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International Driver's License In Portugal: Renting a Car Made Easy

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IDP is essential when driving abroad

driving abroad with idp

International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.

documents needed for international driving permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.

How to get your IDP


Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy


Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license


Get approved

Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

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For those passionate about architecture, Portugal is a must-visit destination. This often-overlooked European treasure boasts diverse architectural styles, from the iconic Belém Tower to the grandeur of the National Pantheon.

However, Portugal offers more than just architectural marvels. With an International Driving Permit, you can explore the country's stunning beaches and indulge in its renowned wines, enhancing your experience in this beautiful nation.

International Driving Permit FAQs

If you're planning to avoid the inconvenience of purchasing train tickets or figuring out public transportation, consider renting a car. For this, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is essential.

What Is an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

An International Driving Permit serves as a translation of your home country's driver's license. This document is necessary for car rental, so ensure you have one, especially if you're visiting Portugal.

Is an International Driving Permit Required in Portugal?

Wondering if you need an International Driving Permit in Portugal? The requirement depends on your home country's driver's license. Non-EU citizens must have an IDP to drive legally in Portugal. However, an IDP isn't necessary if your license is from an E.U. country.

Do U.S. Citizens Need an International Driving Permit in Portugal?

U.S. citizens can use their domestic driver's license for short stays (under six months) in Portugal without needing an IDP. However, an IDP is required to travel to countries like Spain after visiting Portugal. It's advisable for U.S. citizens to obtain an IDP for unrestricted driving across multiple destinations.

The IDP includes translations in 12 major languages, such as Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and English, catering to various nationalities.

Is a Driving Test Necessary to Secure an IDP?

To acquire an IDP in Portugal, you need your local driver's license, a completed IDP application, and the application fee. No driving test is required for the IDP. However, a local driving test may be necessary for long-term stays and domestic driving.

You can easily apply for an IDP online by visiting the International Drivers Association website and providing the following:

  • Passport-sized photos
  • A valid driver's license
  • A credit card for payment

Most Important Driving Rules in Portugal

Portugal has simple and up-to-date roads, ensuring your safety while driving. Before you hit the road, ensure you have an IDL. It's essential to be aware of the Portugal driving rules to prevent accidents and avoid fines. The driving rules in Portugal might differ from those in your home country. Here are some key Portugal driving rules to remember:

No Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is a major cause of accidents and is strictly prohibited. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 grams per liter. Exceeding this limit, with a blood alcohol level between 0.5 g/l to 0.8 g/l, results in fines ranging from €250 to €1250.

Mobile Phone Usage While Driving

Using a mobile phone while driving is banned to prevent distractions leading to accidents. Hands-free devices and single-earpiece portable devices are allowed. However, fines can go up to €600 if caught violating this rule.

Seatbelt Requirement

In compliance with E.U. laws, Portugal mandates the use of seatbelts for all vehicle occupants, except in large vehicles like buses. Non-compliance can result in fines from €120 to €600 per person not wearing a seatbelt.

Speed Limits

Speed limits vary by area: 50 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h on rural roads, and 120 km/h on motorways.

Parking Regulations

Street parking is generally free, with many public lots available. Pay attention to parking signs: a white and blue sign with a red line (across) indicates no parking. Yellow or red curbs also signify no parking zones.

Overtaking Rules

Overtaking should always be done on the left side. Overtaking on the right in free-flowing traffic is prohibited, with fines ranging from €250 to €1250. Be cautious, especially when other drivers may attempt to overtake.

Understanding Traffic and Road Signs

Traffic and road signs in Portugal include informational, mandatory, warning, priority, and prohibitory signs. These signs guide drivers for safe and smooth driving, providing critical information about the driving conditions ahead.

Discover Portugal's Prime Destinations

Portugal's charm is undeniable, with its quaint cobblestone streets, historical towns, and breathtaking scenic drives. Here are some of the country's best destinations:


Begin in Lisbon, Portugal's sun-drenched capital, rich in history and beauty. Stroll through ancient neighborhoods and enjoy stunning views of the River Tagus.

Lisbon is a year-round destination, ideal for March to June and September to November. Avoid August due to the high tourist influx and prices.

Lisbon Highlights

  • Wander through Alfama, Lisbon's oldest area, filled with traditional cafes and art.
  • Visit Mosteiro dos Jeronimos to admire its 1502 art pieces in Manueline and Gothic styles.
  • Savor the famous custard tart at Manteigaria.
  • Shop at Colombo Mall, Lisbon's largest shopping center.


Porto, with its medieval streets and historical ambiance, is a journey back in time. Enjoy the serene Douro River and the city's unique blend of old-world charm and modern flair.

The peak tourist season runs from June to September. Aim for a more comfortable visit in late spring (May and June) or early autumn (September).

Porto Highlights

  • Stroll through Ribeira do Porto, a historic and vibrant district.
  • Visit the neoclassical Palacio da Bolsa.
  • Relax at Miradouro Ignez, overlooking the Douro River, with a glass of wine.


Algarve boasts some of the Mediterranean's most beautiful beaches, with Praia da Marinha leading the list due to its stunning sand stretches and dramatic cliffs.

Visit from April to June for ideal weather. July to August can be sweltering and crowded. September to October still offers pleasant weather.

Algarve Highlights

  • Snorkel in crystal-clear waters, exploring diverse marine life.
  • Paddleboard in Benagil Cave.
  • Trek the breathtaking Seven Hanging Valleys Coastal Trail.


Sintra, nestled in the Sintra Mountains, is famed for its 19th-century palaces, misty forests, and unique architecture.

Spring (March to May) is ideal, with mild weather and less rainfall. Summer (June to August) is warmer, while autumn (September to November) sees less tourism. Winter (December to February) is quieter but can be rainy.

Sintra Highlights

  • Explore Quinta da Regaleira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit Castelo dos Mouros, the Moorish Castle.
  • Discover the scenic Sintra Tram route and the hidden Praia da Ursa beach.

Get an IDP to Explore Portugal

Embark on a journey to discover Portugal's breathtaking architectural wonders and experience catching waves on its beaches with an International Driving Permit!

Ready to check if an IDP is accepted in your destination?

Use the form and find out in seconds whether you need an international permit. Documents vary, based on the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic.

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