How to get an International Driving Permit

International Driving Permit Brexit

As the 31 October Brexit deadline looms, the government has advised motorists to start thinking about what a no-deal departure means for us.

Essential for UK motorists driving in the EU will be an International Driving Permit (IDP). Don’t worry, though, they’re quite easy to get, but as demand has increased, the time it takes to get one has increased exponentially.

We touched on IDPs briefly in our top-to-bottom guide to post-Brexit driving – and do so in greater depth here.

What is an International Driving Permit?

International Driving Permit Brexit

An International Driving Permit allows you to drive in countries where your UK licence is not sufficient on its own.

In the past, these countries have included the USA, Japan and Brazil. From March onwards, however, especially in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the entire European Union could join that list.

Is an International Driving Permit necessary?

Just as you need a driving licence to drive in the UK, so you absolutely need an IDP overseas.

An IDP is currently required or recommended in more than 140 countries. The Post Office has a handy IDP checker tool that’s fully updated for post-March travel if a deal goes through. You can ask at your local Post Office for more information about what ‘no deal’ will mean.

How do I get an International Driving Permit?

International Driving Permit Brexit

Go to your nearest Post Office (that offers an IDP service) with your photocard driving licence and a passport photo in-hand, plus your passport for proof of identification if your driving licence is the old paper version.

It’ll cost you £5.50 per permit (you may need more than one) and shouldn’t take too long. You can see which permits are needed via the checker tool above.

UPDATE: IDP delays

During 2019, there have been delays reported in the acquisition of international driving permits. As the original Brexit leave date came and went, uncertainty has brewed over when we’d actually be leaving and whether it would be with a deal.

Yes, international driving permits are for if there is no deal, or at the very least if there are no provisions for UK drivers in the EU if a deal gets through. Nevertheless, there’s been a rush of people grabbing precautionary IDPs. Long queues and branch surfing has been reported, with some saying as many as 28 branches they visited were out of IDPs.

Others report stories of having to traverse London to find a branch with sufficient stock. Though the Post Office has allegedly taken steps to meet demand, delays are still being reported. 

What else will I need to drive in the EU?

If you are a UK passport holder living in the EU, you may need to re-take your driving test.

If you’re a UK resident who intends to drive in the EU, as well as your IDP(s) you will potentially need an insurance ‘green card’. Contact your insurance company to find out more. 

Which IDP do you need?

CountryIDPOther requirements
Albania1968 
Algeria1949 
Andorra1949 
Argentina1949 
Armenia1968 
Australia1949 
Austria1968If you have a photocard licence, you only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EUwithout a deal and your stay is over 6 months. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Azerbaijan1968 
Bahamas1968IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Bahrain1968IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 90 days. You must get your permit certified by local authorities when you arrive.
Bangladesh1949 
Barbados1949 
Belarus1968 
Belgium1968You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you stay is over 185 days.
Benin1949 
Bosnia and Herzegovina1968 
Botswana1949IDP needed for car hire.
Brazil1968You need to get a certified translation of your IDP from the British consulate.
Bulgaria1968You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Burkina Faso1949 
Cambodia1949 
Canada1949 
Cape Verde1968 
Central African Republic1968 
Chile1949 
Congo1949 
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)1968 
Croatia1968 
Cuba1968 
Cyprus1949You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Czech Republic1968You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Democratic Republic of Congo1968 
Denmark1968You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 90 days.
Dominican Republic1949IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Ecuador1949 
Egypt1949 
Estonia1968You do not need an IDP to drive here. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you will need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Eswatini (previously Swaziland)1949If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.
Fiji1949 
FinlandNoneYou do not need an IDP to drive here. You will not need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
France1968You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
French Polynesia1968 
Georgia1968IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Germany1968If you have a photocard licence, you only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EUwithout a deal and your stay is over 6 months. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Ghana1949 
Greece1968You do not need an IDP to drive here. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you will need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Guam1949IDP needed for stays longer than 30 days. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.
Guatemala1949 
Guyana1968 
Haiti1949IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
 Hungary1968You do not need an IDP to drive here. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must also take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport. If you have a paper licence, you will need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Iceland1949You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 1 month. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
India1949 
Iran1968 
Iraq1968 
Israel1968 
Italy1968You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Jamaica1949 
Japan1949 
Jordan1949 
Kazakhstan1968 
Kenya1968IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Kuwait1968 
Kyrgyzstan1968 
Laos1949 
Latvia1968You do not need an IDP to drive here. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you will need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Lebanon1949 
Lesotho1949 
Liberia1968 
Libya1949 
Liechtenstein1926You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Lithuania1968If you have a photocard licence, you only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EUwithout a deal and your stay is over 185 days. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Luxembourg1968You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 185 days.
Macao (Macau)1949 
Madagascar1949 
Malawi1949IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Malaysia (Sabah)1949 
Mali1949 
Malta1949You do not need an IDP to drive here. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you will need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Mexico1926 
Moldova1968 
Monaco1968 
Mongolia1968 
Montenegro1968 
Morocco1968 
Myanmar (previously Burma)1968 
Namibia1949IDP needed for car hire. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.
Netherlands1968You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
New Zealand1949 
Niger1968 
Nigeria1949You’ll need a 1968 permit instead to drive here on or after 18 October 2019.
North Macedonia1968 
Norway1968If you have a photocard licence, you only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EUwithout a deal and your stay is over 90 days. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Pakistan1968 
Papua New Guinea1949IDP needed for stays longer than 30 days.
Paraguay1949 
Peru1968 
Philippines1968IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 90 days.
Poland1968If you have a photocard licence, you only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EUwithout a deal and your stay is over 185 days. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Portugal1968You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 185 days. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Qatar1968 
Romania1968You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If you have an older, paper licence, you will need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, no matter how long you are staying.
Russian Federation1968 
Rwanda1949 
San Marino1968 
Saudi Arabia1968IDP needed for car hire.
Senegal1968 
Serbia1968 
Seychelles1968 
Sierra Leone1949 
Singapore1949IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 30 days.
SlovakiaNoneYou do not need an IDP to drive here. You will not need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Slovenia1968You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 90 days.
Somalia1926 
South Africa1968If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.
South Korea1949 
Spain (including Balearic and Canary Isles)1949If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, you’ll be able to drive here without an IDP until 31 July 2020. From 1 August 2020 onwards, you will need an IDP if you’re staying in Spain for more than 6 months. If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport.
Sri Lanka1949As well as the IDP, you must get a Sri Lankan recognition permit from the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) in Colombo.
St. Lucia1949Show your UK driving licence or IDP to the police to get a visitor’s licence.
St. Vincent1949Show your UK driving licence or IDP to the police to get a visitor’s licence.
Sweden1968You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
SwitzerlandNoneYou do not need an IDP to drive here. You will not need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Syria1949 
Tajikistan1968 
Thailand1949 
Togo1949 
Trinidad & Tobago1949IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Tunisia1968 
Turkey1968 
Turkmenistan1968 
Uganda1949IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Ukraine1968 
United Arab Emirates1968 
United States1949If you have an older, paper UK driving licence, you must take another form of photographic ID, such as your passport. You may need to show an IDP to your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident.
Uruguay1968 
Uzbekistan1968 
Vatican City1949 
Venezuela1949 
Vietnam1968 
Zimbabwe1968 
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