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Drive Safely in Russia with an International Driver's Permit

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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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Is an International Driving Permit Required in Russia?

Not all citizens of this country are as fluent in both written and oral skills when it comes to the English language. And if you are driving in this country and your driver's license is not in English, it adds up more on the language barrier issues when you are stopped by the local authorities in this country.

This is where an International Driving Permit (IDP) becomes useful. The IDP is a document recommended by the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which translates your Home Driver's license into 12 of the widely used languages worldwide. Countries such as Sweden, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Poland, Philippines, Pakistan, New Zealand, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Iceland, Greece , Armenia, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and others.

How do I Get An International Driver's License in Russia?

There is no such thing as an International Driver's License. The document which is used for foreigners to drive in the country is an IDP. However, if you intend to drive for more than three months, then you may need to convert your licence into a russian driving license.

As for getting an IDP, you only need to do the following:

  1. Click the "Start My Application" button on the upper right corner of the page.
  2. Complete your application form and specify which vehicle you intend to drive.
  3. Attach a copy of your valid National Driving Licence.
  4. Then attach a copy of your passport size photo.
  5. After that, attach your credit card details to pay the fee.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Russia

The answer is yes for most regions in the country. Whether you are a tourist driving in Russian Federation on holiday or for business purposes, the International Driving Permit is an essential document for you to carry. Keep in mind that it isn't a substitution for your local driving licence. It is just an interpretation of your ordinary permit. Accordingly, when you are driving motor vehicle in Russia, you’ll need your IDP and your national license.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Russia?

Driving in Russian Federation with your home country license is not enough to allow you to drive in the country. Besides your native driving license, you must acquire an international driver’s license or IDP as a prerequisite document prior to driving in Russia. For example, if you have a U.S. drivers license in Russia, this foreign driver’s license is supposed to be accompanied by the IDP. The international driver’s license essentially grants you the right to operate a car around the country. Any holder of a foreign driver's license should have an IDP.

The said rule doesn’t apply to a person who is driving in Russia with a United Kingdom license. The aforementioned license is already enough to allow you to operate a vehicle in the country even without an IDP. So, as you can see, a regular driving license in Russia can also dictate if you are eligible for driving or you require the acquisition of an IDP. For the aforementioned reason, only those who carry a driver’s license are qualified to obtain the said permit. Foreign drivers should always bring their IDPs when driving in the country.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

An IDP is an important prerequisite for those who plan to drive in a foreign country. The permit is vital as it enables local authorities to evaluate your competence as a driver. You need to secure an IDP, and it should always be accompanied by your local license from your native country. Your regular driver’s license is also one of the major documents that you should possess if you apply for the IDP.

The said permit is basically just a translation of your regular license to enable other nations to understand what is written on your local license. In the event that you decide to apply for an IDP, visit the International Drivers Association's application page and pick an IDP bundle that will associate with the validity of your IDP. Here are the documents needed for your application:

  • Passport Copy (if needed)
  • Valid Government Issued Driver’s License
  • Passport size photo of yourself
  • Passport Copy (if needed)

Top Destinations in Russia

Russia Photo by Michael Parulava

A reasonable amount of information should have been gathered before your plan of driving in the country. This kind of approach is ideal, making the most out of your travel and having an enjoyable experience when touring a foreign country. It will be easier for you to explore its different tourist spots, thus saving a lot of time and preventing mishaps during your journey. This guide will give important information about the country's amazing tourist spots and the different do’s and don'ts when driving on its roads.

The Best and Worst Time to Travel in Russia

Russia is an all-year travel destination with perfect dry summers for tourists who want to engage in different outdoor activities and cold winters for those who are enticed by the beauty of a snowy landscape. By and large, the best occasions to visit are the spring and autumn seasons as the temperature is wonderful. The time that Russia is the worst to visit is during August, which is the country’s tourism peak season.


Moscow is probably the best spot to visit in this country and will give an incredible beginning to your Russian ventures. If you want to feast your eyes with beauty, then the Moscow Metro, Moscow Kremlin, and Red Square are among the top tourist attractions of the Russian capital that you should visit. If your goal is to immerse in its rich culture and have a view of its amazing architecture, then the Saint Basil's Cathedral and State Tretyakov Gallery are the best places to explore.

Sergiev Posad

Often alluded to as the Russian Vatican, Sergiev Posad is a place to visit for those who want to engage themselves in religious activities. Apart from this, the area is home to the popular Konniy Dvor, which is a museum that showcases its archeological artifacts, Lavra’s history, the country’s fine art, and more. Another popular must-see location is Pancake Hill, which houses the best pancake houses that can be found in the country.


Mainly known for its beauty during the winter season, Koprino is a Russian location that is popular among locals and tourists who want to engage themselves in snow-related recreational activities. Because of its popularity, the area accommodates some of the best hotels and restaurants that can be found in the country. It is also home to some of the richest country clubs in the country, thus making it a top destination for celebrities and royalty.


A great spot to visit with friends and family, Tikhvin is home to many museums. Locals and tourists are gravitated toward visiting the traditional Russian food that is pervasive on its streets. You can also visit the Theotokos of Tikhvin icon, which is recognized as Russia’s holiest site. Here, you can buy conventional Russian Orthodox gems that you can bring home as souvenirs. Tikhvin is also home to many bread shops that normally exude the smell of freshly baked bread to the entire area.


Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia locale, is a unique city in Russia that is known for its houses and buildings whose designs are influenced by Finnish architecture. The area also boasts several hiking spots that are popular among those who are fond of outdoor activities. It is home to one of Russia’s UNESCO sites called the Kizhi Island, where you can see open-air museums, visit impressive churches, and join classes about Russia’s Karelian crafts.


Also known as the “Venice of the North,” St. Petersburg is a port city that is popular for its canals, where you can take a boat cruise to observe the magnificence of the city. It is a location that is covered by many museums, churches, restaurants, and amusement parks, thus making it a fitting location for people of different ages and interests. One popular destination in this area is the Faberge Museum, which crafts and displays the popular and very expensive Faberge eggs.

Most Important Driving Rules

When visiting a foreign country like Russia, it's essential to understand the basic Russia driving rules, road safety, and regulations to avoid fines. While many countries have similar road rules, knowing the specific driving laws of a place like Russia can make your trip smoother and easier.

Seat Belt Laws in Russia

Wearing seat belts is mandatory when driving in Russia. It is furthermore compulsory that all vehicle seats have their own safety belts to oblige each and every passenger to wear them. In case a medical affliction stops you from wearing a seat belt, you ought to consult a clinical specialist and ask for a medical certificate that you can show to traffic police.

A reasonable child restriction equipment should be utilized for youngsters in some places between the ages of 3 and 11 years old and measure under 1.35 meters. Besides, kids that are under 13 years old are confined to position on the front seat. As per the country's laws, a year-old kid or lower weighing up to 9 kg should be arranged in the security seat at the back of the vehicle with the baby's head facing the back windows.

Right of Way in Russia

When driving, acknowledging which driving side in Russia is correct is something that travelers should think about. Like most countries, you have the option to proceed when you are driving on the right-hand side of Russian roads. Exactly when people are crossing a bystander, priority is given today. If traffic lights are missing, priority is given to walkers. As most drivers in the country have a bad reputation, reportedly, driving in Russia is dangerous, and you should always put your guard on and be as defensive as possible before deciding to hit its roads.

You will encounter various roundabouts in its major cities, and drivers who are entering them have the right to continue. In case you intend to turn left, you should be in the left (or possibly focus) way before you turn. In case you proceed with a straight way or plan to turn right, it is ideal for driving on the right-hand roadside. Further, when driving in Russian pedestrians, the right of way is given to the cyclists and walkers.

Legal Driving Age in Russia

The legal age for driving a car in Russia is 18 years old. However, this rule does not apply when renting a car. Car rental providers normally require drivers to be at least 21 years old for them to allow you to lease a car. A higher age requirement is sought by these companies when you are looking for a luxury vehicle to drive. In addition, you must be in possession of your driving license for at least one year.

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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