Congratulations! You have attained your long-term dream of owning a brand-new Vespa motorcycle or Honda car. It’s about time you forget about the hassles of public transportation. With your new automotive, you can travel wherever and whenever you want once you have fueled your car. However, before you start enjoying your ride as a new driver, you face one major obstacle- a driving license. You’re probably wondering about the process of acquiring a driving license. This article takes you through applying for and renewing a driving license for natives and foreigners in Singapore. We will also answer some of the frequently asked questions (FQA) to provide you will all need-to-know points before using Singaporean roads.

The License Renewal Process

Singapore citizens do not need a renewal of their driving license until they are 65 years of old. Once they reach this age, they will need to renew their driving license after every three years. Foreigners should renew their driving license after every five years at the Traffic Police Department, a month before the license expiry date. If you have a valid work permit from the Ministry of Manpower or a long-term visit pass from ICA and your driving license expires in one month, or less you are required to apply for a renewal using their Singpass account. You will not submit the digital photo because the existing one in the system is sufficient. The Traffic Police Department is open from 08:30-17:30 on weekdays and 08:30-13:00 every Saturday.


The following documents are needed when renewing a driving license in Singapore:

  • Work permit/student pass/employment pass/dependant pass/ or any other relevant documents showing a foreigner’s extended stay in the country
  • Passport
  • Matt/semi-matt passport-size colored photograph with a white background
  • Processing fee (NET and cashcard only)

License Application for a New Driver

If you are a permanent Singaporean resident and a citizen and plan to buy a car, you must pass a practical driving test. After passing the test, you will apply and pay for Qualified Driving License (QDL) online via your Singpass account. The amount you will part with is S$500 made online using a credit card or Enets. Before you begin the application process on e-service, you should take a digital photograph where you will do your driving test, preferably at the driving centre. This picture will appear on your photocard driving license.

The driving centre often recommends taking your photograph before booking for the test to be uploaded into the system. This will enable you to immediately apply for the QDL online when you pass the driving test. After application and successful payment of the QDL, you will receive your photocard driving license through a registered mailbox in seven working days. If you fail to apply and successfully pay for your QDL online, you will not ride or drive even if you passed the practical driving test. Riding or driving without a driving license is considered a serious offense under traffic laws, and one will be prosecuted in court.

Suppose you already have a valid Singapore driving license. In that case, you will not take another digital photograph or apply for another QDL online when you pass another driving license class. The driving examiner at the Traffic Police Test Center will provide you with an endorsement sticker showing the new QDL class you have passed. This endorsement is pasted at the back of your valid Singaporean photocard driving license. In that case, you will not take another digital photograph or apply for another QDL online when you pass another driving license class. You will also not pay for the approval.


Suppose you are not a Singaporean citizen or a permanent resident and would like to drive in Singapore. In that case, you must first have a valid work pass from the Ministry of Manpower or have a Long-term visit/Student pass from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority. Second, you must pass the practical test from the Traffic Police Test Center and apply online for your QDL through your Singpass account. However, if you do not have a Singpass, you can apply for a QDL online using the date of birth, FIN number, and card serial number on the e-service login.

Replacement of a Qualified Driving License

Permanent residents and Singaporean citizens would want to replace a lost or a defaced existing driving license. You should apply online for a replacement using your Singpass account via the Traffic Police e-service. You will be charged a fee of S$25, which you will pay using your credit card or eNETS. There’s no need to submit a new one since the authorities will use the existing photograph in the system to print your photocard driving license. The law also dictates that you return the original driving license to the traffic Police within seven days upon replacing the existing one.

Similarly, foreigners who have lost their driving license or have defaced one can apply online for a replacement using their Singpass account. They will not be required to submit another photograph since the system already has their photo. They will then use this to print a new one. If they do not have a Singpass, they can apply for a new QDL by providing details, such as date of birth, FIN number, and card serial number on e-service log in.

Frequently Asked Questions

When am I required to apply for a driving license in Singapore?

You must be 18years and above before applying for any driving course in Singapore. It means you are not eligible to make a booking before you hit 18 years. Additionally, senior citizens above age 65 and pregnant women will require a doctor’s clearance before applying for a license or driving lessons. A person who is physically challenged will undergo a medical examination before they are deemed fit for driving.

What are QDL and BBT in Licensing?

When applying for a driving license in Singapore, you will first apply for Basic Theory Test (BTT) and pass. This is done in any of the three Singapore’s driving schools. The school requires that students take a theoretical exam, which, if they pass, allows them to have a provisional driving license before taking practical driving lessons on Singapore’s roads. Only after passing the practical exams will you qualify to receive a Qualified Driving License (QDL), which is Singapore’s valid driving license.

How much does it cost to apply for a QDL?

The driving license cost in Singapore is part of the lesson package at a driving school. If you apply for it separately, you will be charged S$50 fee that you will pay online. The digital service photo taken at the driving centre will cost you S$6, and the BTT fee will also be S$6. This means you may end up paying S$62 besides the driving lesson fee.

How many driving licenses classes does Singapore have?

You cannot drive a bus with a motorcycle or truck license. Singapore has a total of 11 driving license classes. Class 1 belongs to those with physical challenges, classes 2, 2A, and 2B belong to motorcyclists. Car owners attend classes 3, 3A, C, and CA, while 4A is for bus drivers. Heavy automotive-like vans and trucks belong to classes 4 and 5.

Must I apply for a new QDL if I intend to upgrade my license class?

You do not need to. If you have an existing QDL, say of class 2B for motorcycles, and you want to upgrade to 2A, you can do so without applying for a new QDL. After completing an upgrade class, you will only receive an endorsement sticker at the back of your license photo card.

Final Thought

If you own a car, you also know that a driving license is necessary before you can hit the road. Having a driving license is also required to utilize the thriving car-sharing industry. You can request Shariot cars for a comfortable ride to your destination if you have a valid driving license before returning it. We hope this article has shed some light on what you need to do if you are 18 years and above to experience Singaporean roads.


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