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Ultimate Guide to Getting a Driver’s License in Singapore
Getting a driver’s license in Singapore is straightforward, but many applicants fail to acquire one because the tests themselves are not your average skills exam.
Nonetheless, we believe it would give you tremendous help if you know ahead of time the steps you need to take to get this coveted identity card.
Read this guide to know what to expect when you apply for your first driving license, whether you’re a young aspiring driver or a full-grown adult who’s considering driving a car only recently.
We also threw in tips to help raise your chances of passing!
Inside This Guide
- Steps to Getting a Driving License
- Validity of a Driving License
- Driving in Singapore as a Foreigner
- Other Information about Driving Licenses
Steps to Getting a Driving License
Acquiring your driving license in Singapore involves the following steps:
- Register with a driving center
- Take the theory tests
- Get your Provisional Driving License
- Practice driving
- Take the practical driving test
1. Register with a driving center
Your driver’s license journey starts with looking for a driving center where you can take the required tests. There are three official centers in Singapore:
|Singapore Safety Driving Centre||2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387|
|Bukit Batok Driving Centre||815 Bukit Batok West Ave. 5, Singapore 659085|
|ComfortDelGro Driving Centre||205 Ubi Ave. 4, Singapore 408805|
These driving centers offer a uniform syllabus to prepare you for the ultimate challenge which is the practical driving test.
The lessons include basic and advanced theory lessons, simulator courses, and practical training. You’ll also be taking your eyesight test and theory tests through the center of your choice.
The three schools also have similar registration fees (which we’ll look into later).
Which driving center in Singapore is better?
Determining which is the better (or best) driving center in Singapore will depend on your location and budget.
It’s practical to choose a driving center that is closest to your home to save on transportation costs and time.
Meanwhile, how much you’re willing to spend on the courses will also affect your choice.
For instance, the Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) has more affordable theory lesson fees for Class 3/3A courses than Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC) and ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC).
The SSDC, meanwhile, charges slightly higher fees across lessons, simulator training, and practical driving sessions.
Class 3/3A driving licenses are for drivers of manual and automatic transmission motor cars. You can see the rest of the classes here.
Additionally, here is a comparative table of fees to help you decide which school to choose (if you’re opting for the driving center route).
|School||Enrollment Fee||Practical Lesson||Practice Vehicle Rental||Renewal Fee|
|SSDC||$132.52 – $186.52||Off-peak: $72.36|
|CDC||$178.20 – $194.40||$69.12 – $77.76||–||$64.80 |
Note that while the lesson fees vary, the driving centers charge uniform fees for registration-related items.
Check out this table to know which items have common fees regardless if you’re enrolled in a driving school or learning from a private instructor.
|Digital photo taking||$6.48|
|Basic theory test||$6.50|
|Final theory test||$6.50|
|Provisional driving license||$25|
|Qualified driving license||$50|
Is it worth learning how to drive from driving schools?
Learning from a driving school in Singapore is worth it if you are not so confident in your skills and require close supervision.
It’s also practical to opt for driving schools if you’re used to structured learning. The fixed schedules can be motivational to some too.
In contrast, learning from driving schools might not be practical if you already have a good grasp of the basics and you want to save some cash.
Hiring a private instructor is more affordable than going to the driving centers, plus it’s possible to follow a more flexible schedule for lessons.
|Driving school||– Structured lessons|
– In-house test circuits
– Great for total beginners
|– Pricier than private lessons|
– A bit rigid on schedules
|Private instructor||– More affordable|
– Ideal for more confident learners
– Flexible schedule
|– Might take more sessions before you can take the driving test|
– Usually does not offer theory lessons
2. Take the theory tests
You will need to take two theory tests to push the application process forward.
First is the Basic Theory Test, which you should pass before you can acquire your provisional driving license (PDL).
The second is the Final Theory Test which will give you passes to the practical driving test (PDT).
We recommend buying a textbook about Singapore’s highway code to aid you during your theory lessons.
Moreover, you can practice answering the test through your driving school’s mock exams. If you’re learning from a private instructor, you can try out online theory test simulators like the TP Test instead.
What is the format of a Singapore driving test?
The Singapore theory tests come in 50 multiple questions that you’ll need to answer within 50 minutes.
The Basic Theory Test (BTT) will gauge how well you know Singapore’s traffic rules, signs, signals, and general road safety.
Meanwhile, the Final Theory Test will test your knowledge of proper driving techniques and your attitude toward other road users.
What is the passing score for a driving test in Singapore?
The passing score for a driving theory test in Singapore is 90%. That means you’ll need to have at least 45 correct answers to pass.
Enrolling in driving school where they give mock exams or, if you’re with a private instructor, trying out online test platforms will help increase your chances of passing.
3. Get your Provisional Driving License
After passing the Basic Theory Test (BTT), you will be eligible to apply for a Provisional Driving License (PDL).
You need this license to be able to drive a car during your practical lessons and practical driving test.
You can apply for your PDL in two ways:
- Through online application via the Singapore Police Force portal
- In-person application at the Traffic Police Test Centre
Meanwhile, requirements for the PDL include
- Your SingPass credentials (for online application)
- Your BTT results
- Your NRIC
- $25 for the license fee
How long is a provisional driving license valid in Singapore?
Your provisional driving license (PDL) in Singapore is valid for two years from the date of issuance.
The two years are there to provide ample time for you to practice driving before taking the actual licensure test.
Remember to bring your PDL with you at all times when practicing. You should also have a professional driving instructor in the front seat next to you in every lesson.
4. Practice driving
Once you get your PDL, you can practice driving your car to gain the confidence that you’ll need for the driving test.
You can opt to take the structured lessons offered by driving schools or hire a private instructor to teach you.
It’s important that you choose which works for your learning style to raise your chances of passing the practical test.
Another part of the driving lessons is the simulator training. You need to complete three sessions of this training, regardless if you’re enrolled in a driving center or learning from a private instructor.
You can do the simulation after you’ve completed at least five practical lessons beforehand.
The simulation is essential in part because you can practice defensive driving in common traffic situations in a totally safe environment. It might also help lessen the nervousness you’d feel when driving in actual traffic.
The three official driving centers in Singapore have slightly varying fees for simulator training.
|School||Simulator Training Fee|
|BBDC||$14 per session|
5. Take the practical driving test
You can take the practical driving test once you completed your syllabus from your school, which equates to about 20 to 25 practical lessons.
If you’re with a private instructor, 20 to 30 practical lessons usually suffice. Just remember to include five lessons in a test circuit.
Note that you also have to clear three simulator training sessions before you can book a driving test.
The driving test comes in two parts. The first is testing your skills on a driving circuit, and the second will be the actual road drive.
On the test date, don’t forget to bring your NRIC and other relevant documents to prove your identity.
You can book your test through Singapore’s official driving centers, subject to plotted driving test dates.
The session will come with a $33 test fee and another $50 for the driver’s license if you pass.
How can I pass my practical driving test in Singapore?
Passing Singapore’s practical driving test is possible if you’ve prepared enough. Here are some tips to shake off the test jitters.
Arrive early at the testing site
Make a good first impression on your tester by arriving early at the testing center. You should go straight to the waiting room and wait for them, not the other way around.
Aside from it being the polite thing to do, arriving early can help calm your nerves, compared to if you’re rushing to the site because you’re running late.
Know what the driving test entails
The practical driving test consists of a circuit test and a road test.
The former is for the initial assessment of your driving skills, while the latter is there to test how you observe traffic rules and interact with fellow road users.
Expect the tester to be holding a clipboard that contains an assessment checklist. Every driving error will cost you a point, yes, but don’t let the tester marking the sheet distract you!
To pass the test, do your best to not incur more than 18 demerit points during the session.
Book a warm-up session
It will help to do a warm-up session with your instructor before the big day. Think of this session as your dry run for the real thing.
Choose off-peak dates and times for your test
The good thing about driving tests in Singapore is that you can choose the date and time of the session. As such, research your routes and check when they’re least busy.
By avoiding heavy traffic, you can reduce the risks of driving errors (e.g. wrong overtaking and tailgating).
Show your caution
Be very obvious when you check your side and rear mirrors and your blind spots. Also, avoid being too aggressive and give way to other motorists as much as possible.
Cautious and defensive driving shows the tester that you’re being careful. Just remember not to overdo it or you’ll inconvenience other road users.
It’s good to be cautious while driving, but don’t err on the side of low confidence. You must show your tester that you’re confident in your driving skills and that you know what you’re doing.
Remember that indecisive drivers are prone to errors, and some of them could be fatal.
Some taxi drivers can be so used to driving that they forget basic road etiquette like signaling or keeping a safe distance.
It’s best to keep away from them to reduce the risk of you incurring errors as well.
How long is the practical driving test in Singapore?
Practical driving tests in Singapore last 45 to 50 minutes for each session. This time frame includes both the circuit and road test parts of the exam.
What is the best time to take a driving test in Singapore?
The best time to take a driving test in Singapore is during non-peak hours.
In Ubi and Bukit Batok, that usually means during the morning test slots from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Afternoon slots from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM tend to yield smoother traffic too.
The industrial area of Woodlands might also be a safer option since it has less busy roads than the other two locations.
What are considered immediate failures in a Singapore driving test?
Generally, the immediate failures during a driving test in Singapore are the ones that put you, your fellow road users, your car, and other people’s property in danger.
Specific errors that you’re better off avoiding include
- Mounting a curb
- Beating the red light (especially at junctions)
- Not checking your blind spots
- Reckless lane cutting
- Sharp or wide turns
- Not signaling
Validity of a Driving License in Singapore
After passing your practical driving test, you’d be able to apply for a Qualified Driving License (QDL).
The coveted document costs $50, which you can pay via eNETS or credit card, and will arrive in your post within seven working days.
The next question is how long will your license last?
How long is a Singapore driving license valid?
A Singapore Qualified Driving License (QDL) is valid from the time of issuance until the holder’s 65th birthday.
Once the license holder reaches the said age, they would be required to renew their QDL once every three years.
This benefit applies to Singapore citizens and permanent residents whose licenses are not revoked due to excessive demerit points incurred from parking tickets and road violations.
The QDL issued to foreigners, meanwhile, has a validity period of five years.
Do Singaporeans need to renew their driving licenses?
Singaporeans will need to renew their driving licenses if they still wish to get behind the wheel after the age of 65.
The Qualified Driving License (QDL) validity lasts until a citizen is 65 years of age. Afterward, the government will require renewal once every three years.
Citizens or permanent residents applying for renewal would need to do so two months before their birthday. They will also need to pass a proficiency driving test.
Driving in Singapore as a Foreigner
Foreigners who wish to drive a car in Singapore need only to fulfill the requirements set by the Traffic Police to set foot on the gas.
That said, there are differences in the perks handed to citizens and PR driving license holders and foreign ones.
Can foreigners use their driving licenses when driving in Singapore?
Foreigners can use their driving licenses for a limited time in Singapore. The limit is 12 months, provided that the license is equivalent to Class 3, 3A, and 2B licenses here.
Additionally, a foreigner should be at least 18 years old and have a Student Pass, Work Pass, or Dependant’s Pass.
After 12 months, a foreign motorist in Singapore should apply for a license conversion.
Can foreigners get a Singapore driving license?
Foreigners can get a Singapore driving license by way of license conversion.
This method is applicable to foreign motorists who have exhausted their 12-month limit using their original licenses.
If you’re looking to convert your license as a foreigner, you can do so by first taking a Basic Theory Test in any of the three official driving centers in Singapore: Singapore Safety Driving Centre, ComfortDelGro Driving Centre, or Bukit Batok Driving Centre.
The test fee is $6.50.
You will also need to take a practical driving test if you wish to use a manual transmission car.
Moreover, you will need to visit the Traffic Police Test Centre and file your application for conversion there. Requirements you should bring include
- Entry permit
- Pass (student, employment, or dependant’s pass)
- Original copy and a photocopy of foreign driving license
- Passport-sized color photograph (we have a guide on how to take an acceptable photo for official documents here)
- Processing fee of $50 (via eNETS or credit card)
Note that foreign driving licenses not in English should come with an official translation issued by the pertinent embassy or Singapore-registered translation companies.
The exceptions to this rule are licenses from Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Alternatively, you can present an International Driving Permit (IDP) in place of a foreign driving license.
The conversion usually takes two weeks, provided that there are no issues with your submitted documents. Once issued, your Singapore driving license as a foreigner will be valid for five years.
Other Information about Driving Licenses in Singapore
We give you more information about driving licenses that you should take note of before applying for your own!
How many types of driving licenses are there in Singapore?
Singapore has 11 types of driving licenses. The type you will need to apply for will depend on the vehicle you wish to drive.
Here is a list of the license classes in the country.
|Class 1||Vehicles designed for people with physical disabilities|
|Class 2||400 CC motorbikes|
|Class 2A||Less than 400 CC motorbikes|
|Class 2B||Less than 200 CC motorbikes|
|Class 3||Manual and automatic transmission vehicles with 7-person capacity and a weight not exceeding 2,500 kg|
|Class 3A||Auto transmission vehicles with the same capacity and weight as Class 3|
|Class 3C||Manual and auto transmission cars, for foreign workers with work permit or S-Pass|
|Class 3CA||Auto transmission cars, for foreign workers with work permit or S-Pass|
|Class 4||Vehicles weighing more than 2,500 kg but less than 7,250 kg|
|Class 4A||For public bus drivers working for a company|
|Class 5||Vehicles weighing more than 7,250 kg|
How long does it take to get a driving license in Singapore?
Getting a driving license in Singapore may take three to six months if we consider the whole process from taking the theory tests to driving lessons to the practical driving test.
The exact duration will depend on how long you will have to wait for an open testing slot for the Basic Theory Test (BTT). Many people book this test, so it might take you a while before you can secure a schedule.
The frequency of your practical driving lessons will also affect the duration. A mix of weekday and weekend schedules can speed up your training and make you eligible for the simulator course and Final Theory Test (FTT) faster.
Once you’ve passed the FTT, the final hurdle is the practical driving test. You can book yours as early as possible to avoid waiting too long.
If you pass the driving test and have successfully paid the license fee, it will be only a seven-day wait for your Qualified Driving License to arrive via mail.
What do I do if I lost my driving license in Singapore?
You can apply for a replacement of your driving license in Singapore if you have lost it. This process is best done online through the Traffic Police e-service.
Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and foreigners with a SingPass account need only to log into the portal using their credentials to file a request for a replacement.
Those without a SingPass (work permit and student pass holders) can use their Foreign Identity Number, date of birth, and card serial number to log into the portal.
Should you find your lost driving license, you will need to return it to the Traffic Police within seven days upon retrieval. You can drop the original document in the headquarters drop box or mail it to the following address:
Testing & Licensing Branch, Traffic Police Headquarters, 10 Ubi Ave 3, Singapore 408865
How much does it cost to replace a driving license in Singapore?
The replacement fee for a lost driving license in Singapore is $25. The payment is done via eNETS or credit card.
The amount is paid to the Traffic Police upon completion of the application. You can use this portal to apply for a replacement request.