Time to cruise the streets of Singapore: How to get your driving license

Have you been itching to get out of your serviced apartment and into a car to just cruise? Well, you’ll need a license here to do that, so here’s how.

First, if you’re here for less than 12 months, a foreign driving license works just fine (you also have to be above the age of 18). If the license is not in English and does not come with an official English translation of it, you’ll need to get an International Driving Permit from the official body of your country of origin.

Converting your license.

For expats staying here for more than 12 months, you’ll need to either convert your license or get a fresh Singapore driving license. Converting is pretty easy, pass a Basic Theory Test (BTT) and apply to convert your license. You can apply for the test at these three driving centres:

Bukit Batok Driving Centre
815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5, Singapore 659085
Telephone: 1800 666 8888

ComfortDelGro Driving Centre
205 Ubi Ave 4, Singapore 408805
Telephone: 6841 8900, 6848 0617  

Singapore Safety Driving Centre
2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387
Telephone: 6482 6060

After passing the test, you can apply for conversion at the centre itself.

Learning from scratch.

If you’ve not gotten a license, there are two ways to go about doing it. You can register as a student in a driving centre, or as a private student, with a private instructor.

License classes.

Class 1 

Invalid Carriages.
Class 2B

Motorcycles not exceeding 200 cc.

Class 2A Motorcycles 201 cc – 400 cc.
Class 2 Motorcycles exceeding 400 cc.
Class 3A

(a) Motor Cars without clutch pedals of unladen weight not exceeding 3000 kg with not more than 7 passengers exclusive of the driver; and

(b) Motor tractors and other motor vehicles without clutch pedals of unladen weight not exceeding 2,500 kg.

Class 3

      

(a) Motorcars of unladen weight not exceeding 3,000 kg with not more than 7 passengers, exclusive of the driver; and

(b)Motor tractors and other motor vehicles of an unladen weight not exceeding 2,500 kg.

Class 4A Omnibus
Class 4

          

Heavy motor vehicles of unladen weight exceeding 2,500 kg which are constructed to carry load or passengers.

Class 5

  

Heavy motor vehicles not constructed to carry any load and the unladen weight exceeds 7,250 kg.

Table taken from the Singapore Police Force

The tests.

There are three tests that a potential driver needs to pass to obtain the license: the Basic Theory Test (BTT), the Final Theory Test (FTT) and the Practical Driving Test. If you’re riding a motorcycle, you’ll have to pass the Riding Theory Test.

For the theory tests, books can be purchased to study for the test at driving centres, and you can find practice tests online. A minimum score of 45 (out of 50) is required to pass the test.

You have to take the BTT first, before even stepping into a car for practice. After passing the BTT, you’ll have to apply for a Provisional Driving License (PDL). And to apply for the PDL you have to pass an eye test (which you can take in the driving centre itself), so if you have a vision impairment, don’t forget your glasses or contacts! You can take the FTT anytime after passing the BTT.

You’ll take a series of lessons in a car, in the school’s circuit and on the road. Book a Practical Driving Test and if you pass – you get your license.

Some useful tips.

  • Always check your blind spots. Testers are very particular about this.
  • Stick close to the speed limit. The general advice might be to drive slowly but drive too slowly and you might get penalised. 
  • Signal and make your lane changes early.
  • What the instructor looks out for the most is that you are a safe driver, so always drive as safely as possible.

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