What's an International Driving Permit and do I need one?
We've pulled together some key information, to ensure you're well informed before setting off abroad.
In short, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is a globally recognised document that coupled with your Australian drivers licence allows you to drive in over 150 countries.
Depending on where you visit, if you operate a vehicle without an IDP you may be driving illegally and breaking the law. As a guest in a foreign country, that’s never an advisable thing to do. Having an IDP is also a required document for many car hire providers, so given how easy an IDP is to obtain, it makes sense to do your research and look into getting one before heading abroad.
For a simple overview, watch this video prepared by The Australian Automobile Association:
What does an IDP do that my existing licence doesn’t?
Endorsed by the United Nations, an IDP serves as a translation of your native drivers license and ensures that authorities or providers can understand your credentials and what you’re allowed to operate in your home country.
In many countries, having an IDP is a prerequisite for obtaining car rental insurance. Without it, you may unknowingly face difficulties in getting coverage, which could expose you to various risks and liabilities in the event of an accident.
While some hire providers may turn a blind eye and choose to look past this requirement, it’s a different story however in the eyes of local law enforcement and when it comes to insurance and liability.
Is an IDP, coupled with my licence all I need to legally drive in every country?
Depending on where you're travelling, certain laws and requirements may apply, in addition to having an IDP. These may include restrictions on age, the need for additional documentation, permits and more. There are also some countries that only permit their residents the ability to drive, with no options made available for tourists.
Who is able to issue an IDP?
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) is the only authorised distributor of IDP's for Australian drivers licence holders. In Tasmania, we (The RACT) will process your IDP on behalf of The AAA as their sales agent in this state.
In order for an Australian IDP to be valid it must have The AAA logo and official stamp. Any other permit issued by another entity is not an authorised permit and is fraudulent, so beware of unauthorised sellers.
Remember to always carry your native drivers licence along with your IDP, as the IDP is not a standalone document and serves as a complement to your original licence.
This article is written as advice. Before making a purchase or acting on the information provided, please do your own independent research, taking into account your personal circumstances, requirements and itinerary. Information in this article was correct as of 16 October 2023.
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) is the only authorised distributor of IDPs for Australian driver licence holders. RACT will process your IDP on behalf of the AAA as their sales agent.