Driving yourself around, whether you’re burning up the rubber or cruising along is a feeling many car enthusiasts long for. While the roads in your home country are open to you whenever the need to drive so takes hold of you, those travelling to another country on business or holiday are often unable to rent a car or drive since they do not have a license that is accepted in that country.
Those seeking to drive abroad can apply for an International Driver’s Permit. The International Driver’s Permit is an official travel document that is authorised by the United Nations issued to tourists travelling to foreign countries. It is an official translation of your driver’s license issued in your home country. The document essentially states that you possess a valid driver’s license and it translates your license documents into a number of languages so authorities abroad are able to verify and understand your driving credentials.
The document is printed in a number of different languages- English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian as well as German, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese and the Scandinavian languages.
This enables authorities in those countries to understand your driver’s license. This is especially important in case of any mishap, since it will prove your driving credentials.
An IDP is generally valid for a period of one year from its issue or till the driving license expires, whichever is earlier.
How to Apply for an International Driving Licence
Applying for an international driving licence is now a convenient process thanks to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
An individual who wishes to drive in another country is required to apply for an international driving licence, which acts as a driving permit in that particular country.
Individuals can visit the nearest RTO with the required documents and the application fee.
The licence would be handed over to the individual on processing of the application, which usually takes 3-4 business days.
Form for International Driving License
Individuals who are applying for an international driving licence are required to submit a form when applying.
The form can be picked up from any RTO, and is known as the 'Form for the Issue of International Driving Permit', or Form 4.
The individual will have to provide personal details such as name, address, driving licence number, country the individual is travelling to etc.
Fees for International Driving Licence
The processing fee for an international driving licence is fixed at Rs. 500 per licence. The applicant will have to make the payment at the time of submitting the documents and application form.
OLD Fee for IDP – Rs. 500
*Revised fee for IDL in January – 2017 – Rs. 1000
Documents Required for International Driving Permit:
The International Driving Permit requirements and eligibility are uniform across all the signatory countries. Most countries levy a small fee to issue them, which varies from country to country. Applicants should fulfil the criteria as mentioned below:
- Should be above 18 years of ages.
- Should possess a valid Driving license.
- Submit official form issued by the concerned authority and 3 passport-sized photographs.
Indian applicants have to submit additional documentation, as mentioned below:
- Form 4
- Copy of valid driver's license
- Copy of passport and visa
- Copy of air tickets
- Medical certificate as mentioned in the application form.
- Application fee of Rs. 500
- 5 passport sized photographs.
- Certified proof of Indian citizenship.
- Copy of address proof.
- Copy of age proof.
Advantages of International Driving Licence
Applying for an international driving permit/International DL is a simple process and it has a number of advantages, which are listed below:
- It certifies you to drive a vehicle in a foreign country- the IDP is accepted as proof of your driving capability and the document confirms you have a valid driver's license in your home country.
- The IDP is useful if your original driver's license is not in the language spoken in your country of travel. This makes it easier for authorities in those countries to verify your information.
- It can be used as a proof of identity document in the local language.
- No additional driving tests- With an IDP, you would not be required to take any additional driving tests in the countries you are visiting.
- Wide acceptance- The IDP is accepted in over 150 countries across the world who are signatories to the agreement. Certain countries that are not signatories also accept the IDP as a valid document within their territories.
- Certain countries will not allow you to rent a car unless you have an IDP.
- Insurance companies require an IDP to cover drivers of vehicles being driven abroad.
Renewal of International Driving Permit
As per current Indian laws, an International Driving Licence issued from India is valid for a period of one year. The licence cannot be renewed.
If the individual seeking an IDP/IDL was issued his license within 3 months of his IDP/IDL application, he will have to take the driving test for a second time.
For Indian applicants, the form can be found on the official websites of the Regional Transport Offices.
Only Indian citizens can apply for an international driver's permit through an Indian transport authority.
Additionally, the applicant has to be submit his application form and documentation in person to the concerned regional transport authority.
The IDP/IDL will be issued for license that fall under the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority where the application is made. For those whose license were issued in other regions or states, they will have to change the address on their license to their present location.
It should be noted that there are a number of websites and organisations that offer International Driver' Permit documents issued online. You should always verify the claims thee websites make, since there is a chance some of them are fraudulent. It is always advisable to apply for an IDP/IDL from the official transport authority or association in your country to avoid hassles later.
FAQ's on IDL/IDP:
- Which countries accept the IDP/IDL?
There are a number of countries that accept the IDP/IDL and allow travellers to rent and drive cars. A comprehensive list is available on the regional transport authority website and on the official websites of a country’s transport authority.
- Can I use my International Driving Permit for two-wheelers as well?
If you have a valid motorcycle or two wheeler license in your home country, you can rent and ride a two-wheeler using your license and the IDP while travelling abroad.
- Can I use my IDP/IDL as identity proof?
In certain cases, your IDP document can be used as identity proof subject to fulfilling certain conditions in the country you are travelling in.
- Will I require any additional documentation to rent a car or two-wheeler abroad?
You will require your original driver’s license and your International Driver’s License in order to rent a car or two wheeler when travelling to countries that recognise the IDP as a valid document.