Getting a Motorcycle License in Taiwan

So, you’ve been thinking about getting some transportation, but you don’t want to layout the cash for a car? Driving a motorcycle in Taiwan isn’t as scary as you might think, but of course you’ll want to get the proper papers in hand before you venture out. Here’s everything you need to know about getting a motorcycle license in Taiwan.

Validity of International Driving Licences

The holder of an international driving licence is only allowed to drive on that licence during the first thirty consecutive days of the holder having landed in Taiwan, and only to drive the group(s) of vehicles designated on the licence.

If the holder is applying for an Alien Residence Certificate (A.R.C.), then the validity of the licence can be extended to cover the period of the holder’s extended residence, up to a maximum of one year. Re-application of the licence extension must be made after its date of expiry.

If a non-A.R.C. holder leaves Taiwan and then re-enters, then the standard international licence validity period of thirty consecutive days from landing re-applies.

If required, licences can be extended upon reaching the thirty day expiry date.

International Licence Extension

To extend an international licence for use beyond the holder’s initial thirty days after landing in Taiwan, the applicant will need to go to one of the main Motor Vehicles Offices in their area and provide:

  •  their International Driving Licence
  • their passport or A.R.C. (Alien Resident Certificate)
  • a passport photo.

The process should usually be completed within a few minutes and documents will be returned immediately. The original international licence will have an additional piece of paper attached (called a “visa” by the authorities) and notarized with a rubber stamp. There is no charge for this service.

Please refer to the list of reciprocating countries for information on validity and acceptance of relevant international licences for use in Taiwan as not all licences may be accepted for use.

Local Licences and Testing

Motorcycles

There are separate licence categories for motorcycles. Each has been listed with a description of the licence restrictions, requirements, basic costs and process for each one.

‘Light Motorcycle’  licence (49cc and under)

Minimum age of 18 years

Requirements:

  • Application form (available at testing centre)
  • 1 inch passport style photo taken within the last 6 months (black and white or colour)
  • A locally issued I.D. card or A.R.C. card with a minimum 1 year validity period
  • NT$100 Health Check, NT$125 registration fee, NT$250 Road Test including Theory Test, NT$125 Road test only, NT$200 licence card fee

Licensing and testing hours: Mon to Fri, 8:00 ~ 11:00  13:00 ~ 16:00 (booking not required)

Process:

  • Submit a completed application form on arrival at the test centre.
  • Submit to a basic physical exam (see ‘physical exam’)
  • Complete a computer-based multiple choice theory exam (see ‘theory exam’)
  • Complete a practical motorcycle course (you must provide your own ‘light motorcycle’ – see ‘motorcycle course’)
  • Collect your licence which will be provided immediately at the centre (upon successful completion of all criteria)

‘Normal, Heavy Motorcycle’ Licence (50cc up to 249cc)

Minimum age of 18 years

Requirements:

  • Application form (available at testing centre)
  • 1 inch passport style photo taken within 6 months (black and white or colour)
  • A locally issued I.D. card or A.R.C. card with a minimum 1 year validity period
  • NT$100 Health Check, NT$125 registration fee, NT$250 Road Test including Theory Test, NT$125 Road test only, NT$200 licence card fee

Licensing and testing hours: Mon to Fri, 8:00 ~ 11:00  13:00 ~ 16:00 (booking not required)

Process:

  • Submit a completed application form on arrival at the test centre.
  • Submit to a basic physical exam (see ‘physical exam’)
  • Complete a computer based multiple choice theory exam (see ‘theory exam’)
  • Complete a practical motorcycle course (you must provide your own ‘light motorcycle’ – see ‘motorcycle course’)
  • Collect your licence which will be provided immediately at the centre (upon successful completion of all criteria)

‘Large, Heavy Motorcycle’ Licence (250cc and over)

Minimum age of 20 years

Must have held a ‘Normal, Heavy Motorcycle’ Licence  for at least one full year

All applicants must book at an official, licensed practice and testing centre and will be tested on a practical course at the centre on an allotted date. Not all official Motor Vehicle Offices will offer this course.

Requirements:

  • Application form (available at testing centre)
  • 1 inch passport style photo taken within 6 months (black and white or colour)
  • Large, heavy motorcycles are generally available at the testing centres

Process:

  • Submit to a basic physical exam (see ‘physical exam’)
  • Submit a completed application form at a licenced training/testing centre
  • Complete a seven-day instructional course at an approved training facility including practice time
  • Perform the course for a testing examiner on a given date and time by the testing centre
  • Collect your ‘large, heavy motorcycle licence’ (upon successful completion of all criteria) which may or may not be provided immediately, depending on the centre.

Total costs for this licence will vary depending on the pricing structure of the testing centre. An estimated total cost of obtaining this licence may typically be between NT$5,000 and NT$8,000. The price of lessons may be negotiated with some private centres.

Physical Exam

About:

The examination is a non-intrusive exam which takes into account the applicant’s general physical abilities. No blood tests or samples of any kind are obtained during this test.

The test consists of:

  • Eyesight, including distance, peripheral and colour blindness.
  • Measurements including height and weight.
  • Motor skills including the ability to squat down, stand up and wriggle all ten fingers.
  • Hearing, including both left and right ears.

Physical Examination Centre locations:

Some of the main Motor Vehicles Offices may have onsite physical examination facilities, in which case the physical examination can be carried out at the same time as the application for a motor vehicle licence. Call ahead to confirm the M.V.O. has a physical examination department, or ask them where you might otherwise find a local examination centre, clinic or hospital which will offer the relevant, stamped paperwork required for the licence application.

A list of official health exam centres in the Taipei area:

台北市監理處北區分處 : 台北市承德路5段80號。

Taipei City Motor Vehicles Office : No.80, Section 5 Chengde Road, Taipei City.

Telephone (02) 2831-4155

西區代辦處 : 台北市萬華區和平西路3段345號。

Taipei, Western District office: No.345, Section 3, Heping West Road, Wanhua District, Taipei.

Telephone (02) 2302-7709

 

忠孝醫院 : 台北市同德路87號。

Zhongshiao Hospital: No. 87, Tongde Road, Taipei City.

Telephone (02) 2786-1288

和平醫院 : 台北市中華路2段33號。

Heping Hospital: No 33, Section 2, Zhonghua Road, Taipei City.

Telephone (02) 2388-9608

 

仁愛醫院 : 台北市仁愛路4段10號。

Ren’ai Hospital: No. 10, Section 4, Ren’ai Road, Taipei City.

Telephone (02) 2709-3600

Theory Exam

The theory exam is presently a computer-based multiple choice exam consisting of approximately thirty five questions. Most of these questions will be based on driving ‘theory’ and the rest on traffic signs. A pass of 85 percent is expected on this portion of the exam. Re-testing may be done after a minimum of seven days in the event of a failure.

An online practice page is available to candidates to help understand the nature of the exam and the type of questions expected to be encountered.

For those who are applying for a motorcycle licence and already hold a car licence, then the ‘Theory Exam’ need not be taken.

It may be worth noting that there is presently no standard test for Taiwan and both questions and answers may differ from centre to centre. It is advised to practice the online portion of the test linked above and then take the test at the Taipei City, Chende Rd. Centre as both questions and answers should be identical to those posted online. A revision of the theory test has been made, however, and the new standard test is expected to be implemented in all Taiwan testing centres from April 1st 2010. In addition to the standardization of the test, there will also be a multitude of additional questions which aim to make the test more comprehensive. The practical portion of the exam is not expected to change, however, which will no doubt mean that the general expected skill set of local riders will remain poor.

 

Motorcycle Course

The practical motorcycle course for all but the ‘Large, Heavy Motorcycle’ licence is a simple course consisting of various challenges. These courses are standard testing tracks and can be found at many of the M.V.O.s in Taiwan. The course [depending on volume of applicants] generally takes only two or three minutes to complete.

A total of seventy points or above are needed to pass this portion of the test.

Re-testing may be done after a minimum of seven days in the event of a failure.

Challenges and Instructions for Taiwan’s Motorcycle Road Test:

 

  1. Straight line balance and low speed test:  The rider must ride in a straight line down a narrow stretch of track. The track is approximately 60cm wide and ten meters long. The track must be covered in no less than seven seconds. No feet can touch the ground and the sides of the track must not be touched or an alarm will sound. Two attempts at this procedure are allowed.
  2. Railroad Crossing:  The rider must always stop before a mock railroad crossing line. The rider may continue after the alarm and lights turn off, or after pretending to give way to a train.
  3. Traffic Light:  Riders must follow the instruction of a mock traffic light. If the traffic light is not working, then rider must pretend to give way to other vehicles in a stopped position before the line. After a time or after a green light the rider may move on to the next challenge.
  4. Pedestrian Crossing:  Regardless of whether the light is flashing or not riders must stop before a line at a mock pedestrian crossing light. Once the light has gone off or after a short time has passed the rider may move on.

Points deductions

6 points will be deducted for each foot that touches the ground during riding (not stopping).

8 points will be deducted for a single engine stall.

32 points will be deducted for falling or other accidents.

16 points will be deducted for wheels depressing track-bordering pipes.

2 points will be deducted for “kangaroo hopping” or jerking of the motorcycle whilst moving forwards.

2 points will be deducted for improper operation of a clutch.

2 points will be deducted for improper control of the accelerator.

2 points will be deducted for “improper use of turn signals” (you don’t need them).

 

So there you go! Getting a motorcycle license in Taiwan is actually one of the more straightforward processes you’ll encounter here. It’s fast, easy, and that little piece of paper gives you license to really explore Taiwan.