Getting a Driving Licence & Learner Driver Rules in Singapore
Most of us will have played racing games at some point in our lives, and perhaps thought that we have a knack for driving. But, before you test your skills out on the roads, make sure to obtain a valid Singapore driving licence for the class of vehicle that you want to drive.
In this article, we will focus on the class 3/3A driving licence.
A class 3 driving licence allows you to drive cars with manual transmission while a class 3A driving licence allows you to drive cars with auto transmission.
What are the Legal Requirements for Driving in Singapore?
All Singapore citizens, Permanent Residents (PRs) and foreigners who have lived in Singapore for more than 12 months must possess a valid licence to drive a vehicle in Singapore.
Foreigners who live here for less than 12 months must possess a valid foreign licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP), while foreigners from an ASEAN country only need a valid foreign licence.
If an IDP is not available, you must obtain an official translation of your driving licence in English (see below).
What are the Legal Requirements to Apply for a Driving Licence in Singapore?
You must be at least 18 years of age before you can apply for a driving licence.
When applying for a driving licence, you must declare whether you are suffering from:
- Any prescribed disease or physical disability under the Road Traffic Act (RTA); or
- Any other disease or physical disability which is likely to cause your driving to be a source of danger to the public.
If you are suffering from such diseases or disabilities, you will not be granted a driving licence.
The list of prescribed diseases and physical disabilities include:
- Mental disorders for which the person has been ordered to be placed in a psychiatric institution for treatment
- Being liable to sudden attacks of disabling giddiness or fainting
- Being unable to read vehicle identification marks at a distance of 25 metres (even after wearing spectacles or contact lenses)
- Being unable to distinguish the colours red, amber and green from a distance of 25 metres
You must also declare whether you have been disqualified from holding a licence. This is because, if you have been disqualified from holding a driving licence, you will not be granted one.
You will also not be allowed to obtain a driving licence if you:
- Already have one (regardless of whether it is suspended);
- Have been convicted of an offence under the RTA; or
- Have been barred by a Singapore or Malaysia court from holding one.
How can I Apply for and Obtain a Driving Licence?
To start off, you must enrol into a driving centre or engage a private driving instructor who is licensed by the Traffic Police to conduct driving classes.
The approved driving centres are:
|Driving Centre||Address||Contact number|
|Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC)||815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5 Singapore 659085||6561 1233|
|ComfortDelGro Driving Centre Pte Ltd||205 Ubi Ave 4 Singapore 408805||6841 8900|
|Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC)||2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4
To obtain your driving licence, you will need to pass a test of competence to drive which consists of a Basic Theory Test (BTT), Final Theory Test (FTT) and Practical Driving Test (PDT).
Basic Theory Test (BTT)
Whether you intend to learn driving at the driving centre or with a private instructor, you will need to open an account with a driving centre to book a BTT through the driving centres’ websites or service kiosks. An administrative fee of $5.35 would be charged for opening an account.
You need to bring your identity card and any other document, e.g. BTT notification slip where applicable. The fees payable for taking the BTT is $6.50.
When you register at any of the driving centres to book the BTT, the Traffic Police will conduct an eyesight test for you on the spot.
The BTT tests your knowledge of the traffic rules, traffic signs and signals and general road safety. The BTT consists of 50 questions to be answered within 50 minutes. To pass, you must answer 45 out of the 50 questions correctly.
A copy of the Basic Theory handbook can be found here.
You must pass the BTT before you can take the FTT and PDT. If you pass the BTT, your BTT result is valid for life. If you fail the BTT, you can apply to take the BTT again on the next available timeslot.
Provisional Driving Licence (PDL)
After passing the BTT at any of the driving centres, you can apply for a PDL online, via the Singapore Police Force (SPF) e-service. The PDL is required for you to start learning to drive on public roads and operate a vehicle with your driving instructor.
The PDL is valid for 2 years and can be renewed. The fees payable for each grant or renewal of a PDL is $25.
Final Theory Test (FTT)
Right after you pass the BTT, you can also apply to take the FTT at the driving centres’s self-service kiosk or via its website. Similarly, the fees payable for taking the FTT is $6.50.
The FTT tests your knowledge on proper driving techniques and how to interact with other road users whilst driving. Similarly, the FTT consists of 50 questions to be answered within 50 minutes. To pass, you must answer 45 out of the 50 questions correctly.
A copy of the Final Theory handbook can be found here.
You must pass your FTT before taking the PDT. If you pass the FTT, your FTT result is valid for 2 years. If you fail the FTT, you can apply to take the FTT again.
Practical Driving Test (PDT)
After your FTT, you can apply to take the PDT. The fees payable for a PDT is $33. You must bring along your:
- NRIC/Valid FIN Card;
- Valid PDL;
- Valid Qualified Driving Licence (QDL) (if any); and
- Valid Medical Certificate (if any).
However, prior to booking a PDT, you are advised to take a digital photograph of yourself at the driving centre, such that this photograph will be made available in the system, and you can immediately apply for a QDL (on which your photograph would appear, see below) upon passing your PDT. A photo-taking service fee of $6 is payable.
The PDT is split into two parts. The first part is conducted on a driving circuit and consists of various driving obstacles. The second is conducted on public roads.
The driving tester will assess your performance during the both parts. If you make mistakes during the test, you may be given demerit points. For example, failing to check mirrors before moving off carries 2 demerit points.
You may fail at the end of the test if you accumulate 20 or more demerit points, or immediately if you commit any serious mistake like exceeding the speed limit.
You must pass the PDT within 2 years of passing your FTT. Otherwise, you must retake and pass your FTT again before being eligible to retake the PDT.
What if I commit a traffic offence while learning to drive?
You may be liable for all traffic offences and/or fines and/or demerit points incurred while you learn how to drive.
If you have been convicted for a serious offence, such as reckless or dangerous driving, the court may disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving licence (including your PDL).
The driving centre may also disqualify or suspend you at its own discretion, if for example, you have obtained 12 or more demerit points within 24 months after your enrolment.
What Happens After I Pass the PDT?
Qualified Driving Licence (QDL)
After passing your PDT, you must apply for the QDL (i.e. your valid Singapore driving licence that allows you to drive on public roads) online.
If you have not already taken a digital photograph of yourself prior to booking the PDT (as mentioned above), you must do so before applying for a QDL. Upon which, your photograph will be submitted to the Traffic Police within 4 hours, and printed on your QDL. Likewise, a photo-taking service fee of $6 is payable.
You will then receive your QDL within 7 days, via registered mail, upon successful application.
Your driving licence will last until you are 65 and at the end of every 3 years after that date, unless you undergo a medical examination within 2 months before you reach any of those ages and submit to the Deputy Commissioner of Police a medical certification that you are physically fit to drive.
You will be put on a 1-year probation period following the grant of your driving licence. You will be required to display a probationary licence plate (P-plate) at the top right portion of the front windscreen and the rear windscreen of your vehicle.
Failure to display your P-plate may result in a fine for the first time, and an immediate revocation of your driving licence for the subsequent time.
During the probation period, if you accumulate more than 12 demerit points within the year, your licence will be revoked.
Must I always keep my driving licence in my possession?
You may be required by a police officer to produce your driving licence for examination when you are driving on a road.
If you fail to do so you shall be guilty of an offence unless you produce your licence in person at a police office or police station, as specified by the police officer, within 24 hours of being required to produce your driving licence.
How can my driving licence be suspended?
Even after the probation period, your driving licence may be suspended.
If you have not been suspended before, your licence may be suspended if you accumulate 24 or more demerit points within 24 consecutive months. The first suspension will be for 12 weeks.
If you have been suspended previously, you may be suspended again if you accumulate 12 or more demerit points within 12 consecutive months. For subsequent suspensions, the suspension periods are:
- 2nd suspension: 24 weeks;
- 3rd suspension: 1 year;
- 4th suspension: 2 years; and
- 5th suspension (onwards): 3 years.
How can my driving licence be revoked?
From the third suspension and onwards, your licence will be revoked and you will have to retake the test of competence to re-obtain your licence.
Click here for a list of scheduled offences that will result in demerit points and a fine.
Further, where required by the RTA, your licence may be revoked if you are convicted of any driving offence, such as drink-driving.
Can I drive overseas with my driving licence?
Many countries recognise a Singapore driving licence.
However, it is advisable to obtain an IDP if you are planning to drive overseas, especially where English is not a common language. This is because, the IDP contains driving terms in various languages which will ease communication with car rental companies and other authorities.
You can apply for an IDP with the Automobile Association of Singapore for $20. To obtain an IDP, you must have a valid Singapore driving licence.
What if I lost my driving licence?
If your original licence is lost, has been destroyed, is so defaced that your particulars are no longer decipherable, or if you have changed your name or other personal information as stated on the licence, you can replace your licence for $25.
Singapore citizens and PRs can apply for a replacement using the Singapore police’s “Qualified Driving Licence” e-Service, while foreigners will have to apply in person at the Traffic Police headquarters.
You must surrender the original licence (if you still have it) within 7 days of receiving the replacement licence.
How Can I Convert My Foreign Driving Licence (FDL) to a Singapore Driving Licence?
To convert your FDL to a Singapore driving licence, you must first pass the BTT. After that, you must apply for conversion in person at Traffic Police Headquarters, located at 10 Ubi Ave 3, Singapore 408865.
The following documents are required for the conversion:
- Original and a photocopy of your passport and NRIC/entry permit/employment pass/dependent pass/social visit pass/work permit
- Original and a photocopy of a valid foreign driving licence
- One passport-size colour photograph of you against a white background
- A processing fee of $50 (payment by CashCard and NETS only)
- If your foreign driving licence is not in English, then unless your licence is issued by Brunei, Indonesia or Malaysia, you must have:
- An international driving permit; or
- An official translation of your driving licence in English.
You may read our other article for more information on where to obtain translation services in Singapore.
Additional requirements for Singaporeans and PRs
If you are a Singaporean or PR, you can convert an FDL if you can prove that you have reason to be staying in a foreign country for a period of 1 year or more due to study or work, and have a total stay of 6 months within the 1-year period.
Proof of stay in the foreign country includes:
- If you had studied overseas for 1 year or more: Educational transcripts or Letter of Acceptance by the educational institution and the relevant student visa in your passport.
- If you had worked overseas for 1 year or more: Income Tax Returns or supporting documents from your employers and the relevant employment visa in the passport
If your foreign driving licence expires with the expiry of a foreign visa, you have to register for the BTT within 3 months from the date you return to Singapore.
You are also required to obtain a written extract from the foreign country’s licence issuing authority stating:
- The passing date
- Date of issue of your licence
- The class of your licence
- Your driving record
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