Traveling to a foreign country can be a thrilling experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to driving. If you plan to drive in a foreign country, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP).
In this article, we will take a closer look at what an IDP is, how to obtain it, and why it is important.
What is an International Driving Permit?
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that allows you to drive in foreign countries that recognize the permit. It is not a substitute for your driver’s license, but rather a translation of your driver’s license into multiple languages, making it easier for foreign authorities to understand your driving credentials. In essence, it serves as proof that you have a valid driver’s license in your home country.
How to Apply for an International Drivers License
The process of obtaining an International Driving Permit is relatively straightforward. In most cases, you can apply for one through your local automobile association or automobile touring clubs, such as the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the United States, the Automobile Association (AA) in the United Kingdom, or the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) in Canada. You will need to provide them with a copy of your valid driver’s license, two passport-sized photos, and the appropriate fee.
Simply and Quickly: Step-by-Step Guide
- 1. Complete the application form, either online or in-person
- 2. Provide the required documentation, including an application, a copy of your valid driving license, passport-sized photos, and a photo of your handwritten signature
- 3. Pay the applicable fees via an accepted payment method
- 4. Submit your application and wait for processing
The International Driving Permit includes a plastic ID card, a booklet, and a mobile application for Android and iOS with the translation into 70 languages (29 in a booklet and all 70 in a mobile app). It serves as a translation of your home country’s driving license and is recognized in over 150 countries that are part of the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic.
IDA processing time is 20 minutes with a fast processing option, less than 24 hours in general and validity terms are 1, 2 and 3 years.
Countries That Require an International Driving Permit
While an International Driving Permit is not required in all countries, it is still a good idea to have one with you, especially if you plan to rent a car or drive while abroad. It is important to research the specific driving laws and regulations of the country you plan to visit, as requirements can vary widely. Here are some countries that require an International Driving Permit:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
The Validity of an International Driving Permit
An International Driving Permit is usually valid for one year from the date of issue. However, the validity period may vary depending on the country you are visiting. It is important to note that an IDP is not a replacement for your driver’s license, so you will need to make sure that your driver’s license remains valid while you are abroad. It is also worth noting that you must be at least 18 years old to apply for an IDP.
Why is an International Driving Permit Important
Having an International Driving Permit can be crucial for several reasons. First, it can help you avoid legal troubles while driving in a foreign country. Some countries may not recognize your driver’s license, especially if it is not in their official language, and driving without a valid license can lead to hefty fines, vehicle impoundment, or even arrest. An IDP serves as a universally recognized document that can help you avoid these legal problems and ensure a smooth driving experience.
Second, an IDP can be beneficial when you are renting a car abroad. Many car rental companies require an International Driving Permit in addition to your driver’s license before they rent you a vehicle. This is because an IDP provides the rental company with an official translation of your driving credentials and gives them peace of mind that you are a legally recognized driver.
The Cost of an International Driving Permit
The cost of an InternationaI Driving Permit can vary depending on your country of residence and the automobile association or touring club that issues it. In the United States, an IDP issued by the AAA costs around $20, while in the United Kingdom, an IDP issued by the AA costs around £5. In Canada, an IDP issued by the CAA costs around CAD $25.
Driving in a foreign country can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. Obtaining an International Driving Permit can help make your driving experience abroad smoother and less stressful. It is important to research the specific driving laws and regulations of the country you plan to visit and to obtain an IDP before you leave for your trip. With an IDP in hand, you can drive with peace of mind and enjoy all that your destination has to offer.