Unfortunately, you can’t get behind the wheel in China without a Chinese driver’s license.
An International Driving Permit or other foreign driver’s licenses are not recognized here.
But earlier this month, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security announced a set of pilot policies that aimed at simplifying the procedure of getting temporary driver’s permits for foreign nationals. From now on, you can apply for a temporary driver’s permit (for cars only) without physical examinations/medical reports. All you need is your passport and your foreign driving license with a notarized Chinese translation.
When you arrive at Pudong or Hongqiao airport, apply directly at Ehi Car Rental Service, Shanghai’s first licensed agency for handling and issuing temporary driving permits for overseas visitors.
The permit is valid for one year and before its expiry, and you don’t need to reapply next time you make a trip to China. According to Ehi Car Rental Service, soon enough online application services will be provided, meaning you’ll have the permit ready to be collected at the entry points before you land.
Like all major bureaucratic changes, this may need some time to be fully operational. But Ehi already had a press conference to announce the change publicly.
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