Travelling around the world and the international driving licence

The international driving licence is not essential but if you want to rent a car outside Europe it may be helpful. Indeed, in some countries your national driving license is not enough! Please note that all the procedures and details below are detailed according to French regulations and may be different in your country of residence! Don’t forget to check the details with your local authorities.

The most important things you need to know about the international driving licence.


The international driving license, what exactly is it?

First, the advantage is that it is free in France and only €10,10 in Spain. The international driving license is the translation in several languages of your national license. It is important to note that you can circulate freely throughout the Euro area with a valid European driving license. It’s once you go abroad that it gets complicated. In some countries European licenses are not enough, and that is why it is necessary to obtain an international driving license (if you wish to know the places where international licenses are required, check with their official embassy or consulate).

It is important to know that the international license does not substitute your national license, you must be in possession of both.

When you know you are going on vacation and you will need this permit, made one month before departure to be on. Normally the license is issued within two weeks. Once the permit is valid for 3 years maximum, and must be accompanied by the national valid license.

Countries where an international license is required

As we said earlier, you can circulate within the European Union with your national license. However, for the rest of the world the rule is not the same as each country has a different policy. For example in the US or Canada a European license is enough if you’re staying for less than three months, whereas in other countries such as Thailand or South Africa the international driving license is mandatory.

If you want to know the list of countries where international licences are required, please address yourself to your local authorities – department of transport, ministry of foreign affairs, etc.

Knowing that the international licence is free or really cheap, you recommend you make the request before your trip!


What are the steps to get my international driving licence?

You will have to ask the local or national authorities at home some months before you travel.

The documents required in France are:

  • International licence application form
  • Color photocopy (both sides) of your national identity document (passport or id card)
  • color photocopy (front and back) of your licence
  • 2 passport photos
  • a stamped envelope if you wish to receive the licence at home.

And that’s it! One to two weeks after you’ll receive your licence!

And you guys, do you have your international driving licence? What are the procedures where you live?