If you are about to embark on a driving journey overseas, then ideally you need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). What this allows you to do, is to drive legally in over 140 foreign countries, including the United States and Hong Kong. Although most European cities allow you to drive with just your UK driving license, some countries require an IDP if you are using a hire car. it is therefore still advisable that you obtain an IDP and you should check which countries require an IDP for you to be a legal driver in that country.
So, what exactly is an International Driving License
In simple terms an IDP is your UK driving license that is then translated into different languages, enabling the authorities in that country to understand that you have a legal right to drive. Once issued, you will be able to drive in your chosen country/Ies for 12 months, but do remember to also carry with you, your UK driving license. When you have an IDP, you should have no problems obtaining a hire vehicle.
Make sure you understand the rules
It is very important that you understand the rules of using an IDP. You won’t be allowed to have an IDP if you hold a provisional driving license. However, if you have recently passed your driving test, then you are able to apply for an IDP using your test certificate as proof.
Please remember that you must also carry with you, your UK driving license, as failure to do so could result in a hefty fine. It is also important to remember that an International Driving License is not legally binding when driving in countries that require an IDP, you, therefore, must obtain an IDP before you travel.
Finally, you must check your UK driving license for any errors, well in advance of your planned journey, and before you apply for your IDP. If you note errors in your address or name, contact the DVLA immediately.
How do you obtain an IDP?
Firstly, there are several ways of obtaining an IDP. You can download the form, print it out and then post it. Or, alternatively, you can apply for an IDP at the post office.
To obtain one will cost you £5.50. The good news is that once the form has been completed and posted, you should get your IDP within a few days.
You need to be at least 18 years of age to be able to have an IDP. You will also need to provide a valid driving license, preferably your photo card license.
You will also need to provide a passport sized photograph of yourself, that you will need to sign oh the reverse. You will also need proof of identity, such as a passport. You can apply as far ahead as 3 months for an IDP and once dated, will last for one year.
We do hope you have found this short guide helpful. Enjoy your travels overseas.