temporary driver's license totally meaningless?!

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okay. I know that posts in thebeijinger forums usually end in "I know China better than you" wars with a lot of f***s and c***s and other unneccessary stuff. Anyway, I hope someone can help or at least finds the information helpful..

after thinking about paying 4600 RMB for a official license without the need to do some weird exams (many agencies offer that), I found the possibility for L-Visa owners (currenty tourist status here..another story) to get a max. 3 month temporary drivers license:

It's easy, just go to airport terminal 3, level 1, pay 20RMB for the photos, 10RM for a health exam and another 10RMB for the actual license. you should be able to write some basic chinese to fill the forms (somehow they were able to read my childish characters, hehe) and you get your license, valid until the expiry date of your L-Visa, with a maximum of 90 days. Its all described here: http://210.75.194.16/publish/portal1/tab165/info10744.htm
When they handed over the license, the girl told me that THIS LICENSE IS ONLY FOR RENTAL CARS and does NOT allow me to have my own car here. No problem since I only wanted to rent one anyway.

In the afternoon I started phone calls to Avis and other car rentals to make a booking. I could write an endless story about that, the final conclusion after dozens of discussions with the call centers (always telling me different rules) was:
You need to be a Beijing resident to rent a car and you need a full chinese drivers license to rent a car. The funny thing is: The temporary DL is only for L-Visa owners, which means that I am a tourist and can't become a BJ resident. So, WHY THE HELL is this tDL even existing?! After calling all listed car rentals on dianping, I found one guy who wanted 5000RMB deposit additionally to the normal fee, then he would rent me a car. Didn't sound very comforting..

So although Avis China has a website where I can make bookings ans actually can read about the temporary DL on the main website (http://www.avischina.com/english/index.jsp):
"Driving in China can appear as being difficult. Additionally a Chinese driver license is mandatory. So it is very usual to rent a car with a driver. Nevertheless a recent change in regulation allows a non-national to drive a car with a temporary licence valid for 3 months. [...] Avis China is entitled by the Chinese authorities to help you to obtain a temporary or standard driving license.":
I still cannot rent a car.

Conclusion: No need to go all the way to the airport, pay airport express fees, photo, healthcert and final fees. Seems like there's no use for my shiny, new TDL.

Or is there anyone who can prove me wrong? Some good car rental out there renting cars to temporaryDL people like me?!

Thanks for your help guys!

PS. dont tell me about renting cars with a driver. I dont want that. I just wanna make some trips around Beijing, without having some weird Chinese driver always sittin in my car..

Well, as far as I know, when just buying a license from an "agent", you run the risk of getting a fake license.

Get caught with a fake license and it's 15 days in jail (for sure) and (not 100 percent sure on this) kicked out of the country.

I've been doing a lot of research on this lately because I need to get my license sometime before winter of this year.

suz13 wrote:
In the afternoon I started phone calls to Avis and other car rentals to make a booking. I could write an endless story about that, the final conclusion after dozens of discussions with the call centers (always telling me different rules) was:
You need to be a Beijing resident to rent a car and you need a full chinese drivers license to rent a car. The funny thing is: The temporary DL is only for L-Visa owners, which means that I am a tourist and can't become a BJ resident. So, WHY THE HELL is this tDL even existing?! After calling all listed car rentals on dianping, I found one guy who wanted 5000RMB deposit additionally to the normal fee, then he would rent me a car. Didn't sound very comforting..

So although Avis China has a website where I can make bookings ans actually can read about the temporary DL on the main website (http://www.avischina.com/english/index.jsp):
"Driving in China can appear as being difficult. Additionally a Chinese driver license is mandatory. So it is very usual to rent a car with a driver. Nevertheless a recent change in regulation allows a non-national to drive a car with a temporary licence valid for 3 months. [...] Avis China is entitled by the Chinese authorities to help you to obtain a temporary or standard driving license.":
I still cannot rent a car.

I'm surprised that the rental places you called wouldn't honour your TDL. I suspect there might be some real legal issues related to how they are setup and/or operate which prevents them from renting to non-Beijing residents (ie-perhaps they don't have the right insurance policies or there's something fishy about how the business is registered). Otherwise there's no reason for them to turn down business. Heck, many car dealerships here will let you test drive their cars with only a foreign DL.

Have you tried contacting Avis China through their website and telling them your story? It'd be interesting to hear their response, plus they might be able to find a place that can rent to you.

By the way, the 5000 RMB deposit is actually normal here. You'll get your deposit back a week or two after you've returned the car, once they're certain that you didn't rack up any traffic fines while it was in your possession.

longdongsilver wrote:
Well, as far as I know, when just buying a license from an "agent", you run the risk of getting a fake license.

Agreed that you run the risk of getting ripped off, but my understanding is that many of these 4000-5000 RMB DL's are actually valid, however issued from wai-di. I know there was a visa agent (who actually posts/advertises here) who was offering DL's from Guangzhou.

longdongsilver wrote:

Get caught with a fake license and it's 15 days in jail (for sure) and (not 100 percent sure on this) kicked out of the country.

If that's the case, then you're probably better off just using your foreign DL and playing ignorant if you get caught. I know this is what many returning overseas Chinese do.

thanks for your answers. seems like nobody has a suggestion for another car rental company in beijing?
anyway, I'll go to guijie this night which is not too far from AVIS dongzhimen. gonna go in there pretending not to know anything and will try to rent a car.

I checked the T&C on the website of Avis CHINA, which made me believe to be able to convince them: https://avi10web06.rent-at-avis.com/avisonline/terms.nsf/TermsByCountryAndLngCategories/CN-GB-Common?OpenDocument#21

I'll post an update tomorrow. In the meantime, if anyone has an idea where it's easier and reasonably cheap to rent a car, feel free... Wink

My dear friend, try Hertz Beijing Airport Counter (email to )

I understand that they do not ask for cash deposit but credit card pre-authorization as security deposit.

The car rental industry in China is quite peculiar and the rental companies are taking extra caution in assessing the creditability of potential renters. So, experienced renters from overseas may find it a hassle.

ps you should not be paying 4600 for a real license. it's more like 800.

and i'd strongly recommend you get one, as it requires you to learn a little bit about the rules here. not that anyone follows them, but you'd do yourself a favor by knowing them, it can't hurt.

Well, Traffic Bureau told everybody at Foreigner Affairs (and on the english website) that a motorcycle license can be obtained through laoshan motorcycle school for any foriegner who wishes to apply. However, when you call the school and ask for registration, you will get enough garbages such as you must have beijing HUKOU to study there. I didn't try to push to ask for a supervisor at the school since I called merely for information. I suppose they will comply to the Traffic Bureau regulations if I push hard enough.

If you still think that there should be some logic behind laws in China, obviously you haven't lived here long enough. Social orders and credibilities are shaky here to begin with. However, I do not attribute the problems to the culture, but the population.

Official license is very necessary for driving.. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks..
japanese culture

To suz13

Quote:
Its all described here: http://210.75.194.16/publish/portal1/tab165/info10744.htm

It's amazing that you can find the Informative url.
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So although Avis China has a website where I can make bookings ans actually can read about the temporary DL on the main website (http://www.avischina.com/english/index.jsp):

Any way this avis is not provide car rental service on their website now.
Quote:
Some good car rental out there renting cars to temporaryDL people like me?!

You may check http://www.beijingesc.com/china-car-rental.html to find out whether it's useful.
Quote:
By the way, the 5000 RMB deposit is actually normal here. You'll get your deposit back a week or two after you've returned the car, once they're certain that you didn't rack up any traffic fines while it was in your possession.

Ehi and CCR don't need deposit, they need credit card pre-authorization. You might wanna see China Car Rental
popoguy wrote:
Quote:
By the way, the 5000 RMB deposit is actually normal here. You'll get your deposit back a week or two after you've returned the car, once they're certain that you didn't rack up any traffic fines while it was in your possession.

Ehi and CCR don't need deposit, they need credit card pre-authorization. You might wanna see China Car Rental

It wouldn't surprise me if the info I posted previously is now out of date. It seems that the car rental market is developing - there have been many ads recently from a rental company in my elevator. This is good news, and will hopefully make people think twice about unnecessary car purchases (the reason folks here often give me for buying a car is so that they can "get out on the weekends").

Ok here's the scoop as of 21, August 2011

Yes it is fairly useless. For me anyway. We were going to do a trip, my friend and I in my own car from ChongQing to Beijing. I have a CDL my friend did not.

So, I went to the Traffic Police Dept office at Terminal 3 at Beijing International Airport to ask if it were possible to get a Temporary Drivers License.

Yes, it is. Based on the validity of the foreign drivers license and the time frame allowed by your China Visa. There may also be some question about which country you came from, or got your license input the officer wasn't forthcoming with details. I cannot imagine why, it's not as if there are many places with worse drivers than here....

Anyway, what made it worthless for us are the catches.

1st it is only valid for driving inside Beijing. You cannot drive elsewhere. If you go to one of the few other cities that issue these permits I suppose you could drive there to, just not from here to there if you understand my meaning.

2nd is that you cannot drive anything except a rental. You cannot borrow or drive a friends car, etc.

Both of these points spoiled the party for me. I ended up doing the drive anyway but instead of doing it with my friend for company I had my non-English speaking company driver along for the ride incase of emergency. Oh joy.

Well, that is it. Maybe one day the government will bring this place into the modern age where it pertains to making things convenient for tourists.

I just returned from Beijing ( April 12, 2014) where I got my temporary driving permit. The process could not have been easier. In Terminal 3 I went to the police station where three lovely officers walked me through the process and also filled out the forms for me in Chinese. They also gave me a Chinese name, a direct translation of my name, of which I am very proud. They sent me to the First Aid station, one floor up, where I had my eye examination for a fee of 10 RMB. I did not have to take a test, but I am happy to have studied the driving rules as there are a few signs peculiar to Chinese driving. I strongly recommend taking practice tests on the Chinese driving web site. Knowing the rules made me a much more comfortable driver. I walked out of the police station with my new shining Chinese license, valid for three months, in less than one hour.

You need three photos. Make sure that they are not larger than one inch. Both ears, the top of your head and your neck must fit within one inch.

Renting a car was a different story. Before leaving for Beijing I reserved my car with Hertz and I received a reservation number. No other rental company would rent a car in Beijing. In the airport, there is no car rental office in Terminal three, or anywhere else. I called the number on my reservation but I could not communicate with them as they only spoke Chinese. I went to my hotel by taxi. The next day I asked the hotel concierge to call for me the car rental company. It took numerous phone calls and in the afternoon and I finally got an appointment for the next day in front of Terminal three to get a car. I went to terminal three but nobody showed up. I begged several tourist information booths at the airport to help me and make a phone call. I spent the entire morning chasing this chinese car rental company affiliated with Hertz. Finally at midday a car picked me up and took me to the car rental parking lot not far from the terminal. Nobody in the office spoke English. I had the impression that they never rented a car to a tourist before. The process was long and messy. Finally I signed for a car requesting additional insurance to cover a potentially disastrous liability risk. I had to give a preliminary authorization on the credit card for 3000 RMB plus 2000 RMB to cover in advance potential traffic tickets. In the afternoon I drove away with my car well aware that I was taking an enormous risk. The weekly fee for a compact car including the extra insurance was 2300 RMB, not really expensive.

So you CAN rent I car but be prepared to a long and painful struggle. Don't give up!