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?

Country IDP Other requirements
Albania 1968  
Algeria 1949  
Andorra 1949  
Argentina 1949  
Armenia 1968  
Australia 1949  
Austria 1968 If 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.
Azerbaijan 1968  
Bahamas 1968 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Bahrain 1968 IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 90 days. You must get your permit certified by local authorities when you arrive.
Bangladesh 1949  
Barbados 1949  
Belarus 1968  
Belgium 1968 You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you stay is over 185 days.
Benin 1949  
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1968  
Botswana 1949 IDP needed for car hire.
Brazil 1968 You need to get a certified translation of your IDP from the British consulate.
Bulgaria 1968 You 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 Faso 1949  
Cambodia 1949  
Canada 1949  
Cape Verde 1968  
Central African Republic 1968  
Chile 1949  
Congo 1949  
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 1968  
Croatia 1968  
Cuba 1968  
Cyprus 1949 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Czech Republic 1968 You 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 Congo 1968  
Denmark 1968 You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 90 days.
Dominican Republic 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Ecuador 1949  
Egypt 1949  
Estonia 1968 You 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) 1949 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.
Fiji 1949  
Finland None You do not need an IDP to drive here. You will not need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
France 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
French Polynesia 1968  
Georgia 1968 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Germany 1968 If 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.
Ghana 1949  
Greece 1968 You 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.
Guam 1949 IDP 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.
Guatemala 1949  
Guyana 1968  
Haiti 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
 Hungary 1968 You 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.
Iceland 1949 You 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.
India 1949  
Iran 1968  
Iraq 1968  
Israel 1968  
Italy 1968 You 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.
Jamaica 1949  
Japan 1949  
Jordan 1949  
Kazakhstan 1968  
Kenya 1968 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Kuwait 1968  
Kyrgyzstan 1968  
Laos 1949  
Latvia 1968 You 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.
Lebanon 1949  
Lesotho 1949  
Liberia 1968  
Libya 1949  
Liechtenstein 1926 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Lithuania 1968 If 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.
Luxembourg 1968 You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 185 days.
Macao (Macau) 1949  
Madagascar 1949  
Malawi 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Malaysia (Sabah) 1949  
Mali 1949  
Malta 1949 You 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.
Mexico 1926  
Moldova 1968  
Monaco 1968  
Mongolia 1968  
Montenegro 1968  
Morocco 1968  
Myanmar (previously Burma) 1968  
Namibia 1949 IDP 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.
Netherlands 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
New Zealand 1949  
Niger 1968  
Nigeria 1949 You’ll need a 1968 permit instead to drive here on or after 18 October 2019.
North Macedonia 1968  
Norway 1968 If 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.
Pakistan 1968  
Papua New Guinea 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 30 days.
Paraguay 1949  
Peru 1968  
Philippines 1968 IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 90 days.
Poland 1968 If 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.
Portugal 1968 You 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.
Qatar 1968  
Romania 1968 You 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 Federation 1968  
Rwanda 1949  
San Marino 1968  
Saudi Arabia 1968 IDP needed for car hire.
Senegal 1968  
Serbia 1968  
Seychelles 1968  
Sierra Leone 1949  
Singapore 1949 IDP needed for car hire, and for stays longer than 30 days.
Slovakia None You do not need an IDP to drive here. You will not need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Slovenia 1968 You only need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 90 days.
Somalia 1926  
South Africa 1968 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.
South Korea 1949  
Spain (including Balearic and Canary Isles) 1949 If 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 Lanka 1949 As well as the IDP, you must get a Sri Lankan recognition permit from the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) in Colombo.
St. Lucia 1949 Show your UK driving licence or IDP to the police to get a visitor’s licence.
St. Vincent 1949 Show your UK driving licence or IDP to the police to get a visitor’s licence.
Sweden 1968 You do not need an IDP unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Switzerland None You do not need an IDP to drive here. You will not need an IDP to drive here when the UK leaves the EU.
Syria 1949  
Tajikistan 1968  
Thailand 1949  
Togo 1949  
Trinidad & Tobago 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Tunisia 1968  
Turkey 1968  
Turkmenistan 1968  
Uganda 1949 IDP needed for stays longer than 90 days.
Ukraine 1968  
United Arab Emirates 1968  
United States 1949 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.
Uruguay 1968  
Uzbekistan 1968  
Vatican City 1949  
Venezuela 1949  
Vietnam 1968  
Zimbabwe 1968  

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