Obtaining a Hong Kong driving license is essential for transportation purposes, whether you are a local or have recently planted your roots in this vibrant city. That is why we’re set to guide you through the entire journey of acquiring your own permit.

From fundamental requirements, and examinations to the intricate details stated on the license in Hong Kong, today’s article covers every information you need. Read on to gain valuable insights.

Introduction to Hong Kong driving licenses

Unlike driving licenses in several countries, there are specific features that a driving license in Hong Kong holds. What should you keep in mind? The following takeaways might be able to help you navigate through the basics:

Key points to remember

  • Licenses are mandatory when driving a motor vehicle
  • A driving test is required for most permits
  • Some international drivers licenses can be converted to Hong Kong ones
  • There is no ID photo on the license, thus it needs to be used along with another identity document (e.g. a citizen’s ID, passport, etc.)
  • There are 3 levels of license: learner’s licenses, probationary licenses, and full licenses
  • The license includes the owner’s name, identity number, driving categories, and date of issue.

Hong Kong Driving License Sample

Sample of a Hong Kong driving license (source: Gov.HK)

Types of vehicles that require a driving license

In Hong Kong, a driving license is required to operate various types of vehicles. In particular:

  • Private Cars/ Motorcycles/ Motor Tricycles/ Light Goods Vehicles (Non-commercial)
    • License requirements: Either a probationary or full driving license is required for driving legally on the public road.
    • Validity: The probationary license is valid for 1-1.5 years, while a full license is valid for 10 years.
  • Buses/ Taxis/ Articulated Vehicles/ Special Purposes Vehicles (Commercial):
    • License requirements: A full commercial license is required for driving legally on the public road.
    • Validity: The commercial full driving license is valid for 10 years.

Whether you’re doing business in Hong Kong or simply living your best life here, getting your driver’s license for traveling around is a must. In the following sections, let’s explore how different levels of licenses work and how to apply for driving license with ease.

Learner’s driving license: For driving practices on the road

A learner’s license, as the name implies, is a document used by a driving student during practical driving sessions. This category is further divided into permits for non-commercial vehicles (i.e. private cars, motorcycles, motor tricycles, and light goods vehicles under 5.5 tonnes) and commercial vehicles (e.g. buses, taxis, etc.).

Who can apply for a learner’s license?

For non-commercial vehicle drivers, the learner must be from 18 to 70 years old with a valid ID and proof of address document.

Moreover, if you apply for a motorcycle license, you must complete these additional steps before sending in the application form:

  • Study driving in an eligible designated school or with a private instructor;
  • Pass both the written and basic practical road tests at the school
  • Pass a Competence Test
  • Complete a Road Test appointment

For driving commercial vehicle drivers, the learner shall

  • Be at least 21 and under 70 years old
  • Hold a valid ID and proof of address document
  • Must hold a full license (which we will discuss later on) for driving private cars or light goods vehicles for at least one year prior to applying for the license

Restrictions of the learner’s license

With this kind of license, the driver can only drive on certain public roads at specified times. In addition:

  • You must always carry an L-plate at the front and back of the vehicle
  • The session must be supervised by a qualified driving instructor (except motorcycle/motor tricycle)
  • The vehicle can only carry the instructor, test examiners, and one other learner.

Another restriction is that the learner’s license is only valid for 1 year. However, it can be renewed for longer usage.

Probationary license: Mandatory for non-commercial vehicles

This type of license is specifically for new drivers of private cars, motorcycles, motor tricycles, and light goods vehicles.

Upon completing the compulsory driving tests, you must apply for a probationary license through relevant forms. Why can’t you be granted a full driving license at this point? This is because passing the test remains insufficient to assess your actual driving proficiency.

Consequently, the driver must undergo an extra 12-month probationary period to apply for a full license for that vehicle class.

To apply for a probationary Hong Kong driving license, the applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass the written and basic driving skill test regulated by the government.
  • Submit a TD590 form within 3 years of passing the tests to the Transport Department

Restrictions of the probationary license

Drivers with a probationary license can drive on any public road. However:

  • You must always have a P-plate at the front and back of the vehicle
  • The speed is limited to 70 km/h, despite the road limit
  • You cannot use the right lane on a motorway with more than 3 lanes or more, except when exiting.
  • For motorcycle riders, you must not carry anyone else.

The validity of this license is only 1 year when first applied. It can be renewed by 6 months if the probationary period is not over due to a minor traffic violation. Thus, this license will be canceled immediately in case of a serious road traffic offense.

Full driving license: The ultimate permit for driving in Hong Kong

The full driving license grants the holder the legal authority to operate a motor vehicle without restrictions. By obtaining this document, you are certified to have: fulfilled all the requirements, including passing mandatory exams and, if applicable, going through the probationary period.

Who can apply for a full Hong Kong driving license?

For driving non-commercial vehicles, anyone completing the probationary period explained in the previous section can apply for the relevant full license within 3 years after the completion.

Exceptions for light goods vehicle drivers

Exceptions for light goods vehicle drivers

You can send an application to claim your full license for light goods vehicles without going through the probationary period if you are considered an “experienced driver”. This is when you hold a full driving license for private cars for a minimum of 3 years; or a full license that was issued no more than 2 years after completing the probationary driving period.

For driving commercial vehicles, upon passing the driving tests, you are eligible to apply for a full license. Additionally, this application must be made within 3 years of completing the exams.

Please keep in mind that the validity of a full driving license is 10 years (except when the driver is approaching 70 years of age).

Steps to obtaining a car driving license in Hong Kong

To secure a Hong Kong driving license for private cars, you will need to undergo a rather detailed process that involves several stages. Below is a helpful guide on how to apply for driving license and successfully obtain yours.

Step 1: Check if you’re eligible to drive

Before learning how to drive, take a moment to check if you meet the fundamental requirements. For all types of licenses, you need to be at least 18 years old (or 21 for commercial vehicles) and physically fit to drive.

Every applicant, including one with disabilities, must attend a driving ability assessment before applying for a driving test, so consider every factor carefully with a professional instructor.

Step 2: Enroll in a government-designated driving school

The next step is to take a driving course at a legitimate driving school. In Hong Kong, there are 4 options for designated schools, located respectively in Shatin, Yuen Long, Ap Lei Chau, and Kwun Tong.

Within the typical course, the curriculum covers both theoretical aspects, such as understanding road rules, and safety regulations, and practical skills, including hands-on training behind the wheel.

Step 3: Complete the course and pass the graduation exam

To graduate, you must pass the required tests that simulate the actual exams, including a written and practical driving session in an educational facility. This is when you need to spend time reviewing course material to understand road rules and driving techniques.

Depending on the educational facility, details of the graduation requirements might vary slightly, so make sure you check with the instructor regularly.

Step 4: Obtain the learner’s driving license

Once you’ve completed the required course, the next milestone is obtaining your learner’s driving license to practice driving out on the road.

For driving private cars, you can apply by submitting Form TD555 along with a fee. This application can be delivered in person, by post to the Transport Department’s address, or online through their official website.

If your application is successful, you will receive the physical license by registered post within 10 working days.

Step 5: Sign up for the official driving tests

It is then necessary to schedule the examination and secure the date through an appointment.

During this phase, you also need to submit a TD82 form to the Hong Kong Licensing Office or the Kowloon Licensing Office. This can be done either in person, by your agent, or through online booking.

Online booking sites for Driving Tests in Hong Kong

Online booking sites for Driving Tests in Hong Kong

Don’t hesitate to go through other additional requirements stated on the GovHK’s official website to increase your chances of getting approved. You can also contact the Driving Test Appointment Office at (852) 2771 7723 for any inquiries.

Step 6: Pass the required exams for the license

You’ll need to navigate through a comprehensive set of exams, divided into three parts:

  • Written Test (Part A): You have to answer 20 multiple-choice theoretical questions and get 16 correct answers. The content is based on the “Road Users’ Code” and the time limit is 20 minutes.
  • Intermediate Test (Part B): This is where they test your skills (e.g. parking, turnabout on a narrow road stopping, starting on a slope, etc.) in a designated area.
  • Road Test (Part C): You will be driving on an actual road so your on-road skills can be evaluated. Part B and Part C can, at times, be combined as one practical exam.

Immediately after the test, the original Driving Test Form, including the result and mistakes, will be endorsed. It will then be retained by the Duty Driving Test Centre Officer. The candidate will receive a duplicate of the form called the “yellow copy”.

Note that the results must be verified by the Transport Department to become valid.

Step 7: Apply for your driving license

How to apply for driving license upon passing the test? In the case of private cars, you must opt for a probationary driving license within 3 years; or retake the tests. This license is used during a 12-month assessment period to evaluate your practical driving skills.

Once this probationary period is completed with no violations, you are eligible to apply for a full driving license, the final permit to drive legally in Hong Kong.

Both licenses can be applied for by submitting the necessary forms either in person, by post to the Transport Department, or conveniently online through the GovHK’s site.

Step 8: Obtain your Hong Kong driving license

The application result takes approximately 4 weeks from the submission. If, after submitting your application via post, drop boxes, or online through GovHK, you haven’t received your license within this timeframe, you should contact 2804 2600 for follow-up assistance.

With a valid full driving license, you can now confidently navigate the roads of Hong Kong without any restrictions. Thus, driving on your own will make budgeting for Hong Kong’s living costs much simpler and more affordable.

Did you know this use of the Hong Kong full driving license?

Did you know this use of the Hong Kong full driving license?

Suppose you plan to drive abroad, you will have to apply for international driving license/permit, which enables individuals to drive legally in over 90 jurisdictions.

Notably, every individual must hold a valid Hong Kong full license and a Hong Kong Identity Card to be deemed an eligible applicant for an international drivers license.

To wrap up

Getting your Hong Kong driving license is undeniably a journey that demands patience, persistence, and keen attention. With lessons to master, tests to pass, and valuable experience to accrue, the process is comprehensive. Despite all the hassle, this license remains the key to making your day-to-day life in Hong Kong much more comfortable.

While our article provides all essential details, make sure to stay updated on the latest guidelines and regulations from official Hong Kong sources.



BBCIncorp is a corporate service provider specializing in incorporation, bank account opening, accounting, and related services for aspiring businesses.

Please note that we do not offer driving lessons or provide services related to attaining Hong Kong driving licenses. For obtaining a driving license in Hong Kong, please contact the appropriate driving school or visit the GovHK Transport Department’s website.

Our expertise lies solely in corporate services, and we appreciate your understanding.

Alternatively, we will be happy to assist with any questions you may have regarding business operations in Hong Kong. To receive timely support, please contact our dedicated team at service@bbcincorp.com!

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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