WhatsApp icon Phone icon Mail icon

Car Rental and Travel Blog - 18.03.2021.

International Driving Permit

Your international driver's Permit is not required in all countries. However, we recommend buying one, especially if you travel abroad frequently with your own car or rental car. There were some changes regarding IDP in some countries so we will try to cover all of them, that you have all the information in one place. But in general, you don't have to worry about EU countries., if you have a European driving license.

What is an International Driving Permit?

When it comes to the International Drivers Permit (IDP; also International Driving License) question, we wanted to explain it in a few words. Namely, IDP is an official document that validates your driver's licence in other countries. The main condition to obtain an IDP is, of course, that you have a valid driver's licence, only then can you apply for an international one.

International Driving licence is required in more than 140 countries around the world. It may be important to note that if you drive in a foreign country that requires IDP without it, you may face high fines. So if you don’t want to take a risk, we recommend that you secure your IDP and regard the responsibility to check as a high priority before departing to your destination country.

The IDP is slightly larger than the size of a regular passport, including your photo and other important personal information. It’s basically a multilingual translation of your driver’s licence you use for national driving.

In which countries do I need an International Driving Licence?

In some countries, it is illegal to travel without an International driving licence, but it depends on which country you are coming from (for example, if your driver’s licence was issued in the United Kingdom, you will not need IDP in EU / EEA countries, but you will definitely need it in case you are travelling to the USA).

How much does an IDP cost?

It is difficult to say exactly how much you will pay for the International Driving licence as prices vary from country to country. Each country can set its own price, so we can't give an exact amount, but for a better idea, you can expect prices to range anywhere from 15 USD in the U.S. to 35 € in EU Countries. For the exact amount, it is best to check with your own office.

How can you get an IDP?

The procedure to get IDP depends on which country you come from, so it is best to check this on the official website of your country. You can usually do this by following simple steps online. Try to check with your country's main office and their website will give you all the needed instructions where you can get an International Driving Permit.

Before you decide to acquire IDP, it is recommended that you do it for some time before your journey begins. You will need the following things:

  • Proof of Identification (You will need a passport here)
  • Valid driving licence - Whether you have a newer or older version, your driver’s licence must be valid.
  • The same size of the image as you have it in the passport, it is also necessary to sign it on the back. You won’t get that picture back, so it’s good to keep that in mind.
  • The application fee.

Can you renew an International driving licence?

Once an IDP is issued in your name, it will be valid from one year to a maximum of three years. The expiration date depending on which country you live in, as the validity varies from country to country.

In case your International Driving Permit has expired, you will need to make a new one. Unfortunately, it is not possible to renew the existing one. This means that you will need to repeat the same process as you did to obtain the previous IDP. If you are going to travel longer than your International Driving Permit is valid, it is a good idea to check before the trip to see if it can be extended online. In case this is not possible, you will have to go back to your country and apply for a new permit, and as we already mentioned, it is always the same procedure to get a new one.

Advantages of carrying IDP

An IDP gives you an extra form of photo identification and contains translations of your valid driver's licence into 10 different languages. Most international Rent Car companies may require an IDP. However, it is best to check with them directly, or through a Car Rental Brokerage Company, where you will get all the necessary information. The IDP is valid in all countries that have signed the 1949 United Nations Traffic Convention.

If you are travelling to a country where English is not an official language, we recommend that you obtain an IDP, as you will be sure that you will not have any problems if you are stopped by the police.

International driving licence for UK citizens

If you are from the UK and want to have a International Driving licence issued to your name, you will need to submit the following things before issuing:

  • You must have a valid UK driving licence. Please note that in the destination country IDP will be valid for the same vehicle group as valid in your UK driver's licence.
  • It is mandatory to have a permanent resident in the UK. If you are only a temporary resident, you will need to obtain an IDP in the country of your permanent residence.
  • You must be at least 18 years old. But be aware that although the minimum age to get an International Driving Permit is 18 years, in some countries you have to be at least 21 years old to hire a car. In this case, it is better to check in advance with the car rental company through which you want to hire a car, what are the conditions regarding ages. 

It is currently not possible to get an IDP online, but you can get one through your local post office.

A 1926 or 1949 permit lasts for 12 months. A 1968 permit lasts for 3 years or until your UK driving licence expires, whichever comes first.

Important: Generally, if you are a UK citizen with a valid UK driver's licence you do not need an IDP to drive in EU / EEA countries. These include non-EU countries such as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. However, if you venture further afield, you may also need to carry an International Driving Permits with you. It is also good to know that this only applies if you have the "new" photo card driver's licence. If you have an older licence that doesn't fit the EU standard photo card style, you should probably apply for IDP.

For European countries outside the EU, there is a chance that UK driving licences may not be valid and you may need to bring with you IDP. For more information on the requirements of these countries, visit the government website or contact the country's embassy directly.

If you are a UK citizen and moving abroad, the requirements will change. You should check with your local driver's licence authorities on how to get a local driver's licence. Some countries allow you to change your UK driver's licence without taking another driving test. This is especially the case for any EU countries where you can easily exchange your licence and then get your UK licence back when you return to the UK. If you are moving to a non-EU country, contact your local authorities.

In which countries do you need an International Driving Permit?

Map of where you need an IDP?

Check which IDP you need

It is best to look at the table which International Driving Permit (IDP) you need. There are three different IDPs: 1926, 1949, and 1968.

What kind of IDP you need depends on which country you are going to visit.

It is also important to note that if you are travelling to several different countries and want to rent a vehicle there, you may need several different International Driving Permits. Therefore, we advise you to find out about these requirements on time, so that you do not have any problems during the trip.

In case the country you are travelling to is not on the table, it is best to ask the embassy from the country you are travelling to.

If you want to hire a car, it is best to check with Rent a Car company directly, what the IDP requirements are, it may happen that in the same country some Rent a Car companies require IDP and some do not. However, for the most part, everyone has the same requirements.

Below is a table showing where an International Driving Permit is required. All of this information is under the new regulations since the UK is no longer part of the EU.

COUNTRY

IDP

Other requirements

 

Albania

1968

 

Algeria

1949

 

Andorra

1949

 

Argentina

1949

 

Armenia

1968

 

Australia

1949

 

Austria

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive a car hire.

Azerbaijan

1968

 

Bahamas

1968

IDP You will need just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Bahrain

1968

IDP needed for car hire, and in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days. You have to get your permit certified by local authorities at the time you arrive.

Bangladesh

1949

 

Barbados

1949

 

Belarus

1968

 

Belgium

1968

You do not need an IDP but you will need it in case if you stay in the country for more than 185 days.  If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP.  Check with the Belgian Embassy.

Benin

1949

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1968

 

Botswana

1949

You will only need an IDP here if you want to hire a car.

Brazil

1968

You need to get a certified translation of your IDP from the British consulate.

Bulgaria

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive.

Burkina Faso

1949

 

Cambodia

1949

 

Canada

1949

 

Cape Verde

NONE

You need a 1968 permit to drive here.

Central African Republic

1968

 

Chile

1949

 

Congo

1949

 

Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

1968

 

Croatia

1968

If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP.  Check with the Croatian Embassy.

Cuba

1968

 

Cyprus

1949

You do not need an IDP to drive a car hire unless if you are staying in the country for more than 30 days.

Czech Republic

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive.

Democratic Republic of Congo

1968

 

Denmark

1968

You do not need an IDP. But You will need it just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Dominican Republic

1949

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Ecuador

1949

 

Egypt

1949

 

Estonia

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive here for up to 90 days in any 180 - day period. If you hold a paper driving licence you may need a 1968 IDP. Check with the Estonian Embassy.

Eswatini (previously Swaziland)

1949

If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ids, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.

Fiji

1949

 

Finland

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive.

France

1968

If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP.  Check with the French Embassy.

French Polynesia

1968

 

Georgia

1968

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Germany

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive a car for periods of up to 6 months.

Ghana

1949

 

Greece

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive a car.

Guam

1949

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ids, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.

Guatemala

1949

 

Guayana

1968

 

Haiti

1949

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Hungary

1968

You do not need an IDP here for the periods up to 12 months. If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP.

Iceland

1949

You do not need an IDP unless you’re staying for more in the country than 1 month.

India

1949

 

Iran

1968

 

Ireland

1968

 You do not need an IDP unless you’re staying for more in the country than 12 months.

Israel

1968

 

Italy

1968

You do not need an IDP here. If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP. Check with the Italian Embassy.

Jamaica

1949

 

Japan

1949

 

Jordan

1949

 

Kazakhstan

1968

 

Kenya

1968

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Kuwait

1968

 

Kyrgyzstan

1968

 

Laos

1949

 

Latvia

1968

You do not need an IDP to drive a car.

Lebanon

1949

 

Lesotho

1949

 

Liberia

1968

 

Libya

1949

 

Lichtenstein

1926

You do not need an IDP to drive a car.

Lithuania

1968

You do not need an IDP unless if you’re staying for more than 185 days.

Luxembourg

1968

You do not need an IDP unless if you’re staying for more than 185 days.

Macao (Macau)

1949

 

Madagascar

1949

 

Malawi

1949

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Malaysia (Sabah)

1949

 

Mali

1949

 

Malta

1949

You do not need an IDP to drive a car. If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP.  Check with the Malta High Commission.

Mexico

1926

 

Moldova

1968

 

Monaco

1968

 

Mongolia

1968

 

Montenegro

1968

 

Morocco

1968

 

Namibia

1949

IDP needed for car hire. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ids, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.

Netherlands

1968

You do not need an IDP here.

New Zealand

1949

 

Niger

1968

 

Nigeria

1949

You’ll need a 1968 permit here.

North Macedonia

1968

 

Norway

1968

If you have a photocard licence, you do not need an IDP unless if you’re staying for more than 90 days. If you hold a paper driving licence or a driving licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you may need a 1968 IDP.  Check with the Norwegian Embassy.

Pakistan

1968

 

Papua New Guinea

1949

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 30 days.

Paraguay

1949

 

Peru

1968

 

Philippines

1968

IDP needed for car hire, and in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Poland

1968

If you have a photocard licence, you do not need an IDP unless if you’re staying for more than 185 days.

Portugal

1968

You do not need an IDP unless you’re staying for more than 185 days.

Qatar

1968

 

Romania

1968

You do not need an IDP here.

Russian Federation

1968

 

Rwanda

1949

 

San Marino

1968

 

Saudi Arabia

1968

IDP needed only for car hire.

Senegal

1968

 

Serbia

1968

 

Seychelles

1968

 

Sierra Leone

1949

 

Singapore

1949

IDP needed for car hire and stays longer than 30 days.

Slovakia

1968

You do not need an IDP here unless you are staying for more than 6 months.

Slovenia

1968

You do not need an IDP here unless you’re staying for more than 90 days.

Somalia

1926

 

South Africa

1968

If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ids, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.

South Korea

1949

 

Spain (including Balearic and Canary Isles)

1949

You will need an IDP if you’re staying in Spain for more than 6 months.

Sri Lanka

1949

As well as the IDP, you must get a Sri Lankan recognition permit from the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) in Colombo.

St. Lucia

1949

Show your UK driving licence or IDP to the police to get a visitor’s licence.

St. Vincent

1949

Show your UK driving licence or IDP to the police to get a visitor’s licence.

Sweden

1968

You do not need an IDP here unless you’re staying for more than 12 months.

Switzerland

1968

You do not need an IDP here.

Syria

1949

 

Tajikistan

1968

 

Thailand

1949

 

Togo

1949

 

Trinidad & Tobago

1949

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Tunisia

1968

 

Turkey

1968

 

Turkmenistan

1968

 

Uganda

1949

You will need IDP here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Ukraine

1968

 

United Arab Emirates

1968

 

United States

1949

If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ids, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.

Uruguay

1968

 

Uzbekistan

1968

 

Vatican City

1949

 

Venezuela

1949

 

Vietnam

1968

 

Zimbabwe

1968

 

Find the best Car Rental deal here

How long does it take to get an IDP UK?

Applying for an IDP is very quick, and then you have to wait about 14 days to arrive in the mailbox.

FAQs about the IDP

  • In case you are travelling to a country where an International Driving Permit is required. It won't be enough if you only have IDP with you, but you must also have an original driver's licence. An international driving licence will not apply in your home country.
  • If you want to obtain it more than 3 months before departure, this will not be possible.
  • Based on a provisional licence, you will not be able to get an IDP, unless you've just passed your test, in which case you can apply using your test pass certificate that is valid for two years.
  • Once you obtain an IDP, take the time to check that all the information matches your original driver’s licence, because if this is not the case, you may have inconveniences and the IDP will not be considered valid.
  • DP validity cannot begin before you submit your application.
  • An IDP covers you for tourism purposes. However, if drive for employment purposes or if you are taking up residence, you must know your personal circumstances before you can rely on an International Driving Permit.
  • Before renting a vehicle abroad, ask the relevant provider if you need an IDP (especially if you are travelling outside the EU), and they will also explain what the IDP must be to meet their criteria.
  • Most countries require the 1949 Convention IDP, but some countries require the 1926 Convention IDP. Make sure you have the right IDPs for each country you plan to visit.

What happens if I drive without one?

In case you do not have an IDP in the country where it is required, it can be considered the same offence as if you did not have a driver’s licence in your country. Penalties can also be very high, so it is good to check and arrange all the necessary things before you travel.

When travelling by car in another country, keep the IDP with you at all times. However, it is not necessary that in case the police stop you, they will immediately ask you for it. In most cases, they want to see the original driver's licence first, and only then the IDP. However, you may not be required to show an International Driving Permit, even though it is mandatory in the country where you are travelling. However, it is not worth relying on that as you will definitely be asked in most cases for both, your driving licence as well as your IDP.

Car Rental and Travel Blog

What you also might like...

+ View All

We use cookies to give you a better experience. If you accept that, just keep browsing. You can find out more or switch it off. Read More