International Driving Permit

International Driving Permit

International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit is an official document allowing driving a motor vehicle abroad.
IDP was approved by United Nations conventions and functions as proof of holding a valid driver’s license in the individual’s home country. The IDP includes a translation of the driver’s license into 10 different languages. This way, foreign countries’ authorities can easily interpret it and check its credibility.


How does the international driving permit work

An International Driving Permit means a certified document confirming that you hold a valid driver’s license. The document is translated into numerous languages and includes the following details:

  • driver’s personal details
  • driver’s face photo
  • driving information translated into 10 languages

It is worth noting that the IDP is not the equivalent of a driver’s license or an independent permit. It is a supporting document that must be used together with a valid driver’s license. If you plan then to drive a car when staying abroad, remember to take both your driver’s license and IDP.

The IDP may be especially helpful when renting vehicles or driving abroad. Also, some countries’ laws may require you to present it in order to drive legally. The IDP will also be useful to bypass language barriers thanks to its translation into multiple languages.


How to obtain an international driving license

The procedure for getting an international driving license includes the following steps:

1. Check your eligibility: the majority of countries determine that a driver must be not younger than 18 years old to obtain an IDP. Moreover, it is also necessary to hold a valid driver’s license issued by the home country.

2. Find an IDP center: An IDP can be obtained in government-authorized centers. For example, in the U.S., it will be the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).

3. Complete the application form: Fill out the application form obtained from the IDP issuing authority – it can be done either online or in person. Make sure to submit an error-free application.

4.Submit supporting documentation: provide two passport-sized pictures and a scan of your valid driver’s license (both sides) together with your completed application form.

5.Cover the processing fee: Depending on the issuing authority and the country, the nominal fee may differ.

6.Receive your IDP: Once the issuing authority approves your IDP, you will receive it either by post or you will need to collect it in person. The processing time is an individual matter and is determined by various factors.

The approved IDP remains valid for one year from the issuing date. If it expires, you will need to apply for a new one to drive abroad without any issues.

Before your planned drive, make sure to do some research regarding the driving regulations of the country you plan to visit. It may happen that the international driving licence will not be recognized in the country or that you will need to hold certain additional documents or meet other special requirements.


Countries requiring an international driver’s license

The IDP is recognized in more than 150 countries around the globe.

Among the most popular countries requiring foreign drivers to possess an IDP are:

  • Spain
  • France
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Canada (except US license holders)
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Russia