Anyone who wishes to enjoy driving in a foreign country as long they have a driving permit should think about applying for the international driving permit (IDP) that allows motorists in foreign countries to drive without having to obtain local driver’s license ( recognized in over 150 countries worldwide). Carried in conjunction with a National / Domestic driver’s license, the IDP can help break down language barriers when traveling in across countries.
An IDP allows drivers to drive motor vehicles, even in foreign countries. It has a reasonable size of an A6 measuring
148 * 105 with a white color inside and a grey color outside. However, it has a period within which it can be used and is only applicable in countries with such jurisdiction. The IDPs are issued through the network of the AIT organizations that are authorized by their governments. As there are many unofficial sellers on the internet, the AIT/FIA has created an approved directory to all IDP issuing organizations in the world. For IDP to be valid it must be accompanied by a valid driver’s license by the country of residence of the applicant.
What is IDP, and when can you use it?
IDP is a document that helps provide any information that is essential from your driver’s license. The best comparison would be – it is an official, approved translation of your license, that can be approved by the country where you travel. It does this based on the virtue of a treaty signed in 1949 by the United States and other foreign countries. The IDP is usually a transformation of a domestic driver’s license, which allows the holder of the international driving license to drive a private motor vehicle in any given country that only recognizes this particular document.
Why countries require International Driving permit?
- A legal translation – the local authorities will recognize your credentials required for legal driving in the foreign country (English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Italian, German, Arabic and French, among others).
- Authorization – the document certifies that you are allowed to drive vehicles of the certain category stated in your IDP.
- Safety reasons – if you hold IDP, it means that they you have legally passed the exams of driving theory and practice, and you are able to participate in traffic securely.
What documents do you need to apply for the International Driving Licence?
- Full valid driving licence (photocard or paper version)
- 2 passport standard photographs
- Form of payment for application fee
- An identity document with identification photo if your driving licence doesn’t have a photo of you.
Format of the International Driving Permit
The IDP has a unique format compared to the local driver’s license. It is somewhat larger than a passport with a grey cover and white paper inside. The IDP should be printed inside the front cover in at least one of the state’s national languages, which is issuing the IDP. To make it valid, it should be accompanied by the driving license, which is to be issued in the applicant’s country of residence.
Check which IDP you need. There are 3 types of IDP:
- 1926 (only required in Somalia, Mexico)
- 1949 (valid one year)
- 1968 (valid 3 years)
The IDP you need depends on what country you’re visiting. If you’re travelling through more than one country, you might need more than one type of IDP. Check with the embassy of the country you’re travelling to if the country you’re visiting is not included in the table. If you’re hiring a car, check with your car hire company.
List of countries that accept International Driving Permit
|Austria||No need for IDP|
|Bahamas||1968||Required only if you stay longer than 90 days.|
|Bahrain||1968||Required only if you stay longer than 90 days or hire a car. Must be approved by the local authorities when you arrive.|
|Belgium||No need for IDP*|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1968|
|Botswana||1949||Needed for car hire.|
|Brazil||1968||Certified translation required.|
|Bulgaria||No need for IDP|
|Central African Republic||1968|
|Cyprus||No need for IDP*||Up to 30 days.|
|Czech Republic||No need for IDP*|
|Denmark||No need for IDP||Up to 90 days.|
|Dominican Republic||1949||If you stay longer than 90 days.|
|Estonia||No need for IDP*|
|Finland||No need for IDP|
|France||No need for IDP*|
|Georgia||1968||If you stay longer than 90 days.|
|Germany||No need for IDP*|
|Greece||No need for IDP|
|Haiti||1949||If you stay longer than 90 days.|
|Hungary||No need for IDP*|
|Ireland||No need for IDP||Up to 12 months.|
|Iceland||No need for IDP||Up to 30 days.|
|Italy||No need for IDP*|
|Kenya||1968||Needed if you stay longer than 90 days.|
|Latvia||No need for IDP|
|Liechtenstein||No need for IDP|
|Lithuania||No need for IDP||Up to 6 months.|
|Luxembourg||No need for IDP||Up to 6 months.|
|Malawi||1949||Needed if you stay longer than 90 days.|
|Malta||No need for IDP*|
|Netherlands||No need for IDP*|
|Norway||No need for IDP*|
|Papua New Guinea||1949||For longer than 30 days.|
|Philippines||1968||For car hire and stays longer than 90 days.|
|Poland||No need for IDP*||Up to 6 months.|
|Portugal||No need for IDP*||Up to 6 months.|
|Romania||No need for IDP*|
|Saudi Arabia||1968||Needed to hire a car|
|Singapore||1949||Needed if you stay longer than 30 days.|
|Slovakia||1968||If you stay longer than 6 months.|
|Slovenia||No need for IDP||Up to 90 days.|
|Spain||No need for IDP||Up to 6 months.|
|Sweden||No need for IDP||For up to 12 months.|
|Switzerland||No need for IDP|
|Taiwan||1949||Needed, if you stay longer than 30 days.|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1949||For stays longer than 90 days.|
|Uganda||1949||For stays longer than 90 days.|
|United Arab Emirates||1968|
|United Kingdom||No need for IDP||Up to 12 months.|
What else should you know before applying
Before applying for an IDP, it is always prudent to know that you should hold a driving license in your local country and be at least 18 years old. The IDP cannot exceed that of the domestic drivers license. Some countries accepts IDPs of foreigners for a few weeks or for as a long as their tourist visa remain valid.
- When filling out IDP application, write your domestic address.
- Scanned passport standard photos are not accepted.
- Choose an authorized IDP provider in your country ( often a type of official automobile club).
- If you drive in a country where IDP is required and you do not have one, penalties can range from a fine to a citation. Highway patrols may seize the vehicle and arrest the driver or give him/her a citation for a mandatory court appearance.
- An IDP must be issued in the same country where the traveller’s domestic driver’s license was issued.
- After a year you can renew your IDP (with a new photograph) , as long your domestic driving licence is valid.
- You can apply for IDP only with a full driving licence.
- N.B. while a certain country’s government may not require an IDP, car rental companies located in that country, may require an IDP to rent a car.
- Keep your domestic driving licence with you at all times!
Learn more about the IDP on the official website https://internationaldrivingpermit.org/