A foreigner driving a vehicle with a Temporary Driving License in Sri Lanka!
Drive with a Temporary Driving License in Sri Lanka!

If you are a passionate traveler, then Sri Lanka must be on your bucket list already. Well, there are many transportation methods to travel around Sri Lanka. You can travel by bus or train if you prefer public transportation. If not, you can hire a taxi, or rent a vehicle and drive yourself. However, traveling by public transportation can be quite exhausting and time-consuming. Therefore, renting a vehicle and driving by yourself can be a fun and effective method to travel around this splendid island. Then, you can have high flexibility with your travel schedules, and visit some lesser-known places as well. Yet, it is important that you have the necessary permission and official documents for the process. In fact, you need to obtain a temporary driving license to drive around Sri Lanka.

Need more information with regard? Keep calm, and continue reading!

Can Tourists Drive in Sri Lanka?

Yes, you can drive around Sri Lanka as a tourist. But obviously, there are certain qualifications that you should have beforehand.

First of all, you must have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to drive in Sri Lanka. Make sure that your IDP is valid beforehand. Besides, it is essential to have a basic understanding of road rules and regulations.

Moreover, it is essential to rent a vehicle as well. Even though in many countries only the IDP is enough to drive around, in Sri Lanka, it is a bit different. Along with the IDP, you also need to obtain a temporary Sri Lankan driving license. Well, it will sound like there is a long process behind taking one. But in reality, it is a rather easy process and will probably take around 2 hours if you have all the necessary qualifications and documents.

Scroll down and you will get to know all about this process as you continue reading!

How to Obtain a Temporary Driving License?

The Department of Motor Traffic issues temporary driving licenses. It is important that you go through all the steps in the correct order, in order to obtain a temporary driving license without any hassles. So, here’s all you need to know about it if you are planning to drive around Sri Lanka.

Who is Eligible for a Temporary Driving License in Sri Lanka?

There are certain occasions when a person is considered suitable for obtaining a temporary driving license.

Sri Lankans can get a temporary driving license when they hand over their current license to the Department of Motor Traffic in order to get it renewed or for any such purpose.

Besides, tourists coming to Sri Lanka under a visiting visa and planning to stay less than two months can also apply for a temporary driving license.

However, you won’t be able to take a temporary driving license to drive a lorry or motor coach.

Where to Go to Get a Temporary Driving License in Sri Lanka?

You can obtain your verification for the temporary driving license from the Department of Motor Traffic. It is in Werahera, which is a town, just 35 minutes away from the heart of Colombo.

You can either take a bus from Colombo or else take a tuk-tuk or a taxi to Werahera. But the department is closed on Sundays and public holidays. You will find some online sites which claim that they can help to get a driving license but for some payment. However, it is better to avoid such sites and call the department itself if you have any questions.

What are the Required Documents?

This is probably the most important part of obtaining a temporary driving license. So, before your visit to the department, make sure that you have all the necessary documents with you. It will make your visit to the department easier.

First of all, you need to take your passport along with a copy of your passport. Then, take a copy of your issued Sri Lankan Visa. You will also need to take a valid driving license issued from your country also with a copy. Furthermore, you will also need to take your IDP. Make sure to translate your licenses into the English language if they are in your native language. Also, it is better to take 2 passport-size photos of yourself to use just in case. This is essential if the duration of your visa is less than 15 days.

These documents are essential to obtaining a temporary driving license. 

What is the Process?

Once you enter the Department of Motor Traffic, you will be able to notice that everything is well organized and the buildings are labeled according to alphabetical order. Before entering the premises, state your purpose of visit to a security officer and he will direct you to the relevant counter.

In fact, there are several counters in the department that you have to visit to get the job done. On the first counter, you have to verify your documents. Then, at another counter, you have to get scanned copies of your documents. Afterward, you will be directed to another counter where you have to make the payments. After going through these steps, you will be able to get the final approval. Make sure that you are in the correct counters during the procedure.

How Long is a Temporary Driving License Valid in Sri Lanka?

Obviously, there is a limited time period when you can use the temporary driving license to drive in Sri Lanka. It is usually just 30 days. You will obtain your license printed out on a piece of paper and you can use this document to drive on Sri Lankan roads. You will be able to cover a lot of amazing destinations during these 30 days.

The Bottom Line

The Department of Motor Traffic opens at 9 am and it is better to visit the office early in the morning to have a hassle-free procedure. And also, don’t forget to take cash, and cards are non-acceptable at the counters. If you have fulfilled all the requirements, the whole process will be so easy and the temporary driving license will be in your hand in no time. After that, you will have the time of your life driving around the paradise island. Happy and safe traveling!