Street 494, Phnom Penh – see the map for details or checkout our Contact page.

Our new location, not far from Russian Market, is much more open and spacious, and will allow our team to work on multiple vehicles at once. Once we’re all setup and have the place tidied (as tidy as a car garage can be!) we’ll post some photos. In the meantime, if you have trouble finding us please call 092 780 170.