Long-term Student Basics – Registration & the Driving Test in China


Test and Drive in Beijing : First, get your driving license

Now that you are enrolled in the university and all is settled with your dormitory and courses. What next ? You need a driving license to your next adventure while you are studying in Beijing. Where to go to get your driving license ? Some people may advice you to contact an agency such as FESCO or STauto or Beijing expat service, but you can do it and spare 800 – 1000 RMB service fee if you know how to do it yourself.

If you already have your driving license from your home country, it will be easier. To get the standard C1 Chinese driving license, you will need to take a writing exam, good news is we don’t have to take a road test. First, go to the Main Traffic Bureau to make a schedule for your test date two weeks before you are ready for the test. During this two weeks you have plenty of time to study for the test. The writing test is available in several international language and you can get the book test by FESCO or you could also download Chinadrive or ChinaNao application to practice the test.

Before you go to the Main Traffic Bureau, it is better that you prepare the following :

·       Your passport and visa validity minimum of 3 months (for any type of visa)

·       Residence permit (stamped by local police station unless you live in dormitory at the university)

·       Your original driving license from your home country (original, copy and Chinese translation)

·       6 inched sized photo identity (a size smaller than standard ID photo)

·       Medical record stating you have normal eyesight and some other minor things, you just let them know, it is for driving license

·       50 RMB cash for registration fee

Those are the requirement that you need, don’t forget to prepare your Chinese name as it will be written in your license. The test will be held at the Main Traffic Bureau, when you get to the main building go left to small stairs where it leads to foreign bureau department, you will have to be there 10 minutes before the test starts and you would have to take 90 % out of 100 to pass the test. If you fail, then you can have another test within two weeks for free, and if you fail again you will need to pay 50 RMB and schedule for the third test for another two weeks and so on. The traffic bureau will issue your Chinese driving license within 5 days.

Important address :

Main Traffic Bureau (or The Foreign Affairs Department of Beijing Motor Vehicle Administration as it’s actually called): No. 18 Southeast 4th ring, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100023, Tel.: 87625150. 

In Chinese:  

车辆管理所总所 涉外管理科办理 朝阳区南四环东路18 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 20 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the book test :

Beijing FESCO Chen Guang Service
Address: Room No. 318, FESCO Building, No. 14 Chaoyangmen Nan Dajie Street, Chaoyang District
Tel: 86-10-85616663, 85606060, 85636833

Medical test :

Beijing Capital International Airport Hospital or the Chaoyang District No. 2 hospital.  


2. Re-new your registration form of temporary residence

You just got back from your holiday and you want to extend your visa, but the immigration told you to renew your “Registration form of temporary residence” issued by the police station (Pai Chu Suo). What happened? Don’t get dazed and confused, it happened to me too. I have a valid visa and residence permit before I went on holiday for 2 months. When I got back to Beijing and plan to renew my visa, they asked me to renew my registration form of temporary residence first. Why ? because I have already went out from Beijing and the stamp on my passport stated my new arrival in this country that was why I need to go back to the police station and renew my residence permit before I extended my visa. So we need to be aware every time we go abroad we need to go to police station to register again upon our arrival regardless we still have the valid form at home, because if you neglect this, once when you extended your visa they will check your arrival date stamped on your passport.

This is just a normal procedure to get a residence permit in Beijing, it is free and you can get it pretty quick everywhere. This is also a requirement shall you need to have surgery or in patient treatment at the hospital. You need to get a residence permit from the police to check into hospital or hotel.

To register is simple you need to bring your ID and copy of your rental contract along with the landlord ID, for the first registration you may need a photo ID. Hope this will help you get through all the documents required to settle down for a while in Beijing. Enjoy your stay!!



Lauren has worked in economic policy and research at the World Bank, World Economic Forum, EIU and for the governments of Sierra Leone and Guyana. She has learned Chinese since 1995, and lived in Beijing for almost six years, on and off since 1997. Lauren has a PhD in Economics from Peking University, an MSc in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a B.A/B.Com from the University of Melbourne.

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