Getting your licence in Singapore
If you have a valid overseas driving licence, then you can drive in Singapore for up to twelve 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’re 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 Driving Test Centre: 3 Ang Mio Kio Street 62
- Bukit Batok Driving Centre: 815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5
- Comfort Driving Centre: 215 Ubi Ave 4
- Many more locations
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.
Editor’s tip: You do have to learn the information in the basic theory book, and there will be some trick questions in the test, so don’t be complacent. The failure rate is high!
Other need-to-know info…
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. CashCards are stored-value cards that are used to pay for carparks (the fee is usually debited automatically at the exit barrier) and Electronic Road Pricing, or ERP. ERP is charged on expressways and in the central zones, and rates vary according to the location and time of day. CashCards can be topped up at convenience stores or at ATM machines, if you have a NETS-enabled bank account. Parking coupons are used for street parking and HDB (Housing Development Board) carparks and can be purchased at petrol stations and convenience stores. Most residential parking is free.
Editor’s tip: 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. Visit www.motorpay.com.sg for more details.
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 of peak times. In return, they save on car registration and road taxes. (Off-peak drivers can drive all day on Sundays and public holidays, on Mondays to Fridays 7pm to 7am, and on Saturdays and on the eves of public holidays, from 3pm onwards). A $20 day-license is required for driving an off-peak car at any other time.
If you are found with more than the legal limit of 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, or 80 milligrams per 100ml of blood (.08 as it’s commonly known), you will be fined between $1,000 and $5,000 and may also receive a six-month jail sentence. Second offenders receive a fine of between $3,000 and $10,000 and a mandatory jail sentence of up to one year. All offenders are disqualified from driving for at least one year.
For more helpful tips, head to our Living in Singapore section.