Travel

Published on October 10th, 2012 | by Jordan

International Drivers Permits

A lot of travellers don’t know that they might be required to carry special permits along with their regular licenses if planning to drive in other countries. Referred to as International Driving Permits (IDP), they’re available in Canada, exclusively at CAA Stores for Members and non-members alike. Simply put, an IDP proves that you hold a legitimate driver’s license in Canada. It places your G-level license rating alongside the equivalent qualifications for over 10 of the world’s most commonly used languages, making it easier for travellers to drive in 150+ countries without additional tests or applications. IDPs are valid in all countries that have signed the Convention on Road Traffic Treaty of 1949, and even some that aren’t (though unofficially). If you’re planning on driving in a foreign country and want to ensure doing so goes as smoothly as possible, it would be wise to stop by a CAA Store to purchase an IDP.

What are the advantages of holding an IDP?

As mentioned, holding an IDP in one of the 150+ countries it’s accepted in will make renting and driving a car there much easier; it allows travellers to drive in other countries without further tests or applications. Even if driving isn’t essential on your next trip, an IDP can come in handy as an additional piece of photo ID during international travel. But most importantly, many international car rental hubs will require an IDP despite one not being necessary to drive in that country.

What do I need to obtain an IDP?

Those looking to obtain an IDP must be 18 years of age or older with a valid Canadian provincial driver’s license. An IDP can’t be issued for learner’s permits, provisional or suspended licenses and any type of vehicle the current license does not already cover. When visiting your local CAA Store, have the following ready to ensure a smooth process: two (2) passport-sized photos (can be purchased at CAA); a single payment of $25, paid for by cash, debit, Visa, MasterCard or American Express (if applying by mail, you can only pay by credit card); and an IDP application form that has been signed and completed either at home or in-store at any CAA Store location.

How long does it take to get an IDP?

The process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes when applying in person, but if applying by mail, you should expect your IDP to reach you in about 3 weeks.

What else should I know about getting an IDP?

IDPs are issued at CAA Stores in Canada and cannot be renewed or obtained elsewhere. They’re valid for one year from the date of issue or until your Canadian driver’s license expires – whichever comes first. Also, keep your Canadian driver’s license and IDP together at all times as it’s important to remember that they work together, not apart.

If you’re planning on driving during your next big vacation, an IDP is an absolute must. Proving to foreign authorities and car rental hubs that you hold the credentials necessary to operate a motor vehicle, is essential, plus they’re incredibly useful and will likely save travellers time and money, too.

Click here to learn more about IDPs from the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website

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