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Thailand Drivers' Licenses to Be Upgraded for ASEAN-Wide Usage

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, we're going to be discussing driving licenses. We've discussed it at length in other videos on this channel. I suggest checking that out but it would appear that the “paper licenses” they've been using to this point are going to be phased out and they're going to be facing in new driving licenses with an eye toward sort of ASEAN usage of a Thai driver's license. To quote directly from the nation's website that's www.nationmultimedia.com, this was an article published on August 15, 2017. The title of the article is “New smart driving licenses to be valid across ASEAN.”

Quoting directly, “Thailand’s paper driving licenses will be replaced with smart cards starting on September 4th, the Land Transport Department has announced. The new licenses will be embedded with magnetic strips or QR codes to improve security to prevent frauds.” To quote further, “Names on the smart card will be spelled in both Thai and English so they can be used to drive legally in any ASEAN country. An officer at the department said they would stop issuing paper driving licenses on August the 15th.”

A couple of things here. There's an old driving license, really old paper driving license that's truly laminated paper with like an old photo in it. When they upgraded the driving license scheme about it was like nine years ago, 10 years ago, part of what they did is there used to be lifetime driver's licenses and in fact, the old driving license scheme used to just basically - you got one driver's license one time and it was issued for a lifetime. They phased that out. I would argue there's a probably good reason to do that because some of it’s like 98 years old can't see the road maybe shouldn't have a lifetime driver's license.

It's probably a good idea to reassess people's ability to drive at certain intervals but that being said, there is like a very old scheme where there are folks that actually have a driver's license that effectively cannot expire unless specifically revoked. Clearly, Thailand is sort of taking the next logical step further with respect to its role in ASEAN which is going ahead and issuing these licenses in such a way that they can be used by Thai nationals who are traveling throughout the region by car. So it's interesting that they've gone ahead, they're going to go ahead and implement these things. With respect to how this is going to impact the processing of driving licenses for foreigners remains to be seen. However if there are new restrictions or new documentation requirements that are added on as a result of this, then we'll probably do another video on this channel just to sort of update about that because from a practical standpoint, it's already rather difficult for a foreigner to get a Thai driving license. And I could see there be circumstances which transpire whereby they add documentation or required documentation associated with a more broadly usable driver's license which could result in further expensive time and resources on the part of the foreign national looking to get a driver's license issued here in Thailand.