When Do I Need an International Driving License?

An international driving license is a document needed to drive while abroad. The document is only valid when you can show that you have a national license as well and that both are up to date.

You’ll need to produce a license when asked to do so by the traffic authorities. In some cases, a license is also needed to rent a car while in a foreign country. It too can only be done if you have a national license as well.

Is a License the Same as a Permit?

The terms international driving license and international driving permit are often used interchangeably.  However, they are not one of the same and the proper term is a “permit”. That’s because the permit doesn’t allow you to drive if you don’t have a license as well.

You may find some ads online for an international license and that should be the giveaway that the ad isn’t to be trusted. Regardless of how expensive the document is and how official it looks, if the wrong term is used – the document is invalid.

How to Get an International Driving Permit?

The permit can be obtained online and to find the best source for it, visit this website and choose from a variety of different services that can obtain this document for you. The permit can be issued only if you have a national driving license and you’ll need to provide a copy of it.

There’s also a small fee that needs to be paid in order to procure a permit. You’ll also have to provide photos, similar to those used for a passport. It takes about a week for the document to arrive at your address and you’re free to travel in your own vehicle after it does.

Which Countries Require a Permit?

Most countries accept and require an international driving permit to drive as a foreigner. At this point, about 150 countries are a part of an international agreement that has established this document.

There are some notable exceptions, however, and some bilateral agreements offer special status to citizens of some countries. For instance, China doesn’t recognize international permits at all. Brazil doesn’t either but it recognizes an Intra-American permit for countries of the continent. That permit is also only valid if you have a license issued by your own country and visitors can get a tourist license while in China.

Renting a Vehicle

Most countries require tourists to show that they have an international driving permit before they can rent a vehicle. You’ll also need to show a valid national license based on which the permit is issued in the first place. Visit Personal Injury Orem if you need help of lawyer in personal injury.

It’s also important to have car insurance while driving in a foreign country. Sometimes that insurance may come with additional fees depending on how old you are and how long you’ve had your license in the first place. Some countries also charge more depending on how long a trip you’re planning to take.

When Does an International Driving Permit Expire

There are two types of international driving permits out there. One of them lasts for a year and the other for 3. Some countries require you to have a permit that lasts three years but those are rare (Germany is a noticeable and important example).

Keep in mind that an international driving permit isn’t valid if you don’t have a national license with you or if the license has expired as well. When this is the case, you’ll be treated as if your international permit is invalid as well.

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How To Renew a Permit?

A permit can be renewed online just as easily as it is to obtain it in the first place. The process can take a week or two depending on where you are at the moment and how you’re sending the proper documents. That’s why it’s better to renew the permit before it’s close to its expiration date.

Some countries won’t allow you to drive with an international permit for over a year and you’ll need to get a local permit based on the fact that you’ve spent a certain time in a foreign country.

What Can Happen if You Don’t Have an International Permit?

There are fines for those who don’t have their international driving permit while on the road. As is the case with most traffic issues these fines can get worse if it’s not your first offense or if you’ve violated some other law in the process.

Some countries have stricter rules than others and you may end up getting your vehicle impounded or in some rather rare cases, a country can even deport you for a traffic violation and not having a permit with you.

What The Permit Isn’t?

The permit isn’t an ID and it can’t be used as such. If a foreign institution requires you to show an ID, it can’t be an international permit or a license issued in your own country. It needs to be some other document recognized as an ID.

For most tourists that’s a passport. The same goes for proving your identity domestically. You can’t use an international driving permit as an ID document and you’ll need to use some document that’s issued by your own country that’s recognized as such. If your country requires proof of identification with you at all times, you may get a fine if you’re caught with an international permit only.

A few Tips for Driving With an International Permit?

Driving with an international permit doesn’t exempt you from local laws and regulations. Make sure to follow the traffic laws while abroad and to be on your best behavior when it comes to interacting with other drivers.

If you’re stopped by the local police the only thing to do is to have the proper documents with you, to be respectful towards the officer, and to admit if you’ve broken any rules and laws. This can go a long way when it comes to dealing with traffic infractions.