Do You Need An International Drivers Licence?

So you’re going on an exciting road trip while you’re abroad. You’ve booked the car, planned the route and have already decided on care games to pass the time. But is there something you’re forgetting? Depending on what country you’re visiting, sometimes your current drivers licence isn’t enough. Have you ever heard of an International Drivers Licence? It may be critical to your adventures!

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a special permit for tourists, allowing you to drive internationally without further tests or applications provided your domestic driver’s licence is valid. It is also a requirement for renting a car in many countries. These permits are accepted worldwide, in over 150 countries, as a recognizable form of identification and are officially sanctioned by the United Nations. An IDP is a translation of your driver’s licence and must be carried with your domestic driver’s licence whenever driving abroad. Here are some things to consider when planning your road trip.

Why do I need an International Driving Permit?

IDPs entitle the holder to drive in all countries without further questioning. It is also a requirement for renting a car in many countries, and failure to have one can sometimes be a criminal or civil offence. It can also trigger an exclusion under your travel insurance policy if you’re claiming for loss caused while driving a car overseas. 

How does it work?

An IDP carries your identification details in nine languages (English, Spanish, Japanese, Greek, German, Arabic, Russian, Chinese and French) in case you need to communicate with foreign authorities. It is valid for 12 months from the date of issue, unless your domestic drivers licence expires during this time. It can only be issued to people over the age of 18 with a valid Australian drivers licence – this includes P plates. but unfortunately not Learners Permits.

How much does a permit cost?

An IDP costs $36.50 each.

How do I apply?

The easiest way to apply for an International Driving Permit is to visit your closest RACV store (in Australia). You can find your closest store here. You can also download and complete the application form and send it over the post. Download the application form here.

What countries do I need an International Driving Permit for?

It is recommended that you obtain an International Driving Permit if you’re planning to drive in any foreign country, however it is absolutely required in the following countries: Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

For more information check out the Driving Overseas page on the RACV website.

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Emma Shaw

Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started A Make Believe World to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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