Looking to do some driving while abroad? Make sure to get your International Drivers Permit using this guide.
The International Driving Permit was not something that we were hugely familiar with before we set off on our travels. We weren’t sure if we would need it, why it was relevant or how to apply for the permit. (We did know that we needed it to go Mario Karting in Tokyo though).
What Is An International Driving Permit?
When travelling abroad it is difficult for foreign countries to figure out exactly what your license covers you for at home. Are you allowed to drive a motorbike? a car? or just drive your friends and family mad?
The permit is simply a translation of your regular drivers license into various languages so that local authorities can recognise your driving qualifications while abroad.
Can I Use My Normal License Instead of an International Driving Permit While Abroad?
While travelling (especially in Asia) we have had to show an International Driving Permit to take part in certain activities (such as Mario Karting through the streets of Tokyo) and our regular license alone was not enough to satisfy the requirements.
In some countries, (Vietnam being the notable one in Asia) even the International Driving Permit is not officially recognised. Only a Vietnamese license will satisfy local driving requirements. Backpackers all over the country still rent scooters etc. though so take from that what you will!
How To Apply For The International Driving Permit
To get a permit, you will need to apply through your countries issuing body. If you are Irish, then you will need to apply through the AA.
Step 1: Download an application form from the AA website.
Step 2: Complete the application form, attach a photocopy of your drivers license (both sides), a passport sized picture (which you will need to sign on the back) and put it all in an envelope.
Step 3: Make payment (see below).
Step 4: Post it all to the AA ( AA Travel Services, P.O. Box 11331, Dublin 2. )
How Much Does It Cost and How Do I Pay?
The permit costs €15 for the express application. This will have the permit back in 3-5 working days. If you aren’t in a rush then the standard service costs €10 and takes between 8-10 working days.
The AA don’t accept cash payments so you can either pay by debit or credit card or by sending a postal order or cheque, made payable to the AA, with your application. It is also worth noting that there is a processing fee of €1 for each postal order!
So that is the craic with the International Driving Permit. If you have any questions then please let us know in the comments below 🙂