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Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby Hayz6609 » Sat, 25 Apr 2015 11:19 pm

I have been living in Singapore for 16 months know and not driven but I am due to start a new job on 1st June where I will be provided with a company (lease) car and required to drive to Malaysia 3 times a week. I have a UK driving license and I know that I will need to do the basic theory test, however the next one is not until 18th June when I will have started my new job.

Will I be able to drive the company lease car before I am able to get the license converted based on just my UK license? If not, HELP!

I'm not sure if this is relevant but I hold a PEP which started Dec 2014 and am frequently out of the country - any ideas/ solutions?

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 4:59 am

Technically, you should have had you license converted from UK to Singapore license within 12 months of your permanent arrival. After that time, you are technically required to do all of the training for a class 3 license, and it is hard to get it done in less than 6 months.

I am aware of one individual who petitioned to take the basic theory test only well after 12 months, stating he was frequently out of the country. He was allowed to take the test. So, given your statement of frequently being out of the country, perhaps you can prevail with this excuse as well. But, be prepared to have to do all the training.

As to whether or not you will be able to drive the company lease car: I reckon that will be entirely up to the leasing and/or the insurance company. Were you simply a tourist there would probably be no issue... but if you are holding residency status, I'd predict that only a Singapore driver's license will be accepted. But, you'll never know until you ask them.

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby x9200 » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 8:59 am

Hayz6609 wrote:I have been living in Singapore for 16 months know and not driven but I am due to start a new job on 1st June where I will be provided with a company (lease) car and required to drive to Malaysia 3 times a week. I have a UK driving license and I know that I will need to do the basic theory test, however the next one is not until 18th June when I will have started my new job.

Will I be able to drive the company lease car before I am able to get the license converted based on just my UK license? If not, HELP!

I'm not sure if this is relevant but I hold a PEP which started Dec 2014 and am frequently out of the country - any ideas/ solutions?

I am afraid there is no workaround to your situation. Before you pass the test you should not drive the car in Singapore. In Malaysia of course you still can do it.

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby Hayz6609 » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 11:17 am

Strong eagle is that right? I've not seen that anywhere and it seems really unfair since I had no idea! I didn't need to drive before so never looked into license conversion before now but if that is true and it would take 6 months then it essentially means that I won't be able to do the job and I will lose it and be unemployed! Even if they made some kind of exception there is no way I would have time to do the training. Now I'm really stressed!!!

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby JR8 » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 12:03 pm

AFAIUI Eagle is correct. But go to source, the relevant government website and check for yourself.

Similar applied when I moved to the States. You had 12 months to convert your licence, after which you had to go through the whole local driver tests/exam. I wasn't aware of that, until on renewing my auto-insurance, they required proof of conversion.
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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 4:04 pm

JR8 wrote:AFAIUI Eagle is correct. But go to source, the relevant government website and check for yourself.

Similar applied when I moved to the States. You had 12 months to convert your licence, after which you had to go through the whole local driver tests/exam. I wasn't aware of that, until on renewing my auto-insurance, they required proof of conversion.


I got it converted past the 12 months, 2 months past the 12 months, the written basic test was required, and that was looong time ago. (I just looked up my SG DL)

The TP (then in Tanjong Pagar), told me to take the basic written, and told me if it's too far off the 12 months, they could ask me to go for the whole driving test (I guess it applies based on which country license you are holding, as some countries licenses, even within the 12 months, were required to take the Basic test, and some had to go for advanced too)

x9200, even if OP is driving a Malaysian Registered car, in Malaysia, with an IDP but his residency shows Singapore, Malaysia Traffic cops will find a nice chance to earn some money. But in all fairness, unless you break any law, the cops are not going to stop and check his license.

The only time I was asked to show my license in Malaysia was when I (I admit it- bad judgement) stopped and asked a cop for direction .. #-o [-( never ask a cop in Malaysia for direction, if you look very foreign or can't speak Malay

ps: Links

https://www.ecitizen.gov.sg/Topics/Page ... cence.aspx

Foreigners

A foreigner above 18 years of age and holding a Work Pass/Dependent Pass/Student Pass may drive in Singapore with a valid class 3, 3A or 2B foreign licence, for a period of not more than 12 months. A Singapore driving licence is required after 12 months. Those on short term social visit may drive with their foreign licence for up to 12 months each time they enter into Singapore. For licence not written in English language, an International Driving Permit or an official translation in English language is required.
Last edited by ecureilx on Sun, 26 Apr 2015 4:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby therat » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 4:10 pm

Conversion of Driving Licence

http://driving-in-singapore.spf.gov.sg/ ... ation.html

To drive a vehicle in Singapore, you must possess a valid Singapore driving licence for the class of vehicle that you want to drive. This requirement applies to all citizens and permanent residents of Singapore and also foreigners who are residing in Singapore for more than twelve (12) months. Foreigners who reside here for less than twelve (12) months must possess a valid foreign licence and International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by an authorised body in their country of origin e.g. the Automobile Association (AA). If an International Driving Permit is not available, an official translation of your foreign licence in English is required. Driver from ASEAN member countries only need to possess a valid driving licence issued by the relevant driving licence Authority in order to drive in Singapore without IDP.

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby Hayz6609 » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 4:43 pm

I am getting more and more confused the more I read. I didn't convert my license as I wasn't driving so didn't need to until now.

When it says you can drive for up to 12 months, from your last entry into singapore without converting your license does that mean when I come back from the UK on 1st June it would start then since I've not had a car in Singapore before?

I can't see anything that says you have to do all the training and tests if you don't convert exactly on the 12 months, that really scares me as I just wouldn't have the time to do that - this is turning into a real nightmare! And why do they not have theory tests running until June/ July??

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 8:05 pm

Hayz6609 wrote:I am getting more and more confused the more I read. I didn't convert my license as I wasn't driving so didn't need to until now.

When it says you can drive for up to 12 months, from your last entry into singapore without converting your license does that mean when I come back from the UK on 1st June it would start then since I've not had a car in Singapore before?

I can't see anything that says you have to do all the training and tests if you don't convert exactly on the 12 months, that really scares me as I just wouldn't have the time to do that - this is turning into a real nightmare! And why do they not have theory tests running until June/ July??


12 months means, 12 months of residency or on any pass. Since you had a PEP, for ICA/Traffic Police, you are resident here. Maybe you can try your luck there, I can't say your stance of "I travel frequently" will fly, as not everybody here stays put for 12 continued month.

Explanation is - if you had an IDP/Acceptable license (ASEAN et al), you can drive in Singapore for upto 12 months, before you must convert to a local license

Conversion (purely from what I know and seen and done) can be an over the counter filling of forms and submission of photo and payment and Traffic police will post back a Singapore Driving License, or Traffic police will ask you to take the Basic Theory Test, and then upon passing, will issue you a Singapore license

Taking a basic test is not hard work

Just buy the basic theory of driving book, memorise the peculiar Singapore laws, like the compulsory 7PM to 7AM headlight must be on- rule, and the bus lane hours, and the distance you can't park from Fire Hydrant (though I see fewer and fewer Fire Hydrants), and such.

As I said, I know a few guys who were asked to do the full course, but I suspect that is because they recently 'graduated' or they hail from certain countries known for coffee licenses


PS, if it is a nightmare, you can choose not to drive .. I know a good driver (SELF) :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 8:10 pm

from the link ! https://www.ecitizen.gov.sg/Topics/Page ... cence.aspx

How to apply for conversion
Step 1: Pass the basic theory test

To convert your foreign licence to a Singapore driving licence, you must pass the BTT test. Overseas theory test results are not admissible for consideration.

To book a BTT test, create an account with any of the three driving centres and book in person or online:

Bukit Batok Driving Centre
815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5, Singapore 659085
T: 1800 666 8888

ComfortDelGro Driving Centre
205 Ubi Ave 4, Singapore 408805
T: 6841 8900, 6848 0617

Singapore Safety Driving Centre
2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387
T: 6482 6060
Step 2: Apply for conversion

You must apply for conversion at the Traffic Police Test Centre counter in person. Please bring these items, where applicable:

Original and a photocopy of your passport and NRIC/entry permit/employment pass/dependent pass/social visit pass/work permit;
Original and a photocopy of a valid foreign driving licence;
One recent matte passport-sized colour photograph of you with a white background, eyes looking straight, and both ears and eyebrows visible in the photograph. There should be no headgear worn unless normally worn for religious purposes, and glasses worn should not be tinted;
Processing fee of $50 (payment by CashCard and NETS only);
If your foreign driving licence is not in English, you must have one of these:
International driving permit; or
An official translation of your driving licence in English obtained from the relevant Embassy, High Commission, or Singapore court. Translation is not required for licences issued by Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.
If your foreign driving licence does not have the 1st date of issue, you are required to obtain an extract of driving licence recod from the Licensing Authority;
Foreign driving licence must be obtained prior to the issuance of your Work Pass/Dependant Pass/Student Pass etc.

- See more at: https://www.ecitizen.gov.sg/Topics/Page ... r7fuz.dpuf

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby curiousgeorge » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 9:44 pm

One more thing to add regarding your Basic Theory Test - STUDY. Seriously, you might think your home country is similar, you might think you know the rules of the road - but this is Singapore and the test is designed to catch you out.

i.e. "How many emergency exits are there in the KPE tunnel?"
i.e. you might know the blood alcohol limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood. But the question might be "what is the blood alcohol limit per 50ml of blood?"
And police hand signals...they are a sign language all of their own in the BTT. They are so complex and ridiculous, even the Traffic Police don't use them on the street.

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 9:54 pm

curiousgeorge wrote:One more thing to add regarding your Basic Theory Test - STUDY. Seriously, you might think your home country is similar, you might think you know the rules of the road - but this is Singapore and the test is designed to catch you out.

i.e. "How many emergency exits are there in the KPE tunnel?"
i.e. you might know the blood alcohol limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood. But the question might be "what is the blood alcohol limit per 50ml of blood?"
And police hand signals...they are a sign language all of their own in the BTT. They are so complex and ridiculous, even the Traffic Police don't use them on the street.


I got stumped for the depth of tire tread - question, and the 3 second rule .. :P

I quickly remembered the bus lanes as I got warned - those days TP wasn't so into clocking numbers.

And those days there was no red zig zag .. I think they are making new road signs in Singapore every few years ;)

seriously, is the number of exits in KPE a question ??? :roll: [-( :mrgreen:

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby JR8 » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 10:10 pm

Strange questions. Seem more based upon current [2015] general knowledge, and, 'are you paying attention - basic maths trick questions', rather than skills required for good and safe driving.

But then again... :-k
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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 26 Apr 2015 11:50 pm

Hayz6609 wrote:I am getting more and more confused the more I read. I didn't convert my license as I wasn't driving so didn't need to until now.

When it says you can drive for up to 12 months, from your last entry into singapore without converting your license does that mean when I come back from the UK on 1st June it would start then since I've not had a car in Singapore before?

I can't see anything that says you have to do all the training and tests if you don't convert exactly on the 12 months, that really scares me as I just wouldn't have the time to do that - this is turning into a real nightmare! And why do they not have theory tests running until June/ July??


As a foreigner, you really do have a responsibility to understand the laws of the country in which you are visiting or residing. You can say it's "not fair" all you want, but the fact is that the rules are quite generous, in line with international norms, and they are more than willing to grant exceptions when warranted, and you paid no attention to them.

Your 12 months begins when you take up permanent residency, from the time you landed on the ground with your AIP. Why would it be different? Why would the government allow an essentially permanent 12 month grace period? What do you think should happen after the 12 months grace period? Common sense says if you don't take advantage of the grace period, you get your license like all the locals do.

You say you lived in Singapore for 16 months, and that you got a PEP in Dec, 2014. That puts you on some other sort of work or dependent pass for about a year. What was it? Did you have an EP, lose a job, and convert to PEP? You must have had a high enough salary to do that. Maybe it's relevant... what are the facts?

The have basic theory tests running every day... the reason you don't see any openings is because they are filled. You need to check every day for cancellations. You need to get off your duff and go on down to a driving center... I like Bukit Batok... and plead your case to the traffic police. Explain to them that you were committed to Singapore's push towards public transportation. Explain that you traveled a lot and didn't need a car, that taxis and MRT got you to the airport. Explain that you have a new job that requires driving.

Ask them to grant you a 12 month waiver to take the BTT. Then ask them to find a spot for you so you can do your job. And like others have said, make damn sure you can pass the test... you can only miss a few questions before you'll have to do a retake. You take the test on a computer, and you know your results immediately. If you pass, you get printout that you take to the traffic police counter along with all the other documents mentioned above. You get issued your license on the spot. Do not forget anything... you will only delay the process.

And finally, you better inform your future employer of your situation NOW. Waiting until the last moment will only put them in an even worse position of discovering the day before you are supposed to start that you are not qualified. Actually, since driving a car is a requirement, I find it odd that they didn't check your driving status before offering you a job... lots of people in Singapore don't have a license. You must tell them... perhaps they have a way around using your UK license... it's not expired, is it? Or perhaps they can push some buttons and get your license expedited. Don't wait until the last minute.

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Re: Confusion over license conversion & worried I can't start new job!

Postby x9200 » Mon, 27 Apr 2015 7:45 am

Hayz6609 wrote:I can't see anything that says you have to do all the training and tests if you don't convert exactly on the 12 months, that really scares me as I just wouldn't have the time to do that - this is turning into a real nightmare!

It doesn't say anything like this literally indeed but it says you have to convert the license within 12 months. What this really means is that they grant you reasonably unconditional right to convert your license only within this period. If you want to do it later, there is no guaranty you get it and if not, you may end up just like any other person without a valid driving license = needing to enroll for the trainings and tests.

Now, on a positive side, it was not that rare to get the license converted without any fuss passed the 12 months mark. The decision seemed to be made on the spot at the traffic police counter within the driving centres. I tend to agree with ecureilx on what he wrote earlier regarding this part - it probably depends on the original driving license country (how difficult is to get it there) and some other factors. My license was converted after 6 years and it was not even in English (but it was pictorially self-explanatory). So was for my wife. Coincidentally or not it is much more difficult to get the license in my country than in Singapore. In Singapore the passing rate for class 3 practical exam is ~60%, in my country ~30%. I am not saying this is something that straight forward as comparing the statistics but could be a part of the puzzle.

Now the important question is, whether anything has changed due to general tightening of different policies involving foreigners.


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