An International Driving Permit
) allows an individual to drive a private motor vehicle
in another nation
when accompanied by a valid license from their
home country. The document is slightly larger than a standard
and is essentially a multiple
language translation of one's own existing driver's license,
complete with photograph and vital statistics. It is not a license
to operate a motor vehicle on its own.
The Vienna Convention
on Road Traffic
was not ratified by all signatory parties.
Notable cases of countries that refused or delayed ratification
include Chile, Republic of China (Taiwan), Costa Rica, Ecuador,
Ghana, Holy See, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Republic of
Korea, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
The main regulation about driving licence is in Annexe 6 (domestic
driving permit) and 7 (international driving permit).
Following article 41:
- Contracting Parties shall recognize:
- (a) Any domestic driver's license drawn up in their national language or in one
of their national languages, or, if not drawn up in such a
language, accompanied by a certified translation;
- (b) Any domestic driver's license conforming to the provisions
of Annex 6 to the Convention; and
- (c) Any international driver's license conforming to the
provisions of Annex 7 to the Convention, as valid for driving in
their territories a vehicle coming within the categories covered by
domestic driver's license, provided that the license is still valid
and that it was issued by another Contracting Party or subdivision
thereof or by an association duly answered thereto by such other Contracting Party. The
provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to learner-driver
- 3. Contracting Parties undertake to adopt such measures as may
be necessary to ensure that the domestic and international driver's
licenses referred to the in subparagraphs 1(a). (b) and (c) of this
Article are not issued in their territories without a reasonable
guarantee of the drivers aptitude and physical fitness.
- 5. An international driver's license shall be issued only to
the holder of a domestic driver's license for the issue of which
the minimum condition laid down in the Convention has been
fulfilled. It shall not be valid after the expiry of the
corresponding domestic driver's license.
There is a European Agreement supplementing the Convention on Road
Traffic (1968), which was concluded in Geneva, on 1971-05-01.
The Geneva Convention on Road Traffic is accepted in a majority of
the nations; major non-signatory countries include Germany, which
did not have a government yet at that time. The main regulation
about international driving licence is in Annexe 9. Switzerland
signed but did not ratify the Convention.
There is a European Agreement supplementing the 1949 Convention on
road traffic andthe 1949 Protocol on road signs and signals,
concluded in Geneva, on 1950-09-16.
Paris Convention on
Motor Traffic is the more obscure IDP Convention; it is only
required in the following nations: Iraq, Somalia and Brazil.
and 1926 Conventions are authorised for issue to people over the
age of 18 holding valid UK driver's licenses.
According to the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic, an IDP remains
valid for one year from the date of issue. However, according to
the Vienna Convention, an IDP remains valid for three years from
the date of issue, or until the expiration date of national driving
permit, whichever is earlier. An IDP is not valid for driving in
the country where it was issued.
Countries Recognizing IDP
Following is a list of countries that recognize the International
* Not party to 1949 convention; International Driving Permit
** Requires presentation to local police and payment of special
registration upon arrival
United States, the Department of State has authorized two private entities, the
Association and the American Automobile Touring
Automobile Club as the only entities in the United
States to issue IDPs.
They advise against
purchasing IDPs from unauthorized outlets, as these are sometimes
The United Nations
does not issue
International Driving Permits (sometimes called International
Driving Documents by fraudulent outlets). The depiction of the UN
emblem or the name "United Nations" is not required nor authorized
by either the 1949 or 1968 United Nations Conventions on Road