All You Need to Know About International Driving Permit in the UK

Pandemic has hit our lifestyle badly. It has taught us to become self-reliant and independent. While there is a restriction on international travel, there are ways for British travelers to roam around Europe quite easily. Pack your bags, hop on the car, and start exploring. One thing you must need for the quarantine holiday trip is an international driving permit for UK citizens.

What is International driving permit UK?

An international driving permit or IDP validates your UK driving license to be used internationally. Though an International driving permit is not required everywhere. About 140 countries ask for IDP. The permit will be valid for just a year. You will only get one only if you are 18 years old or above.

Key facts about IDP

You must have a working driving license to get an International driving permit, the UK is pretty strict about the rules. You will have to apply for the same three months before you plan your travel itinerary.

international driving permit

Most of the countries ask for the 1949 convention international driving permit. Some may also ask for 1926 convention IDP. If you travel often, you may also try international driving permit 1968. You can use this one in as many countries as you want. 1968 IDP is valid until the expiry of the driving license or for three years. They consider the one that is earlier.

IDP is most suitable for traveling. If you are planning for a longer stay, you must consider the rules that the respective countries have for driving. Remember, an international driving permit is not the same thing as an international driving license

Difference between international driving permit and international driving license

An international driving license is way different from an International driving permit. While IDP is very useful in many ways, IDL is practically of no use in foreign countries. Most of the countries do not consider international driving license as a valid document for driving. It is not legally recognized anywhere. Though many sell them online. Be aware of such fraud schemes that you might come across. Along with your UK driving license, the only document that stands valid in foreign lands are international driving permit in the UK.

international driving permit

Who are eligible for an international driving permit in the UK?

Any citizen of United Kingdon, with a valid driving license, are eligible for IDP. The provisional license is not valid for the permit. The driving license must cover the vehicle that you plan to use in a foreign land. You will have to be an adult, that is, 18 years old at least to get the permit. A permanent resident of the United Kingdom can apply for the permit. You must know that the officials are strict about international driving permits in the UK.

How long does it take to get an international driving permit?

You can get the permit on the same day if you have all the documents that they might need. So you can get a permit even if you plan suddenly for a trip. However, for safety, you can apply for the permit three months before your traveling time.

Who issues International driving permit in the UK?

The Post Office is the sole provider of IDP or international driving permit in the United Kingdom. They have different branches where you can go for the permit. However, you might come across a few frauds asking for money in exchange for the permit. In no way, they can ever give you any documents. Officials are quite strict about the issuing of permits. They will not issue one in exchange for extra money.

International Driving permit in Europe

Normally, all the European Union countries accept all the photocard driving license of the United Kingdom. Some of the driving licenses in the United Kingdom do not have a photo id attached to it. They do not follow the standard European Union photocard style driving license. The EEA and European Union countries can sometimes not allow these cardholders to drive in a foreign land. You might have to apply for an International Driving permit in the UK to avoid taking the risk.

You will need an IDP to drive in non-European Union countries. After Brexit, the travelers will be able to use the driving license in the EU and EEA countries. But those who are staying abroad for work or study will have to issue their license.

international driving permit

Frequently asked questions

Can we get Backdated permits?

No chance! Backdated permits are unthinkable, both in the United Kingdom as well as in any other European Union country. International driving permit in Europe has much stricter law in place.

What happened to IDP after Brexit?

Many things have changed after Brexit. However, for driving license, UK license holders can use their license in European union as well as in EEA countries till the end of this year. What happens next depends on the relationship that the United Kingdom and the European Union share.

international driving permit

What happens if we lose the UK driving license?

If you have lost the driving license, cannot provide full information, you will not be allowed to drive in European Union countries. You must at least have a photocopy of the same.

What happens if we go to non-European Union countries?

Non-European Union countries will ask for an International driving permit for UK citizens. Even if you have a valid driving license, that will not help. So, be prepared with your IDP before heading to non-European Union countries.

international driving permit


Most of the travelers have rooted for self-driven cars. It is the best way to travel safely and cheaply. Moreover, you will not have to worry about the stops. You can stop anywhere in between and enjoy the beauty of nature. International driving permit for UK citizen is even easier to get. The driving test in the UK is pretty tough. So, they do not go tough on the drivers. If you have all the documents, Head to any of the post office branch, to get hold of your IDP.

One Comment

  1. Is it possible to get an International Driving Permit online ?
    I am a UK citizen with a full UK driving licence working in Taiwan and I have no chance to get back to the UK in the near future.
    Appreciate any information you can give me.

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