International Driving Permit: how to get one and where you need it

International Driving Permit: how to get one and where you need it
When taking your car abroad, some countries require UK drivers to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) before they can legally drive in them.

This international driving permit is in addition to, not a replacement of, your UK driving licence - which you also need to take with you if you're driving and/or hiring a car abroad.

Here we explain what you need to know about IDPs before leaving on your trip, covering everything from where you’ll need one, to how to apply for it.

Guide contents

What is an IDP?

How do I get an IDP?

Do I need an IDP to drive in Europe?

Where will I need an IDP to drive?


European Cover from just £6 per day^

The RAC offers the BEST European breakdown cover on the market*.

What is an IDP?

An IDP is an official document that effectively validates your UK driving licence internationally.

While it's not needed everywhere, it is required in over 140 countries and in these places you won’t be able to drive without one.

Key IDP facts

  • An IDP is valid for a maximum one year
  • You must be at least 18 years old to apply for an IDP
  • You must have a valid full driving licence to apply for an IDP
  • You can't apply for an IDP more than three months before you intend to travel
  • You can't get an IDP issued retrospectively
  • Most countries require the 1949 Convention IDP, but some require the 1926 Convention IDP. Make sure you have the correct IDPs for all the countries you are intending to visit. For more information on which one is right for you, see the table below
  • An IDP will cover you for tourism purposes, but if you are taking up residence or planning to drive for employment purposes you will need to find out about your personal circumstances before relying on an IDP
  • If you remain unsure about your personal needs, it is best to consider applying for an IDP as a precautionary measure

A lot of people mistakenly refer to an IDP as an international driving licence.

How do I get an IDP?

Getting an IDP is a relatively simple process that can be done through the RAC. We can issue both the 1926 and the 1949 Convention IDPs.

To be eligible for an IDP you must:

  • Have a full UK driving licence (not provisional) covering the type of vehicle you're planning to drive abroad - be a permanent resident of the UK
  • Be a permanent resident of the UK
  • Be 18 or over

You can't get an IDP with a foreign driving licence unless it's an EU driving licence and you're a resident in the UK.

Applying for an international driving permit

Follow these simple steps to get an IDP:

1. Download and print the IDP application form.

2. Complete the IDP form.

3. Include the following:

  • The correct fee - £8 for one application or £16 for two (£5.50 plus £2.50 processing fee per application.)
  • 1 x recent passport-size photo(s) signed on the back.
  • A photocopy (not original) of your complete UK driving licence, including photocard if applying by post.
  • A photocopy of the page from your passport with your photo and identification details.

4. Send it to:

       RAC Motoring Services
       Travel Administration
       PO Box 587
       Great Park Road
       Bristol
       BS32 4QN

We'll send your IDP via first class mail, but please allow up to 10 days before travel for your application to be processed.

Your application can be processed within two days if required, we just ask for an additional £6.95 for this service.

Please note however, that there may be delays in getting through during peak periods and the RAC cannot accept any responsibility if such delays prevent us processing your IDP application on time.

What if I’ve lost my original UK driving licence?

If you cannot send a photocopy of your UK driving licence or complete details on the application because the original is lost or with the DVLA for re-issue etc, you should contact the DVLA on 0870 240 0009**.

Can I get an IDP with a provisional UK licence?

No, you need a valid full driving licence to apply for an IDP.

Do I need an IDP to drive in Europe?

As a general rule, all valid UK photocard driving licences should be accepted in other EU/EEA countries. Older driving licences that are not the standardised EU photocard style, however, may not be accepted in other EU/EEA countries and thus drivers might wish to apply for an IDP to accompany these older licences.

For European countries outside the EU, UK driving licences may not be accepted and you may require an IDP. See the list below for further details on the requirements of these countries, or check with the country’s embassy directly.  

Where will I need an IDP to drive?

The driving requirements for each country are listed below. This information is for holders of UK driving licences only, as requirements for holders of overseas licences may vary.

CountryRequirements
AfghanistanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
AlbaniaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
AlgeriaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
AngolaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
ArgentinaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
ArmeniaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
AustraliaFull UK driving licence or valid International Driving Permit accepted while holder has visitor status. If you intend to stay in Australia and you hold a permanent visa, you can drive using your UK licence for a maximum of 3 months. To continue driving after that you will require a local licence.
AustriaA pink photocard UK licence is accepted. Otherwise a UK licence is accepted only if accompanied by identity document carrying a photograph e.g. passport.
AzerbaijanA valid UK driving licence is accepted if accompanied by a certified translation into Azerbaijani.
BahrainInternational Driving Permit is required for stays longer than 3 months and must be endorsed by traffic authorities.
BarbadosLicence or International Driving Permit must be presented to authorities on arrival for issue of local temporary licence.
BelarusYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
BelgiumPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
BeninYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
BermudaTourists aren't allowed to drive.
BhutanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here
BoliviaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
BrazilYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1926 to drive here.
BruneiA UK driving licence should be endorse by the Brunei Land Transport Department in the Ministry of Communications. Alternatively, an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949, can be used for up to three months.
BulgariaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
Burkina FasoAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but recommended. A temporary licence is available from local authority on presentation of a valid UK licence.
CambodiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
CameroonAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
Cape Verde IslesAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
ChilePink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held if driving as a tourist. If you’re a resident you will need to apply for a Chilean licence.
ChinaYou need to get a temporary driving permit when you arrive.
ColombiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
ComorosYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here for up to three months.
CroatiaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
You will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
CyprusPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
Czech RepublicPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
DenmarkPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
DjiboutiAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
DominicaLicence or International Driving Permit must be presented to authorities on arrival for issue of local temporary licence.
EgyptYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here for up to six month.
El SalvadorAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended to drive for up to three months.
EstoniaPink format or photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if green licence held.
EthiopiaThe IDP isn't recognised but you can get a temporary licence from the local authority when you present your valid UK licence.
FinlandPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
FrancePink format or photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if green licence held.
French GuianaAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
GambiaA temporary licence is available from local authority on presentation of a valid UK licence.
GermanyPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
GhanaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
GreecePink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held. An International Driving Permit is required by some car hire companies.
GuineaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
HaitiYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
Hong KongPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
IcelandPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
IndiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
IndonesiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
IranYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
IraqYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1926 to drive here
IrelandPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
IsraelAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended. International Driving Permit required to hire a car.
ItalyPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
JapanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
JordanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
Korea (South)You will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
KuwaitYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive her as a visitor.
LaosAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
LatviaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
LebanonYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here. This must be certified by local officials on arrival.
Leeward IslandsYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
LesothoYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here for up to three months.
LithuaniaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
LuxembourghPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
MacaoYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
MalaysiaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
MaltaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
MartiniqueAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
MauritiusAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
MexicoAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
MoldovaYou should contact the embassy or consulate to find out about the driving licence requirements.
MoroccoAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
MozambiqueAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
Myanmar (Burma)An International Driving Permit is not recognised in Myanmar. You must apply for a Myanmar Driving Licence at the Department of Road Transport and Administration in Rangoon.
NepalYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
NetherlandsPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
NigeriaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here for up to three months.
OmanOn arrival an International Driving Permit must be endorsed by Oman Automobile Association. International Driving Permit recognised for 3 months.
PakistanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
PhilippinesYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
PolandPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
PortugalPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
QatarYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
ReunionAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended.
RomaniaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
RussiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
RwandaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here for up to one year..
Sao Tome and PrincipeYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
Saudi ArabiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
SenegalYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
SerbiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here for up to six months.
SingaporeAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended for up to one year.
SlovakiaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
SloveniaPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
South AfricaAn International Driving Permit, IDP 1949, is recommended to drive here. Pink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held. International Driving Permit required to hire a car.
SpainPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
Sri LankaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
SudanAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but recommended for a maximum of three months. A temporary licence is available from local authority on presentation of a valid UK licence.
SwazilandYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
SwedenPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held.
SwitzerlandPink photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if older green licence held
TaiwanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
TanzaniaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
ThailandYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
TurkeyYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
TurkmenistanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
UkraineYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
United Arab EmiratesYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
UruguayYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
USAAn International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but is recommended. Check with individual State law before travelling.
UzbekistanYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
VietnamBritish issues IDPs are not valid in Vietnam. Drivers must obtain a Vietnamese driving licence, which can only be given to those with a Vietnamese visa valid for 3 months of more.
YemenYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here.
ZambiaYou will need an International Driving Permit, IDP 1949 to drive here for longer than 90 days.
ZimbabweUK photocard licences are accepted. For other UK licences an International Driving Permit is required.

Want more useful content like this sent straight to your inbox?

Subscribe here

** 0870 calls may be charged up to 11p per minute for landline customers. Calls from some landline providers may count towards any inclusive minutes. Calls may be monitored and/or recorded.

^Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year in zone 1.

*Comparison based on top standalone cover levels from other major providers. Visit www.rac.co.uk/eurocompare for full details.

RAC European Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. RAC Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.