Where do Canadians need International Driving Permits?

Page author

by Hertz - 25 July 2019

If you’re travelling abroad and plan to drive in that country, International Driving Permits are often recommended and sometimes legally required.

International Driving Permits (or ‘IDPs’) are accepted alongside a valid Canadian driver's licence in well over 100 countries, and failing to produce one when required can result in a substantial fine.

For example, you’ll need an International Driving Permit in India, and an International Driving Permit in Japan, as well as many European destinations.

This guide will help you find which countries you need an IDP for, and where and how you can attain one.

What is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driving Permit is a legal document that allows you to drive abroad, when presented alongside a valid Canadian driver's licence.

International Driving Permits are recognized in around 150 countries which are part of the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic Act. But some nations who have not signed up to this still honour the IDP.

So, whether you need an International Driving Permit for Italy or an International Driving Permit for Austria, you can travel freely, knowing you have the correct translation.

Who issues International Driving Permits for Canada?

You acquire an IDP from your permanent resident country, and Canadians apply via the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

Anyone who is a Canadian resident can apply for an IDP. You just need to have a valid driving licence, and be at least 18 years old.

To apply for an IDP from the CAA you’ll need to present a photocopy of the front and back of your Canadian provincial driver’s licence or Territorial driver’s licence. This will need to be accompanied by the completed IDP application and two passport photographs of yourself, signed by you. There is also a small fee for applications.

What’s the processing time for International Driving Permits?

You can send your application off in the post, or visit a CAA office and submit your application in person. This can be a swifter process. To find your nearest branch, visit the official CAA website.

If you post your application it can take a few weeks to process, so it’s best to do this well in advance to make sure your IDP arrives in time for your trip.

How long are International Driving Permits valid for?

IDPs from all countries who are part of the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic Act are valid for one year from the date issued. If you plan to drive for longer than 12 months in a foreign country, you will need to apply for another IDP before the first expires.

Do remember that a valid driver’s licence needs to be carried alongside an IDP, so your licence must also be in date in order for the permit to be accepted.

International Driving Permits

Where are International Driving Permits required?

Below is a list of the countries that require or recommend an IDP if you intend to drive or rent a car there.

It’s always a good idea to check with the tourist board of the country you’re travelling to before you set off for your journey. This is useful to get up to date information on the specifics of the IDP in that country, and for local driving regulations.

Some countries may not formally require an IDP, but will require another driving permit instead. Others may specifically require IDPs for car rental, or if you intend to drive there for more than a certain period of time.

This Government guide offers advice on visiting individual countries, if you require further information.

International Driving Permits for Europe

IDP Required with a valid Canadian driver's licence

Austria Finland Poland
Belgium France Romania
Bulgaria Greece Russia
Croatia Hungary Slovakia
Cyprus Ireland Slovenia
Czech Republic Italy Spain
Denmark Luxembourg Sweden
Estonia Netherlands  

IDP Recommended with a valid Canadian driver's licence

Germany Lithuania Latvia  

Valid Canadian driver's licence needed only

United Kingdom

Although International Driving Permits are recommended, you can drive in the UK with a valid Canadian licence for up to 12 months.

International Driving Permits for Asia and Australia

IDP Required with a valid Canadian driver's licence

Afghanistan Hong Kong Fiji
Sri Lanka Kyrgyzstan Indonesia

(must be bought locally)

Bangladesh Japan Kiribati
Pakistan Tajikistan Malaysia
Bhutan South Korea New Zealand
Thailand Nepal Philippines
India Mongolia Papua New Guinea
Vanuatu Brunei Kazakhstan

IDP Recommended with a valid Canadian driver's licence

Uzbekistan Turkmenistan Singapore
Micronesia Taiwan Marshall Islands

Valid Canadian driver's licence needed only

Tuvalu

International Driving Permits in Australia

The laws in Australia vary from state to state. Some require an IDP, but others may not. Please check the Australian Government website for further advice.

International Driving Permits for the Middle East

IDP Required with a valid Canadian driver's licence

Iran Saudi Arabia Lebanon
Iraq Syria Kuwait
Israel
UAE
Qatar
Yemen

IDP Recommended with a valid Canadian driver's licence

Egypt Oman
Turkey Bahrain

International Driving Permits for USA and Mexico

Valid Canadian driver's licence needed only

USA

but check local State regulations

Mexico

but check local State regulations

If you're thinking of renting a car, acquiring International Driving Permits in good time will give you peace of mind when you drive abroad.

We recommend checking with the local tourist board before you travel if you require more information, and to stay up to date with the local driving laws.

Page author

Article by Hertz

58 Posts