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Car Hire and Travel Blog - 18.03.2021.

International Driving Permit - IDP

Your international driving permit is not required in all countries. However, we recommend that you obtain one, especially if you frequently travel abroad in your own car or a rental car. There have been some changes regarding the IDP in some countries, so we will try to cover all countries so 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 question International Drivers Permit (IDP; also International Driving License), we wanted to explain it in a few words. it is, in fact, an official document that makes your driver's license valid in other countries. The most important condition for obtaining an IDP is of course that you have a valid driving license, only then you can apply for an international driving license.

An international driver's license is required in more than 140 countries around the world. It is important to know that if you drive without it in a foreign country that does require the license, you will face heavy fines. So, if you don't want to take any chances, we recommend securing your International Drivers Permit and making the responsibility of checking it a high priority before you leave for your destination country.

The Permit is slightly larger than a regular passport and contains your photo and other important personal information. It is a multilingual translation of your driver's license that you use for national travel.

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 from (for example, if your licence was issued in the United Kingdom you don't need it in EU / EEA countries, but you need it if you are travelling to the US).

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 price, so we can't give an exact amount, but to get a better idea, you can expect prices between 15 USD in the US and 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 apply for a permit depends on which country you are from, so it is best to check this on your country's official website. Usually, you can do this online with simple steps. Try to check with the main office of your country. On their website, you will find all the necessary instructions on where you can get an International Driving Permit.

Before you decide to acquire International Driving License, 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 it is issued in your name, it is valid for one year to a maximum of three years. The expiration date depends on which country you live in, as the validity varies from country to country.

If your International Driving Permit has expired, you will need to create a new one. Unfortunately, it is not possible to renew the existing one. This means that you will have to repeat the same process as you did for the previous ID card. If you want to travel for longer than your International Driving Permit is valid, you should check if it can be extended online before you travel. If this is not possible, you will have to return to your country and apply for a new permit, and as we have already mentioned, it is always the same process to get a new permit.

Advantages of carrying IDP

An International Driving License gives you an additional form of photo identification and includes translations of your valid driver's licence in 10 different languages. Most international Rent Car companies may require International Driving License. However, it is best to check with them directly or via Car Rental Brokerage Company, where you can get all the necessary information. The permit 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 International Driving License, as this will ensure that you do not get into trouble if you are stopped by the police.

International driving licence for UK citizens

If you are from the UK and want to have an 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 International Driving License 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 International Driving License 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 it 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: If you are a UK citizen with a valid UK driving licence, you do not usually need the permit to drive in EU/EEA countries. This includes non-EU countries such as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. However, if you are heading to countries further afield, you may need to carry an International Driving Permits. It's also good to know that this only applies if you have the 'new' photocard driving licence. If you have an older driving licence that doesn't fit the EU standard photocard style, you should probably apply for an International Driving License.

For European countries outside the EU, there is a possibility that your UK driving licence may not be valid and you will need to bring International Driving License. For more information on the requirements of these countries, visit their government website or contact their embassy directly.

If you are a UK citizen and move abroad, the requirements will change. You should check with your local driving licence authority to find out how to get a local licence. In some countries, you can have your UK driving licence transferred without taking another driving test. This is particularly true of all EU countries, where you can simply 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 also important to note that if you are travelling to multiple 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 well in advance so that you don't run into any problems during your trip.

If the country you are travelling to is not listed in the table, it is best to check with the embassy of the country you are travelling to.

If you are renting a car, it is best to check directly with the car rental company to see what the International Driving Permit requirements are. It can happen that in the same country, some Rent Car companies require the permit and others do not. However, by and large, they all have the same requirements.

Below is a table showing where an International Driving Permit is required. All of this information falls under the new regulations as 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

To drive a car in Austria, you need an international driver's license.

Azerbaijan

1968

 

Bahamas

1968

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

Bahrain

1968

It is 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 it the license 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 the license here if you want to hire a car.

Brazil

1968

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

Bulgaria

1968

You do not need a permit to drive.

Burkina Faso

1949

 

Cambodia

1949

 

Canada

1949

 

Cape Verde

NONE

You need a 1968 permit to drive here.

The 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 a permit 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 international driving License to drive.

Democratic Republic of Congo

1968

 

Denmark

1968

You do not need it. 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 it 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 the license to drive here for up to 90 days in any 180 days. 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 the license to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.

Fiji

1949

 

Finland

1968

You do not need it 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 the license here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Germany

1968

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

Ghana

1949

 

Greece

1968

You do not need it to drive a car.

Guam

1949

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

Hungary

1968

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

India

1949

 

Iran

1968

 

Ireland

1968

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

Israel

1968

 

Italy

1968

You do not need the license 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 it 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 it to drive a car.

Lebanon

1949

 

Lesotho

1949

 

Liberia

1968

 

Libya

1949

 

Lichtenstein

1926

You do not need it to drive a car.

Lithuania

1968

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

Luxembourg

1968

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

Macao (Macau)

1949

 

Madagascar

1949

 

Malawi

1949

You will need it 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 it 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

It is 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 it 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 the license 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 it here just in case if you stay in the country for more than 30 days.

Paraguay

1949

 

Peru

1968

 

Philippines

1968

It is 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 it unless if you’re staying for more than 185 days.

Portugal

1968

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

Qatar

1968

 

Romania

1968

You do not need it here.

Russian Federation

1968

 

Rwanda

1949

 

San Marino

1968

 

Saudi Arabia

1968

It is needed only for car hire.

Senegal

1968

 

Serbia

1968

 

Seychelles

1968

 

Sierra Leone

1949

 

Singapore

1949

It is needed for car hire and stays longer than 30 days.

Slovakia

1968

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

Slovenia

1968

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

Switzerland

1968

You do not need it here.

Syria

1949

 

Tajikistan

1968

 

Thailand

1949

 

Togo

1949

 

Trinidad & Tobago

1949

You will need it 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 it 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 Hire deal here

How long does it take to get an IDP UK?

Applying for International Driving Permit 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 the permit 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?

If you don't have International Driving License in the country where it is required, it can be considered the same offence as not having a driver's licence in your country. The penalties can also be very high, so it's good to check and sort out everything you need to before you travel.

If you are travelling by car to another country, you should always have your ID with you. However, it is not necessary that the police, if they stop you, ask you for it immediately. In most cases, they will want to see the original driver's licence first and only then the International Driving License. However, you may not be required to show the International Driving License even though it is mandatory in the country you are travelling to. However, it is not worth relying on this, as in most cases you will be asked for both your driver's licence and your International Driving License.

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