What’s being done to ease the bureaucracy surrounding changes to driving licences? 

In order for drivers to have a valid licence for use in other countries, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport has announced that all Lao driving licences must carry details in English. But this can only be done at the Vehicle Registration and Driving Licence Division, which is a long way from the city centre. Vientiane Times asked people for their ideas about what the ministry could do to simplify the process.


Mr Kommaly Soulima, an official from Xaysettha district: While I was shopping with my family at ITECC Mall I saw the Vientiane Vehicle Registration and Driving Licence Division booth that was set up there temporarily. This was a great idea because it meant we could renew or change our driving licences without having to go all the way to the Vehicle Registration and Driving Licence Division in Thongpong village, which is several kilometres away. I think that if the Ministry of Public Works and Transport could repeat the service provided at ITECC Mall it would probably bring in more revenue for the government’s budget. I’m sure many people haven’t yet registered for a driving licence because they can’t make it all the way to Thongpong. If service centres were set up closer to the city centre or in local communities it would make things much easier and save a lot of time. I had to wait three hours to get an English language translation of and renew my driving licence. At the moment there’s only one unit offering this service, and only from November 15-25. The government should set up service centres in every shopping mall in Vientiane or at other convenient locations.

Ms Ketkeo Losawanh, a student at the National University of Laos:  I read on Facebook that we all had to get an English language translation of our driving licence, but I just don’t know where to do this. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport should set up a special service for university students, especially as many of us come from the provinces and it’s very inconvenient to have to go back home and get this done. I think it’s a good idea to help drivers by enabling them to make this change at places like ITECC Mall and during big events like festivals.

Mr Santi, a resident of Khammuan province: When I saw the news on Facebook that our Lao language driving licences weren’t valid in other countries I was worried. But then I found out that a booth would be set up at the ITECC Mall for the duration of the That Luang festival, so I thought I would check with officials about what I should do. But then I realised that my licence has English as well as Lao details on it, so I don’t need to change it and can continue to use my existing licence without any problem. It would be more convenient if there were more places where we could deal with matters relating to driving licences, or do it electronically or on our mobile phones.

Mr Soutchai Thavyvan, an official at the Vehicle Registration and Driving Licence Division:  You only need to bring your identity card picture, registration form and driving licence to one of our officials. I promise it’s not as difficult as everyone seems to think. You need to be sure of the details before you make any changes to your licence. The ministry is planning to introduce an electronic system to enable everyone to register via a mobile phone, so you won’t need to go all the way to Thongpong to deal with any changes. Once you’ve got the English details on your licence you won’t be in breach of the law and can use it in all Asean countries.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update November 25, 2018)

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