United Kingdom flag

Your Gateway to Driving in the UK: Secure an International Driving Permit

Apply for IDP
Get your printed IDP + digital copy for $49
Digital IDP is sent in max. 2 hours
United Kingdom background illustration
idp-illustration
Instant Approval
Recognized in 150+ countries
Valid from 1 to 3 years

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

01

Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy

02

Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license

03

Get approved

Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

Apply now
how to get international driving permit
car turn

The United Kingdom is a destination far beyond London's famous landmarks. Each country within the UK offers unique experiences, from the scenic routes and historical sites of Scotland to the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Wales and Northern Ireland.

But to unlock the magic of these diverse regions, consider an unforgettable adventure behind the wheel. Cruise past historic castles, lose yourself in the picturesque countryside and explore vibrant cities at your own pace.

With an International Driving Permit (IDP), the UK unfurls before you. Let the International Drivers Association help you craft a travel experience unlike any other.

The Benefits of an International Driving Permit

Busy Street Scene in London with Red Buses
Source: Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

If your driver's license is not in English, an International Driving Permit (IDP) becomes essential for foreigners wishing to drive in the United Kingdom. It is essentially a translation of your driver's license containing your name, photo, and driver information. It does not replace your original driver’s license but serves as a supplement to it.

Which countries require an IDP?

Many countries require an International Driving Permit (IDP) for foreign drivers. Some countries that recognize IDPs include Japan, Brazil, Italy, Australia, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Check the specific requirements of your destination country before traveling.

How long does an IDP last?

An IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue. However, the validity period can vary depending on the issuing country and the type of permit. Before your next trip, check the expiration date and renew it if necessary.

Types of IDPs

1. 1949 Geneva Convention IDP

  • Valid for one year
  • Recognized in approximately 100 countries
  • Often used for short-term travel or temporary stays

2. 1968 Vienna Convention IDP

  • Valid for up to three years but not exceeding the validity of the driver’s license
  • Recognized in over 75 countries
  • More suitable for long-term stays and is commonly used within the European Union

3. 1926 Paris Convention IDP

  • Rarely used today
  • Valid for one year
  • Recognized in a limited number of countries that were signatories to the 1926 convention

How to use an IDP in the United Kingdom

Always carry your IDP and your home country’s driver’s license when driving in the United Kingdom. If requested during a traffic stop, present both documents to rental agencies when hiring a vehicle and law enforcement, if necessary. Ensure that the IDP is valid and has not expired, as driving with an expired IDP can result in legal complications.

Applying for an International Driving Permit

How to Get an IDP in the United Kingdom

If you wish to see the world, securing a passport in the United Kingdom is not the only way.

The UK has a streamlined process for obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP). Until March 31, 2024, IDPs were available for purchase at post offices. However, after this date, most post offices in the UK will no longer issue IDPs.

Now, you can obtain an IDP through PayPoint stores. The current cost is £5.50, roughly $7.00, subject to currency fluctuation. This new process ensures travelers can still easily obtain their IDP for driving abroad.

Eligibility and required documents:

  • Must have a valid Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland driving license
  • Licenses issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man are also accepted
  • Bring your full valid photo card license
  • If presenting an older paper version of the license, bring a valid passport for identification
  • Provide a passport-standard photograph

Non-Eligibility:

  • Channel Islands: If you hold a driving license from the Channel Islands, you are not eligible to apply for an IDP.
  • Isle of Man: Holders of driving licenses from the Isle of Man are also not eligible to apply.
  • Foreign Countries: If your driving license is issued by a foreign country, you cannot apply for an IDP.
  • Diplomatic Licence: Drivers operating under a diplomatic license are not eligible to apply for an IDP.

When can I apply for an IDP?

If you have a valid driver’s license from your home country, you can apply for an IDP anytime. However, it's recommended that you apply well in advance of your trip to ensure you receive it on time.

Can someone else apply for an IDP on my behalf?

Yes, someone else can apply for an IDP on your behalf. However, they must provide your original driving license, a signed application form, passport-sized photos, and other required documents. It's advisable to check the specific requirements with the issuing authority.

How and Where to Get an IDP Outside the United Kingdom

Local Automobile Association (AA)

Most countries have their automobile association affiliated with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the international governing body for motoring. This association typically issues IDPs to licensed drivers in their home country. Search online for "[Your Country's Name] Automobile Association" or "[Your Country's Name] AA" to find their website or contact details.

Government Licensing Agency

Some countries may issue IDPs directly through a government licensing agency. Check your country's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website or equivalent agency for information on IDP issuance procedures and any required documents.

Third-Party Online Services

If you'd like convenience when completing the requirements before traveling to the United Kingdom, consider organizations like the International Drivers Association (IDA). The IDA offers online IDP processing starting at $49, simplifying obtaining an International Driving Permit.

Ready to explore the best places to visit in the United Kingdom? Get your International Driving Permit (IDP) hassle-free and online for $49 via the International Drivers Association. With an IDP, you can explore the UK's landscapes and vibrant culture at your own pace. Don’t miss the chance to create unforgettable memories on the open road. Secure your IDP today and start your adventure in the UK!

FAQs: International Driving Permit in the United Kingdom

Do I need an IDP to drive in the UK?

No, you don't need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the UK if you hold a valid driver's license issued in:

  • Any country that is a party to the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.)
  • Any country with a bilateral agreement with the UK (e.g., Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein)

What if my license isn't in English?

An IDP is recommended even with a valid license if it's not in English. This can help with communication during police checks or car rentals.

Do I need an IDP to drive in the European Union (EU) after Brexit?

The UK is no longer part of the EU. However, you can usually drive in the EU with a valid UK photocard driving license for short trips (typically under 30 days, but check with the specific country).

Here's where an IDP becomes important:

  • Longer Stays: If you plan to drive in the EU for an extended period (check with the specific country), you might need an IDP, especially for car rentals.
  • Paper Licenses: If you hold a paper UK driving license, you'll likely need an IDP to drive in most EU countries.
  • Non-EU Issued Licenses: Holders of licenses issued outside the EU (including the UK) will generally need an IDP to drive in the EU.

Is an IDP enough to drive in the EU?

No, you must always carry your IDP and original valid UK driver's license while driving in the EU.

Additional Considerations:

  • Validity: An IDP is typically valid for one year in most EU countries.
  • Vehicle Requirements: Besides a valid license (or IDP), ensure your vehicle meets EU regulations, such as displaying a UK sticker (no longer GB stickers) and having the correct headlights for the country you're visiting.

Can I rent cars using an IDP?

When renting a car in the United Kingdom, It's always best to check the specific requirements of the car rental company you plan to use before your trip. An IDP may be required by some car rental companies in the UK and the EU, especially:

  • If your license is not in English
  • If you rent a car to travel across borders within the UK or the EU (check with the rental company)
  • If you hold a license issued outside the EU or countries with a bilateral agreement with the UK
  • Obtaining car Insurance in the United Kingdom: Car insurance companies might require an IDP to validate your driver’s credentials. This ensures that you are covered under the rental car insurance policy.

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.

Question 1 of 3

Where was your license issued?

Back to Top