Do you need a driving license conversion in Kenya?
Whenever you are moving to another country, driving is often a priority subject as it gives you autonomy to explore your new environment. The difficulties come with the regulation and the validity of your driving license. In this article we clarify the rules and procedures in Kenya so that you can plan your driving license conversion.
Do you have a driving license?
A driving license is issued as an authority to allow a person to drive a motor vehicle of any class on a road.
According to NTSA, no person shall be allowed to drive a motor vehicle on road unless he is the holder of a valid driving license. Furthermore, if he/she has a provisional license endorsed in respect of that class of vehicle. Second, no person shall be entitled to more than one driving license. But a driving license may be endorsed to permit the holder to drive one or more classes of motor vehicle.
In Kenya, the Authority mandated to harmonize the operations of the key road transport departments. Help in effectively managing the road transport sub-sector and minimizing loss of lives through road crashes is The National Safety and Transport Authority. The authority also allows for the conversion of a foreign driving license into a Kenyan smart driving license.
Why converting a driving license in Kenya?
Driving license conversion is changing a foreign driver’s license into its equivalent in the Kenyan system. All foreign nationals are required to convert their international or country of origin driving licenses to a Kenyan one once they arrive in Kenya.
If a foreigner has an international driving license they are allowed to use it in Kenya for a maximum of three months. During the 3 month period, a foreigner is required to initiate application for the conversion. Upon application for the conversion of the Kenyan driving license, an interim driving license is issued that is valid for one year.
If you are a member of a Commonwealth country, you don’t need an international driving license to drive in Kenya. You can use the driver’s license from your country of origin but you still need to convert it into a Kenyan driving license.
What is a smart driving license?
The smart driving license was introduced by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) as a replacement of the old driving license (red booklet). Also as a way of migrating Kenya to the digital era. The smart driving license is also expected to tame the behavior of drivers in Kenya. If you commit an offence the government will have access to all your details.
The old driving license (red booklet) was initially issued and was valid for a period of between 1-3 years. Upon issuance, the smart/digital driving license will be valid for a period of three years.
Let us explore some of the features to expect in the new generation driving license which include the following.
- Car ownership details such as: your car’s number plate, your logbook details, chassis number among others will be integrated into the Smart DL.
- If you are fined for a traffic offense: the new driving license will make it possible for you to pay up the fines through it. The card will come bundled with an electronic wallet.
- The Smart DL will enable potential employers to access your driving records, especially where your driving ability is important to the job.
- Your driving record will be available to insurers. It is expected that your driving profile will play a role in the determination of the premiums a driver should pay.
- The cumulative point system will be used to reward or punish you are a driver based on their behavior on the road. If you hit a certain lower threshold, you will be legally barred from driving until the points are renewed again, after a set period
What is The Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS)?
Initially, if one was doing a driving license conversion in Kenya, they would need to have an E-Citizen account. Later on changes were made when the National Transport and safety authority (NTSA) launched The Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS).
TIMS is an online platform created to enable citizens to access NTSA (National Transport & Safety Authority) services conveniently.
The services include: Motor vehicle registration and motor vehicle inspection booking. Motor vehicle transfer of ownership, motor vehicle record search, application for smart DL. Not forgetting application for duplicated logbook, application for reflective number plate.
In addition, anyone looking for the above services needs to create a TIMS account. This can be done through National Transport and safety authority (NTSA)
Is driving license conversion in Kenya really necessary?
Firstly, having a valid driving license gives you unparalleled freedom to drive anywhere in the country. This means you don’t have to depend on taxi’s, you move at your own time. Whether you are in the country short term or long term. You get an opportunity to drive around the country or the city you are in, whether for work or sightseeing
Secondly, being on the right side of the law. Kenyan law enforcement regularly stops motorists on the road to check if your papers are in order. Most times if you do not have the correct paper work, you are arrested and subjected to hefty penalties. This process is draining for Kenyan nationals. How about you who is not a Kenyan national and you probably don’t speak or comprehend our national languages? It can be very hectic, so why not avoid all these problems and comply with the set laws and regulations?
Thirdly, insurance compensation processing in case of an accident. When a motorist is involved in an accident, the first thing the insurance company looks at is the correct paperwork. Having the correct driving license makes you a priority to the insurance company if you have to file for a claim. Hence processing the claims faster.
Converting your driving license in Kenya is important. It helps you comply with the law. This helps to make your stay smooth and avoid issues with the police officers.
It is important to note that there are unscrupulous individuals who would want to take advantage of you. When relocating to Kenya ensure you get advice from a professional. With the right processes to follow in order to get the smart driving license.
Should you have any question on the above article, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at email@example.com