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International Driving Permit and Driving Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Driving Abroad Licence International

Travelling abroad with a UK licence is generally not a problem in most countries. UK citizens are lucky enough to be part of a recognisable system of driving that is generally highly regarded throughout many other locations in the world. Most of the time, it’s absolutely fine to simply go travelling with your full UK licence, however some countries will require you to have what is known as an International Driving Permit (IDP).

There are a number of ways you can obtain your IDP and places that it should be used. The IDP is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and it is always to be accompanied by your regular UK licence. It should never be used in place of your licence and in many countries you will be fined if you try to rely only on the IDP.

How to Apply for an International Driving Permit

There are a few different ways that you can apply for an IDP.
  • AA – You can pick up an IDP from your local AA branch
  • RAC – The RAC will be able to help you get your IDP before leaving for your overseas trip
  • GreenFlag – Another motoring organisation that are able to provide you with your IDP
  • The Post Office – Make your IDP application at your local post office

There are a number of important notes to consider before applying for your IDP. You should remember that the IDP can only be made up to three months in advance. It isn’t possible to have your IDP backdated, although it may in certain cases by post-dated up to three months in advance. You should also ensure that all the details on the IDP are correct and are in line with your UK driving licence. There is no need to use your IDP in the UK, it is only valid for use in other countries. You must be at least 18 years of age and a permanent resident in the UK to apply.

Which Countries Require an International Driving Permit

There are two different types of International Driving Permit and these will affect which one you should get dependent on the country you’re going to. For most countries throughout Europe, a UK licence will be sufficient, but you should always check with car hire agencies or foreign embassies before going abroad without an IDP if you think you might need one. Some countries that require the IDP are:
  • IDP – 1926 – Brazil, Burundi, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia
  • IDP – 1949 - Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guam, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Costs for International Driving Permits

It will cost you 5.50GBP to purchase an International Driving Permit and this is in general just to cover the cost of administration. It won’t take too long to obtain one, but make sure that you apply well in advance so that you have it to cover you for the extent of your trip abroad.

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