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All you need to know about driving in Singapore: Converting your license, parking cards and off-peak car schemes


Converting a licence

So you’ve managed to buy or lease a car with our guide. But can you legally drive in Singapore? If you have a valid overseas driving licence, then you can drive in Singapore for up to 12 months before you need to convert your licence. If you become a PR, you need to convert your licence immediately. If your licence is not in English, you are required to have an International Driving Permit in addition to your licence.

To convert to a Singapore driving licence, you are required to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT), which involves learning the Singapore Highway Code and local traffic rules. Your application must be made in person at one of the following driving test centres:

  • Singapore Safety Driving Centre: #01-5113 Ang Mo Kio Street 61
  • Bukit Batok Driving Centre: 815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5
  • Comfort Driving Centre: 205 Ubi Ave 4

The processing fee for converting your licence is $50 and the test fee is $6 (payable with cash, CashCard or NETS only). You can buy the basic theory book at driving centres, bookshops and petrol stations. It’s a good idea to read it even if you don’t intend to take the test right away. sgdriving.net or ssdcl.com.sg

CashCards, the ERP and Parking Coupons

The grey box mounted above your dashboard is the CashCard-reading In-vehicle Unit, or IU. You need to buy a CashCard from a petrol station or convenience store, which can be topped up at the latter or at CashCard top-up machines in most car parks. The cards store value and are used to pay for car parks (the fee is usually debited automatically at the exit barrier) and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). ERP is charged on expressways and in the central zones, and rates vary according to the location and time of day.

Parking coupons are used for street parking and HDB (Housing Development Board) car parks and can be purchased at petrol stations and convenience stores. Most residential parking is free.

Two tips:

1. If you accidently go through the ERP without enough money on your CashCard, go to onepay.onemotoring.com.sg and pay your fine online.

2. MotorPay is a system that allows you to pay ERP charges through you credit card, without the hassle of constantly stopping to top up the amount left on your CashCard. There’s a monthly fee of $2.50. motorpay.com.sg

Off-Peak Car Scheme

A red number plate in Singapore means the driver is part of the Off Peak Car Scheme (OPCS), an initiative by the government to encourage car owners to drive outside peak times. In return, they save on car registration and road taxes. (Off-peak drivers can drive all day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays and on Mondays to Fridays 7pm to 7am). A $20 e-Day Licence is required for driving an off-peak car at any other time.