Why do you need to have an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

18 May 2023 - Category: Blog /
drivers permit

What are the major benefits of having an international driver’s permit? Whether for vacation and adventure or a job, you might have to get behind the wheel when in another country. This is exactly where an international driving permit (IDP) comes in handy.

When we plan to move overseas, we tend to think of all the fun things that await us, such as travelling, trying new food, and learning about another culture. However, since your stay will include driving, it's a good idea to consider how you'll prepare for a few less-than-ideal situations you might encounter on the roads in foreign lands.

In this article, we'll go over all the countries that accept an IDP to drive or rent a car, as well as some additional reasons why having an IDP would benefit you and the procedure you'll need to go through to get one before travelling abroad.


What Is an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a special license that permits travelers to drive in foreign nations without completing the written or driving tests required to get a driving license in that country. It is a standardized card that is accepted in over 180 countries worldwide.

Reasons for Obtaining an IDP

Many people might have driven in foreign countries without being stopped by officials. This may encourage you to take a chance and avoid obtaining an international permit before your travel. Think twice before you do so.

Obviously, nobody will be the wiser to drive without an IDP in a country that legally demands one—unless you end up dealing with local police while you're behind the wheel. Below are some compelling reasons why you might want an IDP.

Valid in Most Countries

Many countries do not recognize US driver's licenses as proof of identity or driving ability, but they will accept an IDP.

Each country has unique regulations for foreign visitors who desire to drive. A valid IDP is acknowledged in all nations and governments that agreed to the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic of the United Nations. Furthermore, many countries not participating in the 1949 Convention also recognized the IDP. In total, 184 countries (almost every country) recognize an IDP. This includes:

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • Congo
  • Costa Rica
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Congo, Democratic Republic
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Estonia
  • Eswatini
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France (including French overseas territories)
  • Gabon
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • China, Republic of (Taiwan)
  • Korea, Republic of
  • Moldova, Republic of
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Rwanda
  • São Tomé and Principe
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Türkiye
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Western Samoa
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Peace of Mind

Even if you do not have any plans to drive, an IDP provides peace of mind while travelling around the world!

Most people get one before driving a car abroad because they think it will make life simpler for everyone if a terrible event occurs. Your IDP is a legally binding travel document issued by the United Nations for your protection and safety. It includes your name, photo, and driving information in several languages. So, most government officials are likely to understand.

Reduces Language Barrier

This is particularly useful in countries where English is not widely spoken.

An IDP includes your name, photo, and driving information in ten languages. This might be useful in many situations, including those unrelated to driving or renting a car. If you are in another country and need to show identification, you may be glad that you have your IDP to help make the process easier. Hopefully, this will ensure your interactions with the local government go smoothly.

Reduces or removes the risk of being fined

To legally drive a car in many countries, non-resident drivers must have an international driving permit. For some people, knowing that they could be fined for breaking the law can be stressful and cause anxiety. You could face a fine if you don't have one and are stopped by law officials.

Pro Tip: Consider local laws and driving customs when driving in a foreign country.

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