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Blog Autohuurtips International Driving Permit - Where Do You Need It? | June 2019

International Driving Permit - Where Do You Need It? | June 2019

Having your International Driving Permit is not necessary for all countries, but we recommend you get one, especially if you frequently travel abroad – whether with your own car or rented cars. Since there has been some changes in UK citizens in February and March 2019, we have updated our article, so you have all the information in one place. In general, if you have an European driving license, you don't have to worry about EU countries.
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Oh, right! What is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is an official document that validates your driving licence in other countries. For validation of your IDP, you need to have – of course – a valid driving licence.

 

An IDP is a requirement for hiring a car in over 140 countries. We should warn you that driving without an IDP can result in very high fees, so if you don't consider yourself a gambler – get your IDP!

 

An IDP is essentially a multi-language translation of your driving licence which is slightly larger than your passport and accompanied by your photo and vital personal information.

In which countries do you NEED an IDP?

worldmap_IDP.original

 

In some countries, it is illegal to drive without your International Driving Permit. It depends, however, on where you're coming from. For example, if your driving licence was issued in the UK, you won't need an IDP in EU/EEA countries, but you will need an IDP when travelling to the USA.  

 

Type in the name of your country and check if IDP is required

An international driving permit (IDP) is required or recommended in the following countries:

COUNTRY IDP Other requirements
Albania 1968  
Algeria 1949  
Andorra 1949  
Argentina 1949  
Armenia 1968  
Australia 1949  
Austria 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Azerbaijan 1968  
Bahamas 1968 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Bahrain 1968 IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 90 days. You must get your permit certified by local authorities when you arrive.
Bangladesh 1949  
Barbados 1949  
Belarus 1968  
Belgium 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 185 days. 
Benin 1949  
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1968  
Botswana 1949 IDP needed for car hire.
Brazil 1968 You need to get a certified translation of your IDP from the British consulate.
Bulgaria 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Burkina Faso 1949  
Cambodia 1949  
Canada 1949  
Cape Verde NONE You’ll need a 1968 permit to drive here on or after 12 June 2019.
Central African Republic 1968  
Chile 1949  
Congo 1949  
Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 1968  
Croatia 1968  
Cuba 1968  
Cyprus 1949 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Czech Republic 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Democratic Republic of Congo 1968  
Denmark 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 90 days.
Dominican Republic 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Ecuador 1949  
Egypt 1949  
Estonia 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Eswatini (previously Swaziland) 1949 If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, 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 unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
France 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
French Polynesia 1968  
Georgia 1968 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Germany 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Ghana 1949  
Greece 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Guam 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 30 days. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, 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 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Hungary 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Iceland 1949 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 1 month. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
India 1949  
Iran 1968  
Iraq 1968  
Israel 1968  
Italy 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Jamaica 1949  
Japan 1949  
Jordan 1949  
Kazakhstan 1968  
Kenya 1968 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Kuwait 1968  
Kyrgyzstan 1968  
Laos 1949  
Latvia 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Lebanon 1949  
Lesotho 1949  
Liberia 1968  
Libya 1949  
Lichtenstein 1926 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Lithuania 1968 If you have a photocard licence, you do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 185 days. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Luxembourg 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 185 days.
Macao (Macau) 1949  
Madagascar 1949  
Malawi 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Malaysia (Sabah) 1949  
Mali 1949  
Malta 1949 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
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 ID, 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 unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
New Zealand 1949  
Niger 1968  
Nigeria 1949 You’ll need a 1968 permit instead to drive here on or after 18 October 2019.
North Macedonia 1968  
Norway 1968 If you have a photocard licence, you do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 90 days. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Pakistan 1968  
Papua New Guinea 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 30 days.
Paraguay 1949  
Peru 1968  
Philippines 1968 IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 90 days.
Poland 1968 If you have a photocard licence, you do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 185 days. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Portugal 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you’re staying for more than 185 days. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Qatar 1968  
Romania 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Russian Federation 1968  
Rwanda 1949  
San Marino 1968  
Saudi Arabia 1968 IDP needed for car hire.
Senegal 1968  
Serbia 1968  
Seychelles 1968  
Sierra Leone 1949  
Singapore 1949 IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 30 days.
Slovakia 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Slovenia 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal and 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 ID, 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 If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, you’ll be able to drive here without an IDP until 30 June 2020. From 1 July 2020 onwards, you will need an IDP if you’re staying in Spain for more than 6 months. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
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 unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Switzerland 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Syria 1949  
Tajikistan 1968  
Thailand 1949  
Togo 1949  
Trinidad & Tobago 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Tunisia 1968  
Turkey 1968  
Turkmenistan 1968  
Uganda 1949 IDP needed for stays longer 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 ID, 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  

How much does an IDP cost?

It depends. The price ranges from 15 $ in the U.S. to 35 € in European Union countries. Every country sets its own pricing, so check with your own office.

How can you get an IDP?

The process varies between different countries, so you should probably check the official website for your country. Usually it is a simple process that can be done online. Go and check your country’s main office that issues driving licences, and their website will probably tell you where you can get an IDP.

If you are from the UK, you can get an IDP through the Post Office branches. You must be 18 years old and also have a regular UK driving licence. 

When you decide to apply (do this well in advance of your travel dates, just to be sure), you will need:

  • Your regular driving licence – bring the old paper version or the new photocard, whatever you have as a valid licence
  • A passport size photo that you’ve signed on the back (you will not get the photo back, so plan accordingly)
  • Proof of identification (a passport will suffice)
  • The application fee.

Can you renew an international driving permit?

The international driving permit will be issued to you for the next year or three years, depending on what country you are from. Different countries issue licences with a different validity dates.

When it expires, you will need to get a new IDP. It is not possible to renew an international driving permit. This means that you will have to pay the fee again, submit a new photo and apply in the same way you did when you got your International Driver’s Licence in the first place. Thus, if you will be out of the country, and your country does not allow you to apply online, you won't be able to get a new licence and will have to travel back to your country and re-apply.

How long does it take to get an international driving permit?

Again, the answer to the question is "it depends" because different countries use different solutions. In some countries, you can get your IDP in a minute, but in other countries, you need to apply for it online and then wait for it to be delivered to your home via a delivery courier. This can take a couple of days, and there may be problems or unexpected delays with the delivery.

In the UK, you can go directly to one of the Post Offices that issue IDPs and get one immediately.

International driving permit for UK citizens

For all UK citizens looking for additional information about the IDP, here are all the details. To be eligible to get an IDP, you must:

  • Have a full UK valid driving licence. You can only apply for an IDP for the same type of vehicle as you have a valid driving licence for in the UK.
  • Be a permanent resident of the UK (if not, you need to get an IDP in the country where you have permanent residency).
  • Be 18 or over.

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: The RAC has stopped issuing International Driving Permits (IDPs). From 1st February 2019 the Post Office is the sole issuer of IDPs. You can use the Post Office website to find out which branches can issue IDPs over the counter, since it will no longer be issued by mail order. If you currently have a 1949 IDP, this will remain valid until the date it expires. You will be able to apply for all three types of IDP (1949, 1968 and 1926) at 2,500 Post Offices across the UK. This international driving permit is in addition to, not a replacement of, your UK driving licence - which you also need to take with you if you're driving and/or hiring a car abroad.

If you are a UK citizen with a valid UK licence, you generally don't need an IDP to drive in EU/EEA countries. That includes nations not in the EU, including Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. But if you’re venturing further afield, you might need to carry an IDP too. However, this is only true if you have the "new" photocard driving licence. If you have an older licence which is not the standardized EU photocard style, you should probably get an IDP.

For European countries outside the EU, UK driving licences may not be accepted and you may require an IDP. For further details on the requirements of these countries visit the Government website, or check with the country’s embassy directly.  

If you are a UK citizen and are moving abroad, the requirements change. You should check with your local driving licence authorities to find out how to get a local driving licence. Some countries will allow you to exchange your UK licence without taking another driving test. This is especially true for all the EU countries, which will allow you to easily swap out your licence and then retrieve your UK licence if and when you move back to the UK. If you are moving to a non-EU country, check with the local authorities.

Please note, that once the UK formally leaves the EU, these rules may change and will be dependent on what deal the Government gets with the EU.

IDP after Brexit and driving in the EU after Brexit

The formal leaving date is yet to be If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, you might need an IDP to drive in all EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries, apart from Ireland. This will mean that an additional 7 million IDPs will be required in the first year and probably every year after, so it is possible that a lot of things will change after Brexit.

In the event of no-deal you will need a:

  • 1926 permit to drive in Liechtenstein
  • 1949 permit to drive in Spain, Iceland, Malta and Cyprus
  • 1968 permit to drive in all other EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland

Should I get my IDP now, just in case?

If the UK leaves the European Union with ‘no deal’, a 1949 version of the IDP which can be purchased now and is valid for 12 months, would be required when driving in Spain, Malta, Ireland and Cyprus. All other EU countries would require a 1968 IDP which will only be available over the counter in Post Office branches. Separate arrangements in non-EU/EEA countries will apply.

How long does it take to get an IDP UK?

In general, it takes up to two weeks for the IPD to arrive. It is easy to fill out the forms, but you have to wait for it to arrive in your mailbox.

FAQs about the IDP

  • An international driver’s permit is not a valid driver’s licence in your home country. When driving abroad, you always need both your original driver's licence and the International Driver’s Permit.
  • You cannot get an IDP if you have only a provisional licence (unless you’ve just passed your test, in which case you can apply using your test pass certificate that is valid for two years).
  • You can't apply more than three months before your planned travel dates.
  • An IDP can’t have a starting date before your application date (i.e., it can't be backdated).
  • You need to make sure that all the information on your driver's licence is correct and that it matches the data on your home driver’s license; otherwise you may have trouble with the local police.
  • An IDP will cover you for tourism purposes, but if you are taking up residence or planning to drive for employment purposes you will need to find out about your personal circumstances before relying on an IDP.
  • When hiring a car abroad, remember that licence requirements worldwide do vary. If you’re making an advance reservation in the UK, ask the relevant company to confirm the driving licence requirements of the countries you’re visiting. Even if you don’t have this info, however, consider an IDP a precautionary measure, especially if travelling outside of Europe.
  • Most countries require the 1949 Convention IDP, but some require the 1926 Convention IDP. Make sure you have the correct IDPs for all the countries you are intending to visit.

What happens if I drive without one?

In general, this is a major offence comparable to driving without a valid driver’s licence. This means that you should really make sure that you do not need one and that your own driver's licence will be valid in the country that you plan to drive in.

You should also keep your IDP on you at all times. Don't leave your documents in your hotel or Airbnb. You should have it with you and be ready to show it to the authorities if you get stopped. However, keep in mind that some police officers may be satisfied with just your original driver’s licence, so when asked, present that first and only show your IDP when you’ve been specifically asked to do so.

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