PSA : You Still Need Physical Driving Licence Overseas!

Please be warned – you still need a physical driving licence when you are driving overseas! Your digital driving licence is most likely not valid or legal overseas!


Fined Overseas For Not Having Physical Driving Licence!

In May 2023, two Malaysian men were fined for failing to produce their physical driving licences in Thailand.

Both men were stopped by police while riding motorcycles on car lanes in Phuket. When the Thai police officer asked for their driving licence,  they showed their digital driving licences using the MyJPJ app.

However, the Thai police officer said that their digital driving licences were not valid, even though the men explained Malaysia adopted the digital driving licence in February 2023.

In the end, both men had to pay a compound at the police station for not having a valid driving licence.

Even though the incident occurred several months ago, the issue only went viral after the men posted their video in Twitter on 3 August 2023.

Recommended : Malaysia Adopts Digital Driving Licence In MyJPJ App!


PSA : You Still Need Physical Driving Licence Overseas!

Please be warned that even though Malaysia has adopted the digital driving licence (e-LLM) since 10 February 2023, it is only valid in Malaysia, and not overseas!

In the future, other countries will likely accept digital driving licences, but until that happens, you still need to bring and use a physical driving licence while driving overseas.

On 5 August 2023, Malaysia Transport Minister Anthony Loke commented on the two Malaysian men who were fined in Thailand for failing to produce a physical driving licence. He said that the digital licence is only valid in Malaysia.

He pointed out that the matter (of accepting digital licences) was subject to laws in that country, and the ministry has no authority to determine how laws in other countries are enforced.

He also said that the Road Transport Department (JPJ) will continue to issue physical driving licences, so those who wish to drive overseas should apply for one at JPJ branches when renewing their driving licence.

We have no stopped the issuance of physical copies of driving licences, so if they want to drive in a country that requires a physical licence then they can apply for it at RTD counters when renewing their licence.
– Malaysia Transport Minister Anthony Loke

Recommended : JPJ : Renew Driving Licence Or Retake Full Driving Test!


Physical Driving Licence Only Available In JPJ Branches

Truth be told – this was already mentioned when the digital driving licence was adopted in February 2023. This was what I pointed out back then:

JPJ will continue to offer the physical driving licence to motorists who still prefer it, or need one to drive overseas.

But understandably, many of us probably missed that part. Or forgot that foreign governments may not readily accept the new digital driving licence.

While I’m here, I should also point out that the physical driving licence is now available only at JPJ branches. This may be a bit of a hassle, since it used to be available in Pos Malaysia branches too.

But the good news is – you can now renew your driving licence for 10 years, with a 10% discount to boot! So this should be a once-in-a-decade hassle.


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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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