We recently had a few posts on the blog about New Year’s Resolutions and how The AA can help keep you covered on the road, at home & on your travels.
One area we wanted to highlight today was around driving abroad, and more specifically, the use & need for an International Driving Permit (IDP). If a big goal of yours this year is to travel more, and you know you’ll be driving/ renting a hire car, there’s a very good chance you may need an IDP.
Never heard of an IDP before? Don’t worry, as we explain everything you need to know & if you need to apply for one.
What exactly is an International Driving Permit?
An IDP is a form that lets you drive in specific countries where you’re not a resident. It is a verified translation of your license in a document for officials in other countries to easily read and know is genuine.
You typically apply for one in the country your license is from. E.g., if you have an Irish license and are a resident, you apply for your IDP here to use abroad.
Are there limitations to getting an IDP?
Yes, and it’s very similar to when someone tries to travel with their passport. For IDPs, learner drivers can’t use their permit to apply & anyone with a license up for expiration in the next 6 months can’t apply either.
Does the IDP replace my license?
No. It’s simply a translated verification, so if you were driving in a country that needs you to have an IDP, you need to have your license, too, as the two need cross-checked.
When would someone need an International Driving Permit?
The most common example of someone needing an IDP is when you try to get a hire car. While most EU countries are fine to let you use your license as is, others will ask for an IDP.
How to apply for an International Driving Permit
We have a complete breakdown of how to get an IDP from The AA here. We always recommend allowing five working days for an application made in ROI to be completed, although there are express options if you need an IDP in a hurry.
What about those driving in the EU?
If you’re hopping on the ferry and a European road trip, it is important to know that you DON’T need an IDP for most EU countries or those within the EEA. It can get a little confusing, which is why we recommend having a good look at the IDP application form. It has a full list of the countries you need one for, along with any specific elements that need covered.
For example, someone driving in the USA needs an IDP in case they get in an accident, or someone needing a hire car in Croatia won’t be able to with an IDP. We highly recommend having a good look, so you don’t get confused or overlook something simple that can hinder your travels.
Does an IDP cover me when driving abroad?
An IDP only allows you to drive in specific countries. That doesn’t mean you’re always covered in the event of an accident. If you’re driving on the continent, we recommend you look at getting European breakdown cover. Annual travel insurance is a must, too, if it’s a big international holiday that could last for weeks or even longer!