Everything you need to know about International Driving Permits
When you’re driving in Europe, your UK driving license is all you need. But when you’re travelling further afield, you’re going to have to apply for an International Driving License. However, this might not be something that you’ve heard of before.
That’s why this month we’ve created this guide to International Driving Permits, along with everything you’ll need to do to apply for one.
What is an International Driving Permit?
The International Driving Permit, more commonly known as the IDP lets you drive in over 140 countries around the world, including the United States of America. In some countries it’s a legal requirement, in others it’s not compulsory, but some vehicle rental companies may not give you a car if you don’t have one.
Remember, it’s not a replacement for your normal driving license, so it’s important that you take your normal license with you before you get behind the wheel.
How do you obtain an IDP in the UK?
Drivers within the UK are able to apply for an IDP by visiting their local branch of the Post Office. When you visit, you’ll need to take the following documents with you before your application can be processed:
- Your full UK driving license
- Another proof of identification (e.g. your passport)
- A passport sized photo with your signature on the reverse
- Payment for the application. For example, the Post Office charges £5.50, whereas the RAC charges £8 (£5.50 plus £2.50 processing fee)
If you’ve passed your driving test, but you still haven’t received your full driving license, you are able to apply for an IDP, but only if you take your test pass certificate in with you, along with your provisional license.
What happens if you’re caught driving without an IDP?
If you’re driving in a country outside of the EU, then chances are that you’re going to have to pay fine, and in some cases, you may even have your car confiscated.
The penalty will vary depending on which country that you’re driving in, but if you’re in a rental car when you’re stopped, then the rental company is more than likely going to charge you for the cost of getting the vehicle released if it’s been confiscated.
If you’re still learning to drive and only have a provisional driving license, then you’re unable to apply for an IDP.
Which countries do you need an IDP in?
Now, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but countries where you’ll need an IDP include:
- Cape Verde
- Singapore (recognised for three months only)
- United Arab Emirates
If you’re unsure about whether you need an IDP for your next driving holiday, then you can see the full list of countries, along with advisory notes on the AA website here.
Extra facts about IDPs
- It’s recognised worldwide
- The conventional 1949 IDP is valid for one year, whereas the 1968 IDP is valid for three years
- IDPs cannot exceed the expiry date of your UK driving license
- As long as you carry it with your UK license, you’re able to drive a private vehicle
- You are able to delay the start date of your IDP at the Post Office, up to a maximum of three months
So there we have it, our guide to International Driving Permits. We hope that you’ve found the information here useful and that you’ll be able to take everything you’ve learnt on your own driving holiday.
Alternatively, if you’re planning your own driving holiday, whether it’s in the UK or abroad, then make sure you get in touch with us to discuss your own needs. Our team of vehicle specialists are always available to help.