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Driving moto/ cars legally in Vietnam

Vietnam ultimate experience: Motorbike Buying, owning, riding and Insuring for easy rides in the country fabulous landscapes

Enjoying ownership and riding a motorbike in Vietnam is on most Expat to-do-list. Nowadays, Vietnam has followed western countries, you need to do it by the rules.

You should also know the compulsory documents and insurances attached to riding a motorbike: namely driving license, moto compulsory insurance and travel or medical insurance validity.

Buying a motorbike in Vietnam

Buying, owning a motorbike sounds easy… but it is not. Most expatriates can not prove ownership of a motorbike

There are 2 situations possible: 

  1. Whether you buy a brand new moto from the dealership, they will need to arrange adequate paperworks so the moto is under your name. Issuing the green card ‘cavet’ (comes from France carte verte, ancient registration card)
  2. Or it is 2nd hand, then you need to make sure you become the owner by changing the caveat to your name. Which again attracts 3 sets of checks:
    1. The name on cavet is matching the ID of the seller, and the seller register a new cavet under your name
    2. the name does not match then the seller needs to find the 1st owner of the cavet
    3. you can not find the original owner, therefore you can not legally be the owner. Any written paper is useless as proof as the actual and valid cavet is the document the police would want to see. Of course, they have the registration number and the current owner on their computer system.

NB. Registering ownership by issuing a cavet is subject to your legal status, duration of your stay in Vietnam and your immigration visa type.


Owning & Riding a motorbike in Vietnam

Now you own a motorbike for which you need a driving license, so you can drive legally. Subject to: you are on a visa stay more than 3-months:

You may fall into 3 categories, set aside the electric vehicles that are not considered motorbikes needing driving license:

  1. You have a driving license valid in your home country that you can translate and convert into a Vietnamese driving license. It is easy if your country have exchange agreements with Vietnam and in a couple of days you are a happy legit driver.
  2. You own a motorbike below 175cc, you will need the A1 license, then the above 1- converted license can be used or an easy test can be taken.
  3. You purchased above 175cc motorbike then the A2 license  is what you will need.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW that depending on the medical insurance you purchased, in case of moto (or car) insurance in Vietnam, YOUR CLAIMS MAY NOT BE PAID if you can not prove you have a valid motorbike license at the time of the accident.

Note: If you don’t speak Vietnamese, some expats managed to get their driving license, a good memory will help to answer the A1 license=21 questions out of 25  or the license A2=23 questions/25 questions (out of 200 for A1 / out of 450 for A2) within 19 minutes. Then the practice ride on the street.


Motorbike Insurance in Vietnam

There are 3 parts of the insurance purchase (1 compulsory, 2 voluntary) when it comes to vehicles, especially for moto insurance due to increased risk:

  1. Compulsory 3rd party liability insurance: when it comes to insuring, it is very easy as anyone can purchase the compulsory insurance for public liability at VND66,000/year that covers up to VND100Mio for bodily injury or material damage per occurrence. This is the yellow paper that is requested by the police and usually goes together with the motorbike, even new ones as it is… compulsory! Or you can buy in most petrol stations or renew it by calling the current issuer of the insurance that is most probably a mainstreet issuer like Bao Viet, Pijico, PetroVietnam…

Of course, some owners forget to renew yearly even though the police request it more and more so they can ‘fine’ you more.

You may want to buy additional voluntary insurance for:

  1. The property value of your purchase
  2. The passengers accident insurance for medical costs, disability or life protection

IMPORTANT NOTE: though you anyone can purchase the insurance policy, the proceeds of the refund money for property will go to the cavet owner stated.

For driver or passengers medical treatment costs, the insurer will refund on nominated insured. For life and disability insurance the money will go to any legitimate driver and passenger regardless of nomination.

In conclusion

Vietnam riding is a lot of freedom, driving licenses and insurances have followed the same steps as the western countries. It is not because most locals dont play by the books and have their way around, that you should. For expatriates and long-term stay, it is best to spend the time making sure you really own on a cavet the moto you buy. And or course, you are not above the law, get a proper driving license issued by Vietnam authorities.

Feel free to email us at to quote specific needs for the value of the moto, your health accidental coverage.

Bon voyage,

You can also read top #8 reasons Expat buy car or moto insurance

insurance in Asia

Not only health insurance is different but most general insurance: accident, life, home, travel, office or even car insurance will be different than your past experiences.