I plan to drive in China and need a Chinese driving license. Why? Because international driver's license are not recognized and only if you have a residence permit for China, you can apply for a Chinese driver`s license. The visa should be valid for 3 month or longer. This means I need to make the test! How I did it:
1. I asked for help
2. Make the photos at a photo shop
3. We looked at a Chinese name (in case you don`t have one)
4. Went to the dedicated hospital to get the health certificate
5. Translated all documents
6. Applied at the Motor Vehicle Administration and booked a date
7. Went to the Motor Vehicle Administration again and did the test
8. Got 3 days later my Chinese Driving License
In case you don`t speak or write Chinese you need some help from a Chinse friend, college or you can take professional help for all the paperwork and translation. All the paperwork, hospital and registration took us about 5 hours.
Preparing for the test?
I just learned with a app on my smart phone. Whenever I had time (taxi or subway ride, at home, etc) I went through the 1300 questions on the app. I had no other material for preparation. I took me around 3 weeks.
Some people say, they passed without learning. Because there are at least 300-400 questions which needs a certain training (e.g. what are the penalties, certain road signs, special rules in China) I couldn't have passed the test without studying. In the test you get 100 questions and need 90% to pass. Also consider that there are new questions in the test.
There is the official documentation for the Chinese Driving License: Holder of foreign driver's license applying for a driver's license
I. Applicants go to the motor vehicle administration to apply. Holder of a valid foreign driver's license can apply for a license to drive the same type of vehicle(s) listed on his/her foreign driver's license. 'International driver's license' will not be accepted.
II. Required documentation:
(1) Driver's license application form
(2) Applicant's original and photo copy identification documents
(3) Original health certificate issued by hospital of county level or above. Holder of a valid foreign driver's license from foreign embassies, consulates and international organizations China's office needs not to provide health certificate.
(4) Original foreign driver’s license and photo copy. Driver's license in non-Chinese language must attach a Chinese translation.
(5) 5 1-inch color photos with a white background
(1) After the Motor Vehicle Administration accepts the application, the applicant may reserve a time for the Course 1 test. If applying to drive large-size passenger vehicles, tractor, mid-size passenger vehicles, mid or large-size freight vehicles, the applicant must also reserve a time to take the Course 3 test
(2) Course 1 and 3 test can be taken one time, and may be re-taken one time. If the applicant fails the exam twice, the tests are over. He/she has to re-apply for the tests. But the test for Course 3 must be reserved 20 days later. Note, within validity period of 'Driving Test Permit', any test that was passed serves as the applicant's current status.
(3) Applicant who exhibits inappropriate or fraudulent behaviour during the exam process will have his/her qualification for the test will be nullified, and all previous results will be invalidated.
IV. License issuance
After the applicant has passed all exams, the Motor Vehicle Administration will issue the driver's license within five business days.
Good luck for your test.