How To Get a Zambian Driver's License in 50 Easy Steps (2011)

Warning - This post is very outdated and many steps, locations and prices have changed. 

(Although the King Pie carts outside Lumumba RTSA are still a delicious choice.) 


  1. Go to Road Transit Safety Authority (RTSA) on Lumumba.
  2. Go to the "Information" desk.
  3. Ask for a medical examination form.
  4. Go to Makeni clinic.
  5. Overpay an unscrupulous doctor.
  6. Go to RTSA on Lumumba and be told that they no longer except exams from Makeni and that you have overpaid.
  7. Go back 3 steps.
  8. Or skip numbers (4-7) and go to one of the following approved government clinics:
    1. Kamwala
    2. Chilenge
    3. Kalingalinga
    4. Chawama
    5. Kanyama
    6. George
    7. Mtendere
    8. Chipata
  1. Make sure this list is current!!
  2. Pay k50,000 if you have an ARC.
  3. Pay k1000,000 if you do not have an ARC.
  4. Make sure you are meeting with one of the doctors who is "qualified" to administer the exam.
  5. Take your date stamped medical form and receipt of payment to RTSA on Lumumba.
  6. Be sure to bring at least two copies of your: ARC, passport, work permit, and US drivers license.
  7. Get in line for Room 1.
  8. Be sure to ask around and make sure you are in the right line and that the people who appear to be standing in that line are actually in line.
  9. Plan on being here for anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours.
  10. When you reach Room 1, show them your documents and explain that you are seeking a conversion license.
  11. You will receive a form for a provisional license.
  12. Fill this out.
  13. Take this to Data Capturing.
  14. Then go to Rooms 2 or 3 for photographing.
  15. Try to smile, you're almost halfway there.
  16. Go to cashier (room 15 or 26)
  17. Pay k63,000
  18. Exit RTSA and purchase a King Pie from the cart.
  19. Eat pie.
  20. Return to the same window after 24 hours to set an appointment with RTSA Ridgeway branch for a competency/conversion test.
  21. Pay k47,000 booking fee.
  22. On the day of your booking go to RTSA on Lumumba go early!
  23. Go to Room 7.
  24. Be told to go see Mr. Mwamba across the street.
  25. Drive into the black gates where everyone is lined up in their vehicles.
  26. Skip the line.
  27. Park.
  28. Go see Mr. Mwamba in the booth.
  29. Arrange for a drive test.
  30. Even if RTSA on Lumumba "booked" your test for a certain time, this means nothing, plan on waiting at least a few hours.
  31. Pay someone k15,000 to outfit your vehicle with "L" plates for your drive (this may be optional)
  32. Pray
  33. Do your drive test.
  34. If you passed, go back to Mr. Mwamba and give him your paperwork for stamping.
  35. Take this paperwork to RTSA on Lumumba after 24 hours.
  36. Go to Room 25 and give them your forms.
  37. Go to Room 26 and pay k79,000.
  38. Exit RTSA
  39. Buy a King Pie (Ham and Cheese is nice)
  40. Eat pie.
  41. In four weeks you can pick your card up at RTSA on Dedan Kimathi Rd.
  42. Celebrate.


Ted K. said…
well steps "eat the pie" and "pray" are ok. The rest is crazy!
Megan said…
This honestly was the most frustrating government thing I have personally dealt with in Zambia! At least 10 different days ( and I do mean ALL day long type of days!) to accomplish these steps. AND then being failed bc not willing to pay a bribe, retesting another day AND don't even bother going to pick up the license in 4 weeks...It has been 5 MONTHS and just went by again yesterday and they said try back again in April! And to think back home it would be less than half a day- maybe even half an hour to update our license! TIA...
Anonymous said…
You are only part the way there....I have been in Zambia for 4 1/2 years and applied and passed 3 times (2 correct way and 1 corrupt) and I still don't have my plastic license card and I still pay fines on the road for not having my plastic!!!!
Anonymous said…
It's sad. The fact that they (RTSA/ RTC) say that there system is now computerised just makes the whole process seem stupid. It took me a full month to get a renewal of my D.L and I had a rude awakening to learn that even the computerised system omits individuals who are renewing their D.Ls :O. Zambian gov't bodies need to revisit their ICT policies on systems implementation and usage.
Anonymous said…
I suppose you guys are missionaries. What truth do you teach your would be converts. This article is malicious. Eating a pie is one your 50 easy steps to getting a plastic card. I agree the system is not customer friendly but you have over exaggerated facts and I guess it meant to make your sympathizers think you work from a jungle so that they can donate money to your mission. I pray one day Christ will open your eyes and stop misusing his name for a failed career. Have you ever tried getting a job from your country? Trying reading the bible and stop watching tazarn.
Dear "Anonymous,"
In fact this blog post (which is more like a personal diary of a missionary family from the US) is more than 3.5 years old and is certainly outdated in a number of ways, especially since the main RTSA center was moved to the Mimosa sight. Clearly eating a pie is not an actual step but is an attempt at humor of which I'm sure you might have heard about. It's first purpose was not to elicit the view that we live in a "jungle" in order to get money, but was a way to show our friends and families the type of thing we might be stuck doing instead of our work as missionaries. And the actual process, minus the pie eating, (which was delicious) is not exaggerated but is exactly what it took to get a driver's license back in 2011 (and that's for someone that had 20+ years of driving experience). The second purpose was to help other foreigners figure out the complicated process which changes often and at the time had no clear instructions printed or listed anywhere. The rest of your insulting comments are simply silly since you know nothing about us or our work here in the name of JESUS. And if you are a truly a brother in Christ then lay aside your unfounded anger and false accusations and love your brother. Better yet, if you claim Christ and love Jesus you're welcome to see what we're doing anytime. Which is one-hundred percent grounded in the Bible and in the Gospel of Christ. If you work at RTSA or this has deeply offended you in some other way, please forgive me and know that it was written with zero maliciousness and that I deeply love and respect and will continue to serve Christ here in Zambia for as long as the Lord allows. Hopefully you'll read this before the end of the month when I'll be erasing this post because it is outdated and is no longer generally helpful for folks new to the system but is still viewed daily.
I’ve been thinking of getting a driver’s license, but the whole process is just so discouraging. I’ve seen so many people invest so much into this process and still get nothing out of it, and I don’t want to be next. So I guess I’ll just stick to public transport. Well, atleast until the system becomes more friendly (that’s if it ever does).