Based on my research it's difficult to get a Chinese driving license as tourist and expensive to have an obligated local guide. So I look for an alternative.
Is it possible to hire an (English speaking) Chinese driver, who drive you thru China in your own car? He deal with police and the Chinese traffic sign, but you stay flexible in your route and can bring your car thru China. (Not import, just in and out)

It's about a Chinese driver in a foreign car, and not about Chinese driving license or Chinese plates.

  • 4
    As far as I know, it's illegal to drive in China on any plates except Chinese. In other words, only cars registered in China are legally allowed on Chinese roads. Therefore you'd need to re-register your own car in China, which I doubt is achievable as a tourist.
    – Aleks G
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 10:50
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    Thanks Aleks for your quick answer! Regarding to this link it should be possible to get a "Registration of Temporary Entry Vehicles" bjjtgl.gov.cn/publish/portal1/tab184
    – Adi Probst
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 11:34
  • Very interesting, indeed. How long are you planning to stay in China? It may take you longer than that to get the temporary registration.
    – Aleks G
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 12:22
  • I'm not yet sure about my trip. One idea I had was 3 month from Europe to China and then an other 3 month (90 days Visa) thru China until go further to Laos or Vietnam. With prepared Chinese dokuments for the plates and a Chinese driver. I just could nowhere find information if this is legal. My idea was be offical a "guest" of the driver to go freely.
    – Adi Probst
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 12:29
  • Language is going to be a big trouble. I realized (during my visit 2 weeks ago), it's not that hard to drive in China. Get a real good map and watch out for people crossing the road when the red light is on. I actually used a foot cycle and had nothing to worry about. There are sign boards in English. Unfortunately it's real hard to find a taxi driver, odd a driver willing to drive your vehicle, speaking English. Good luck.
    – AKS
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


You can easily get a 30-day temporary tourist licence at the Traffic Police Motor Vehicle Service Station in Beijing airport terminal 3 (and probably at other traffic bureaus depending on your point of entry into China). You will need to bring your international driver's licence, a translation of that licence into Chinese, 3 passport pictures (35x25mm), a hotel registration (unless you've just arrived) and a provisional driving permit application form. Chinese translation form: http://motorhome-china.com/images/2012_05_Drivers_License_Translation_Form.pdf Permit application form: http://motorhome-china.com/images/2012_05_Provisional_Driving_Permit_Application_Form.pdf

On the day you might get someone that speaks good English, or you might not. It's luck of the draw.

You must get an eye test which costs about 10 RMB. There's a place on the second floor called The First Aid Station.

Then you need to go back down and pay another 10 RMB and you will be issued with a laminated temporary licence.

However, if you do want to hire a car and driver there are many places that offer it. Just search Google and you'll find companies like this http://www.shanghaidriver.net/en/index.php.

Look around and you can find daily rates from around 400 yuan, or up to 800 yuan for someone with a good clean, modern car.

  • You realise he's wanting to drive his OWN (ie from home) car, which means he's probably not arriving at the airport, but more likely through a border, say, from Russia or Mongolia?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 12:51
  • Yes, understood. The question itself doesn't state an entry point and my answer was given as an example that it is possible to get a driver's licence. I assume that there will be the equivalent office in major centres. If they have to get a registration of temporary entry then they'll need to travel somewhere with a similar office - probably be able to get it from the same place. This not being able to comment until you get 50 points is restrictive. The link given in the comments is specific to Beijing, too, so the answer is designed to help in that it gives the actual forms required.
    – Darren
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 12:58
  • Thanks Darren! Yes, I knew that I can get a temporary driving license, ok maybe not on the border from Mongolia but possible. What I read so far if I want to drive around China by my self I need to have a local tourguide/offical officer and tell the gov. in advance my route. I'm not allowed to drive freely by my own. So thats my question about having a Chinese driver and be his "guest"
    – Adi Probst
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:29
  • No problems - my understanding also is that if you get a licence you cannot drive around the whole of China and that it will be constrained within a certain area like Beijing. You could try unconventional ways of finding a chauffeur, e.g. looking on freelancer websites for people working in China such as odesk.com
    – Darren
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:33
  • Here they said with the Itinerary tour: china-driving.com/en/itineraries/driving Thanks for the link for a freelancer. Do you think this is legal to discover China? Before I or the driver go to prison in China. ;-)
    – Adi Probst
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:44

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