An international driving permit is a document required to drive when abroad. It’s issued by the same institution that issues the domestic permit. It’s easy enough to get and you don’t need to pass any additional test to obtain it. The small fee that you need to cover in order to get this document is less than any other fee used to get documents for international travel. The permit of an IDP is also valid for a year which is more than enough to cover the needs of any tourist travel.
The Application Process- an IDP
You can apply for international permit online if you have all the documents needed to get it. For the most part, these are just the application form and the scan of your national permit. You’ll also need to send two photos so that the permit can be produced.
It takes about a week to get the permit in the mail or you can get it in a few hours if you’re willing to apply for it in person and wait in line until it’s made. It’s simple enough and if your national license is valid you should have no problem.
Who Can Apply?
Everyone who has a valid driving permit and is of the proper age can apply for an international driving permit. You can only get an international driving permit if you’re over 18 years of age. That’s important to note since you can get a national permit even if you’re younger than that.
The IDP can only be used to drive a personal vehicle of a certain size and with a certain number of seats. If you need a permit to drive a bus or a truck abroad this won’t be the permit for you.
How to Apply When the Permit Expires?
An international driving permit expires after a year and when it does you can apply for it again in the same manner as you did the first time. Most countries will allow you to drive with an international permit for a year and you may need to get a local permit after that.
As your national permit expires you won’t be allowed to use the international permit either. A national permit can’t always be renewed online since some countries won’t allow it. It takes about 5 years for a national permit to expire in most cases.
Which Countries Require You to Apply for an IDP
The majority of countries in the world accept international driving permits. There are over 150 countries that accept this document which covers the needs of most tourists. Some exceptions still exist and they have a system of their own to which you need to adapt.
Brazil won’t accept an international driving permit but it does accept an Intra-American driving permit. China won’t accept any international driving document and you can drive in China only if you have a permit that Chinese authorities have issued. There are special driving permits for tourists that are easier to get than ordinary Chinese national permits.