Everything you need to know about International Driving Permits

If you’re planning an overseas driving trip, you need to obtain an International Driving Permit before you go.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) entitles you to drive in certain countries without undergoing any new driving tests. If you’re renting a car, you’ll find it is a standard requirement for renting in most countries. Just like at home, driving without a licence may constitute a criminal or civil offence with serious consequences.

Driving without an IDP can trigger an exclusion under your travel insurance policy if you claim for loss or injury caused while driving overseas. In most cases, your current Australian driving licence is not enough on its own when driving in a foreign country. It must be complemented with an IDP.

An IDP is handy as an additional form of photo ID if your passport is locked away in a safe place. It carries your identification details in nine languages (English, Spanish, Japanese, Greek, German, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, French) in case you need to communicate with foreign authorities.

It is not a stand-alone document or substitute for a valid driving licence. It must be carried with your current domestic driving licence at all times. An International Driving Permit does not diminish the obligation of the holder to conform strictly to the laws and regulations of the countries you visit. An IDP can only be issued to people over 18 years of age with a valid Australian licence (includes P-plate) and cannot be issued to learner driver permit holders.

Make sure you check the International Driving Permit requirements of your destination before you travel. You can order your own International Driving Permit through RACQ.