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Why you need an International Drivers Licence for your overseas trip

Why you need an International Drivers Licence for your overseas trip

Australians have a love affair with travel. Last year over 7 million Aussies left the country to go on an overseas trip and many hired a car while they were away. If you’re planning on driving in other countries here’s what you need to know before you start your overseas adventure.

What’s an International Drivers Licence?

The International Drivers Licence (also known as an International Drivers Permit or IDP) is an official United Nations sanctioned permit for tourists that recognises your valid Australian drivers licence in over 150 countries.

Does every country require an International Driving Licence?

Not all, but many countries do need you to have an International Driving Licence and a current Australian driver’s licence to hire a car.

Check out which ones on The Australian Automobile Association website, which has a directory listing all 150 member countries requirements and reciprocal motoring club services and in-country contact details.

Why do I need one?

Providing your Australian drivers licence is current, an International Drivers Licence allows you to drive overseas without any extra tests, applications or permits that a particular country may require. Plus it can be used for additional identification if you hit an emergency situation. Driving without an International Drivers Licence can also invalidate your travel insurance policy for claims while driving overseas, so check your cover before you go.

Where do I get one?

International Drivers Licences are issued through state and territory motoring clubs and the cost ranges from around $30 to $50. Find your local state motoring association.

What do I need to apply for an International Driving Licence?

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Hold a valid Australian Drivers Licence (either provisional or full licence)
  • A copy of your valid Australian Drivers Licence (front and back)
  • A recent passport size photo
  • Complete an International Driving Permit Application

How long does it last?

Your International Drivers Licence will last for 12 months unless your Australian driving licence expires or is cancelled first, then you will have to renew both. You can renew your International Drivers Licence from overseas – just fill in the application form and return it to your local state motoring association.

Safe driving overseas

Driving in other countries where you may be driving on the other side of the road from Australia, where road rules may be different or hard to understand and driving conditions may range from chaotic to entirely unsafe, means you have to take extra care. Do as much research as you can before arriving about different road regulations and make sure you can, where possible, wear seatbelts and drive to minimise risk.

Remember that driving under the influence of alcohol can have severe criminal penalties with some countries having a zero limit. Traffic infringements and penalties can also be severe (and have expensive on-the- spot fines) in some countries.

More information

Get more overseas driving information at the Australian Government website Smartraveller which provides travel advice, links to up-to-date road reports for approximately 150 countries, 24 hour consular assistance and Australian passport information.

Disclaimer: NRMA Travel Insurance is issued by Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC trading as Great Lakes Australia and promoted by Insurance Australia Limited trading as NRMA Insurance. Cover-More Insurance Services Pty Limited acts under a binder authority from Great Lakes Australia to arrange for the issue of and to administer the product on their behalf. This is general advice only so to see if the product is right for you, always consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide available at