Dear Viet Nam News.
I am a Danish citizen living and working in Ha Noi. I have a temporary Residence Card, a Work Permit, and work as Chief representative of a Danish Company.
My problem is my Vietnamese drivers licence! My Danish drivers licence allows me to drive vehicles in the A1 (small motorbike), A2 (big motorbike), and B1 (car below 3500 Kg) categories. I was told upon arrival that I could have my drivers licence converted to a Vietnamese drivers licence once I had my Residence card and Work Permit.
However, when my Vietnamese drivers licence was issued, it did not allow me to drive vehicles in the local A2 (big motorbike) category.
To my understanding, I must be a member of a Motorcycle Club before I can obtain a Vietnamese drivers licence for the big bike. However due to language barriers, it seems the motorcycle clubs will only allow Vietnamese people to join.
Does this mean that according to the WTO, big bikes can legally be sold in Viet Nam, but foreigners cannot get a licence to drive them? I don't understand the reasons.
If the issue is road safety, I should not have received a licence to drive a car either, as driving a car could potentially be more dangerous to others than driving a motorbike.
Dear Mr Pedersen,
We contacted the Ha Noi Department of Transport concerning your questions. The Vietnamese Transport Law states that only the following individuals and organisations are permitted to drive motorbikes that have a power of 175cc or more: military or police, taxation, customs, forestry management and market watch agencies, or other individuals or organisations for sport purposes.
Dao Duy Phong, an administrative officer from the department, suggested that you should join a motor club in Ha Noi or some other sport organisation that falls under the Ha Noi Culture, Sports and Tourism Department. These organisations have the ability to organise A2 driving tests and the DoT will be responsible for issuing the licence.
Vu Dinh Lam, who is a leading member of the Ha Noi Motor Club (www.motohanoi.com.vn/forum) under the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, said that several of his current members are foreigners, and others are welcome. To join, you will need to have your own motorbike, and pay a joining fee of VND 5 million (US$250) and a monthly fee of VND200,000 ($10). Lam can advise you on the process to apply for an A2 licence. He can be contacted at 0903448797.
We hope this is of some help to you. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. — vns