Your guide to International Driving Permits

The ins and outs of driving overseas.

RACQ International Driving Permits Coordinator Charlotte Peters breaks down everything you need to know about International Driving Permits (IDP).

What are IDPs?

 IDPs allow motorists to drive in certain countries without undergoing any new driving tests.

Do all countries require an IDP?

No. Travellers should check if they need an IDP at their destination through the online IDP directory. Australian drivers are automatically covered in countries like New Zealand and Samoa by the Trans-Tasman agreement, so they don't require an IDP.

Does an IDP differ to a standard Australian licence?

When driving in Australia, motorists can drive a moped or a scooter if the engine is under 50cc. That doesn't translate on an IDP and travellers will need to check the driving requirements of their destination to ensure there are no issues.

Are all ages eligible to have an IDP?

IDPs can’t be issued to anyone under the age of 18 or those on a learner licence, which might be disappointing to those wanting to visit Japan and do the Mario Kart course on their 18th birthday.

How much do IDPs cost and where can travellers get one?

IDPs cost $42. RACQ and the other motoring clubs across Australia are the only retailers permitted to issue IDPs to Australian drivers. Travellers can lodge their application online, by post or by visiting a branch.

When should travellers apply for an IDP?

Travellers planning to drive overseas should obtain an International Driving Permit before leaving the country. Travellers must be proactive when booking an IDP as electronic copies can’t be sent overseas. There is the option of express international postage, but it can be costly. IDPs are only valid for 12 months from the date issued, so travellers should book them six months in advance. If their trip was extended, they would need to reapply for another IDP.

Any tips to streamline the IDP process?

To receive an IDP either immediately instore or to streamline the application process through online orders, travellers should submit a photo that meets the passport photo guidelines (plain white background and no glasses). Travellers need to ensure their licence is current and that the address can be read clearly. Also, if a court-ordered condition is present on their licence but has since been removed, documentation from the Department of Transport will be required.

Apply online now.