When travelling abroad it is often required to hold an International Driving Permit, which is essentially a document that verifies and translates the fact that you have obtained a driving licence. It validates you to drive at your country in question for a limited time depending on the laws. As a UK resident, it should be straightforward to obtain one so you can keep mobile.
What is an IDP?
The United Nations have been regulating and managing foreign drivers through international agreements since 1926. There have since been various new agreements such as the 1949 IDP and 1968 ones.
The 1949 model is valid for up to one year while 1968 is valid for up to three years. Depending on where you are going you will need to check which version you need either through the UK government website or the embassy of the country plan to visit. All IDPs must be accompanied by a valid Driving Licence.
How to Acquire an IDP
You can acquire an IDP for £5.50 at any UK post office. As mentioned you must plan your journey and see which IDPs are required in each country you plan to visit. When you organise one make sure you:
- You are a current resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland
- In possession of a valid UK driving licence
- Are 18 or over
When is an IDP Required?
As mentioned, if you are unsure you should check with either the UK government website or the embassy of the country you wish to drive in. In general, if you are driving in the EU or any European Economic Area a valid UK driving licence alone should be fine at least until January 2021.
In the USA it can depend on the state and you will need to have had a licence for over one year. If you are visiting countries with different alphabets such as Russia or Thailand then you will need an IDP.
Do I Need an IDP to Hire a Car?
One constant requirement as SIXT is if your licence is printed in a non-Roman alphabet (Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, etc.), it has to be coupled with an IDP that you yourself must organise. Any driver’s licence granted from countries outside the UN treaty must also be accompanied by an official translation into English.
Always check with the specific branch of any rental company beforehand to see if an IDP is required as there are many rules and exceptions. For example, some states in the USA may require an IDP as a UK driver, and others will not.