Why Would You Need an International Driving Permit?

Chances are you have driven abroad in the past, either for a holiday or work purposes. You may not have been aware, though, of the need for an international driving permit (IDP) in some countries.

An IDP allows driving in any country that accepts the permit as a form of driving licence.

There are a few variations of IDP, and certain countries will only accept one type. Before planning to drive abroad, it is vital to check whether the country you are visiting requires you to have one.

In this week’s blog, we take a look at what they, plus and when and where you may need one.

Do I need an international driving permit?

You may need one, depending on a few factors. Not all countries will require one and your regular driving licence will be sufficient for you to drive.

The permit you will need will depend on two things: which country you are visiting, and how long you are staying. Before getting an IDP, you must first have a valid Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland (NI) driving licence.

Do I need an international driving permit in France?

Despite Brexit, holders of a GB or NI driving licence will not need an international driving Permit for France or any other EU country as long as they hold a valid photocard driving licence. As well as EU countries, driving in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein without an IDP is also permitted.

In some cases, you will need an IDP in the EU and Norway if your current licence is a paper one or it was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

For full clarity on whether the country you are visiting requires you to have an IDP, we would advise you contact the embassy of that country.

How do I know which International Driving Permit I will need?

There are currently three types of international driving permit. The IDP you require will depend on which country you are visiting. The three IDP’s are governed by three international conventions:

  • The 1926 Paris International Convention relative to motor traffic
  • The 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic
  • The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic

Each one is known by its year rather than by its convention name.

When a country has been contracted to more than one, the most recent one takes precedence and the older one replaced. However, if you are driving through more than one country, you may need multiple IDP’s.

The UK government website has a detailed list of all the current requirements per country, but if you’re unable to find the relevant information, you can contact the embassy for further guidance.

Can I apply for an international driving permit online?

At present, you can only apply for an IDP via the post office. They cost just £5.50, and when applying, you must live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, have a full driving licence and be over 18 years of age.

When applying, you must bring your driver’s licence and a passport standard photo with you. However, if you only have a paper licence, you will need to bring your valid passport as proof of identification.

How long does an international driving permit last?

Each type of IDP has a different expiration date. If your IDP is a 1926 or 1949 issue, it will last for 12 months. A 1968 permit will last for three years, or until your UK driving licence expires.

Will I need an international driving permit if I am hiring a car?

Yes – unless you are driving in a country where an IDP is not needed, it is advisable to carry one with you when hiring a car. In some countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and Egypt, it is obligatory to hold a valid IDP.

It is also advisable to carry your passport alongside your IDP when driving.

Whenever you are driving abroad, always follow the guidance for that country. Whilst we can’t provide you with an IDP, we can provide you with a worldwide insurance car hire excess policy allowing you to drive with full peace of mind that you won’t be hit with costly excess fees. Whether you require car hire excess insurance for a holiday or for work, the team at Direct Car Hire Excess are here to help. With 24-hour support and a variety of plans to suit your needs, contact us today for more information. We can even give you a free quote today.


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