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.

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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 many countries across the world, 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. In some cases, you will need a 1968 certificated IDP. For more information visit the Government website.
  • 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.

Can I drive in Europe?

If you are looking to travel in Europe in your car, you do not need an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein as long as you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK.

You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either a paper driving licence or a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man.

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Don’t get stung with fines abroad for not having a European Driving Kit

Is there such a thing as international car insurance?

Yes, there is such a thing as international car insurance.

This type of insurance is designed to provide coverage for vehicles when they are driven or operated in foreign countries.

It's especially useful for travelers, expatriates, or individuals who plan to use their vehicles in different countries for extended periods of time.

How do I get car insurance overseas?

The easiest way to get international car insurance is to speak to your domestic provider. 

They will likely have a service that will help you when driving abroad.

Did you know, you can get fined for moving out of the way of an ambulance?

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