How To Apply For International Driving License?

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: June 10, 2023

international driving license
International Driving License

Driving is not just a means of transportation; it’s an art of navigating the roads and understanding traffic laws that differ across the globe. If you’re a globetrotter with a fondness for driving or you’re relocating overseas, getting an International Driving License (IDL) could be vital for you. It is an important document that verifies you as a licensed driver in countries other than your home. This article offers a comprehensive guide on how to apply for International Driving License.

1 What is International Driving License (IDL)?

Before diving into the application process, it’s essential to know what an IDL is. An International Driving License, also known as International Driving Permit (IDP), is a document that allows you to drive a motor vehicle in a foreign country. It serves as a recognised form of identification and translates your driver’s licence details into ten different languages.

Note that the IDL does not replace your original driver’s licence but works alongside it. You will still need to carry your valid national driver’s licence with you when driving abroad.

2 Eligibility for an International Driving License

Eligibility for an International Driving License can vary slightly depending on your country of residence. However, the standard rules include:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must hold a valid driver’s licence issued in your home country.
  • Your driving record should be in good standing, with no severe or repeated violations.

3 Application Process

The application process for obtaining an International Driving License is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Check the Requirement of the Destination Country

Not all countries require an International Driving License, but many do. Before starting the process, confirm whether your destination country requires one. Websites of foreign embassies or consulates are a good place to start. Alternatively, organisations like AAA and AATA provide detailed guides for different countries.

Step 2: Choose the Right Authority to Apply

american automobile association
American automobile association

Depending on your country, the application process will differ. In the United States, for example, only two organisations are authorised to issue IDPs: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). In the UK, you can apply for an IDP at the Post Office. In India, you can apply through the regional transport office (RTO).

Make sure to apply through a recognised organisation to avoid scams or fake IDLs.

Step 3: Prepare the Necessary Documents

Typically, you’ll need the following documents to apply for an International Driving License:

  • A completed application form. You can usually download this from the issuing organisation’s website.
  • A valid driver’s licence issued by your country.
  • Passport-size photographs.
  • Application fee.

Some organisations may require additional documents, such as proof of residence, so make sure to check their specific requirements.

Step 4: Submit the Application

You can submit your application in person, by mail, or, in some cases, online. Again, the exact method will depend on the issuing organisation.

  • In Person: If applying in person, simply bring your completed application and necessary documents to the designated location.
  • By Mail: If applying by mail, send your application, the required documents, and the fee to the specified address. You should also include a self-addressed envelope with appropriate postage for the return of your IDP.
  • Online: Some countries and organisations offer the ability to apply online. You’ll need to fill out the online application form and upload scans or photos of your required documents. Payment will usually be made via credit card.

Step-5: Wait for Processing and Approval

After submitting your application, you’ll need to wait for the processing to complete. This can take a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the issuing organisation. Some places, like AAA physical locations in the U.S., can issue an IDP on the spot. If you applied by mail or online, your IDP will be sent to you once it’s ready.

4 Important Considerations when Applying for an International Driving License

While the process might seem straightforward, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Validity of IDL: An International Driving License is typically valid for one year from the date of issue (unless your domestic driver’s licence expires sooner). Plan accordingly so that your IDL is valid for the entire duration of your overseas trip.
  • Recognised Authority: Always apply for your IDL from a recognised authority. There have been numerous instances of fake IDLs being sold online. Avoid websites and organisations that offer to expedite your IDL application or issue one without a valid driver’s licence from your home country.
  • Understand Local Laws: Although the IDL is accepted in many countries, it’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the local driving laws of the country you’re visiting. Some countries have unique road regulations that may be different from your home country.
  • Car Rental Considerations: If you’re planning on renting a car while abroad, check the rental company’s requirements beforehand. Some may require you to have an IDL, even if the country itself does not.
  • IDL is Not a Substitute: Remember, an IDL is not a standalone document. It must always be presented with your original driving license. If you’re pulled over by law enforcement while driving overseas, you’ll need to provide both your IDL and your home country driver’s licence.

5 Wrapping Up

In conclusion, obtaining an International Driving License is a relatively simple process that can open up the opportunity to navigate foreign roads legally and confidently. It acts as an internationally recognised identification, easing your travel experience while ensuring your adherence to local driving laws. Whether you’re travelling for leisure or relocating for work, an IDL, along with comprehensive knowledge of local driving rules, can help ensure a smooth and pleasant driving experience abroad. Happy driving!

Well, if you feel the process of getting an International Driving License is complicated, you might be surprised with the process of buying a gun legally in India!

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Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: June 10, 2023
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