If you live and work in Vietnam then you probably need a motorbike driving licence. The bad news is that the driver licence from your country of origin is not valid in Vietnam (Update: Now, in 2015, it should be fine driving a motorbike in Vietnam with the driving licence issued in your country of origin). The good news is that based on your driving licence from your country of origin you can get a Vietnamese driving licence.
The procedure of getting a driving licence in Vietnam for foreigners is much more simplified now. It is not easy if you don’t have a driving licence in your country of origin. If that is the case then you must have a writing test, which is in Vietnamese language. Anyway, here I am talking about those who have a driving licence in their native country (doesn’t matter the category) and want to obtain the Vietnamese driving licence.
I had been riding my motorbike without a Vietnamese driving licence for few years. Once, I asked at the police office about the procedure of obtaining a Vietnamese driving licence and they told me that I have to go to Hanoi at the Romanian Embassy and ask them for a proof of my signature and have the application form (the one for driving licence) verified by an authorized person at the Romanian Embassy. More than that the Embassy have to give me a document that proves my Romanian driving licence is genuine. Complicated things, so I gave up!
Not long time ago, a friend of mine (American, English teacher) told me that he has just passed the Vietnamese driving licence test, it was very easy, the guy he knows helped him with the documents, he didn’t go to the Embassy for any document, and many other “easy” things. The truth is that the driving school or the driving instructor takes care of everything. Every single driving school in Vietnam can get you a Vietnamese driving licence based on your driving license from your country of origin.
The documents that I was asked for by the traffic police when I had the driving test (and the driving instructor prepared for me a week before the test) are: passport (original and photocopy of all written pages), the driving licence you own in your country (original, photocopy, and translation into Vietnamese language), and pictures (I don’t remember the dimension). The fee is 800.000 VND (at least it was in 2012 when I had the driving test, it might be more now).
The original documents are kept by you, not by the traffic police.
On the day of the exam, you just have to fill up a form then you are good to have exam.
The driving exam is extremely easy. You just have to drive the motorbike on a range of 8 “shape”; everything will be finished in 30 seconds. You must have the passport and the driving licence (the one released in your country of origin) at the exam.
Ten days later you will have your driving licence.