Can You Use Malaysian Driving License Overseas?

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Can You Use Malaysian Driving License Overseas?

Driving School Malaysia blog, frequently receives queries from many of its readers. One very frequently asked question is “Can P license be used overseas, say in Australia, England or even South Korea?”

Another question which readers so often like to inquire is, “for how long a period can Malaysian domestic license be used in a foreign country, like America, Europe and Japan for example?”


My answer to the second question above has always been in the affirmative. Yes, Malaysian domestic license, if it is valid, can surely be used in foreign countries. Under the Geneva Conference 1949 and 1968, it is agreed that all nations, which are signatory to it, have to accept each other’s driving licenses.

Some countries even accept the conversion of foreign licenses into their domestic license. For example, as far as the writer knows, Singapore citizens who go to the United Kingdom for example, can certainly convert their licenses into British license if they so wish. But unfortunately, due to certain reasons, Malaysian drivers, cannot opt for their licenses to be converted into British domestic licenses.

Today’s article will not go on to delve into the reasons as to why Malaysian licenses are not acceptable by the British authorities.

Now, coming back to the question of, “Can P licenses, issued by the Malaysian Transport Authorities be accepted as a license to drive in a foreign country?”

First and foremost, permit me to explain the Malaysian driving license issue to you in greater detail. New drivers who have just passed their practical driving test, will be issued with a “P” or provisional license for a period of 2 years.

After completion of a 2 year probational period, a Malaysian driver will then be allowed to convert his P license into a real or “competent” license which is known as a Competent Driver’s License (CDL).

The Malaysian Road Transport Department accepts or considers the P license as a full fledged license. Bearing this in mind, the P license is therefore a “full” competent license. As such, there should exist no reason whatsoever for foreign countries not to accept the Malaysian P license for use in their countries at all.

With this explanation in mind, readers should be able to comprehend that P license, like “competent” licenses issued by the Road Transport Department, should infact be accepted for use overseas. The only other problem which troubles Malaysian drivers driving overseas, is the question of “for how long can a Malaysian license holder be allowed to drive in a foreign country?”

Whenever I receive queries from readers pertaining to this question of what “reasonable period” is, in most of the answers that I give to my readers no mention of period is given. Unfortunately, I am unable to quote or say what reasonable time limit actually is.

“Reasonable” is something subjective. Each country has its own rules and regulations when allowing foreign licenses to be used in their country. For example, in the United Kingdom, a foreign driver is permitted to drive for a period of 120 days. After that, ideally, a driver should make plans to procure a British driving license should he or she intend to stay in the country longer.

But, if you like a lady driver, who wrote in to this blog recently informing that she had been detained in South Africa for driving there for approximately 7 years, I was shocked! Definitely, 7 years is not a reasonable period at all.

Foreign authorities, I believe, accept use of foreign licenses in their countries. They may even, I believe, accept some “leeway” if a foreign driver should contravene the laws. As a driver, especially in another country we should behave “reasonably”.

Finally, we proceed on to another frequently asked question, which is, “can a foreign driver” exchange his or her license into Malaysian domestic licenses?

As per regulations, foreign licenses can be converted into Malaysian licenses. But of late, the authorities have tightened or rather streamlined the ability to convert foreign licenses into Malaysian domestic licenses.

For example, Indian nationals who wish to convert their licenses now face some problems. It seems Putrajaya, where the Malaysian Transport Authorities are located, will only allow selected categories of professionals, such as doctors and engineers to convert Indian licenses into Malaysian domestic Malaysian licenses. That is the regulation which exists today.

So, if you are a foreigner, say from Indonesia or Australia, who intends to change your country’s domestic license into Malaysian ones, you are advised to seek the Road Transport Authorities help in Putrajaya. Only they can inform you whether you are allowed to convert your license or otherwise.

Best of luck to you in your attempt. If however, for whatever reasons, you are unable to get a Malaysian license via conversion, then the only alternative for you to secure a Malaysian license is by testing for it.

For this, those interested can easily obtain advice through driving schools or institutes that are available throughout the entire country.

By | 2016-11-10T17:09:30+00:00 May 13th, 2011|Driving License|15 Comments

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15 Comments

  1. Angeline Saum December 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Presently i’m residing in italy and my Malaysian driving license is not permitted to convert into italian driving license. whereas my friend in france are permitted to do so. why?

    • Cikgu Yap December 15, 2011 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      As you said yourself, Malaysian license not allowed to be converted into Italian license.. As for as I am aware, Italy accepts European countries licenses for conversion purposes.

  2. Puven February 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Cikgu Yap,

    I’m based in oversea was not able to renew my license for more than 3 years.
    I only visit back home once in a year during chinese new year holidays. Now i have appealed and received fedback from JPJ that i still need to go through the practical test of section II & III within 60 days time.

    I’m not able to make any arrangement to return back within such a short notice. I do have a valid international license as well as driving license based in oversea. Is there anyway i could obtain CDL without going through the practical test?

    Thanks in advanced!

    • Cikgu Yap February 7, 2012 at 11:22 pm - Reply

      Ask for another period to do special test when you are free. No other alternative.

  3. Rakesh February 10, 2012 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Hi, I have a valid Dutch driving license. I have recently moved to KL and want to know how to get it exchanged for a Malaysian DL. Please help.

    • Cikgu Yap February 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      I foresee no problem converting your Dutch license into Malaysian driving license. Go to any state Road Traffic Department to do your conversion.

  4. ymy March 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Cikgu Yap,

    I am a Malaysian working in Singapore for more than 10 years. I converted my Malaysia Driving License to Singapore driving license since 2004, and soon after the coverssion, my Malaysia license expired and i never renew it. I heard that once you converted your license to Singapore license, your Malaysia driving license is not valid anymore, and if you wanted to drive again in Malaysia, you need to go through all the test again. Is that true?

    If it’s not, can i still renew my driving license after so many years? I dont have any record of my Malaysia driving license anymore, is there anyway that I can search from JPJ record or something?

    Thank you very much, I have been bothered by this issue for the longest of time!

    • Cikgu Yap March 18, 2012 at 10:11 am - Reply

      It’s not necessary for you to test for your Malaysian license later on. All you need to do is convert your Singapore license back to a Malaysian driving license. Find out from the Singapore authorities how to go about doing it.

  5. ymy March 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you Cikgu Yap, you mean that i have to give up my Singapore License as well? Can i keep both license?

    • Cikgu Yap March 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      If you still need to use your Singapore license, continue to use it. Only if coming back permanently to Malaysia, then contact Singapore authorities to get relevant documents to enable you to get back your Malaysian driving license. You can only hold 1 driving license in Malaysia or Singapore.

  6. Chloe March 13, 2016 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Hello. . I would like to visit east Europe Austria Hungary and others. . Can I use malaysian driving licence drive over there

  7. Brenda L May 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Hello Cikgu Yap,

    I am an Australian with Malaysian driving license. Can I use the same Malaysian driving license in Iceland without applying for International License during a short holiday?

    • Cikgu Yap May 31, 2017 at 10:52 am - Reply

      Yes you can. However, if you are planning to rent a car, the car rental company my request for an International Driving Permit.

  8. Darren August 12, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Hi I intend to go Australia for a self-driving trip for a couple of weeks. Just to find out if Malaysian license valid in Australia ?

    • Cikgu Yap August 14, 2017 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      Yes, you can use your Malaysian driving license in Australia.

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