International Driving Permit

Applying for an IDP

How to find out whether or not you need an IDP, and how to get one

An update about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Due to the situation, we can't issue International Driving Permits at the moment.

We're following the government's guidelines, and will start issuing IDPs again as soon as we're advised to do so.

Find out how we're responding to the situation.


What is an IDP?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence. If one's required in the country you're driving in, you'll need to carry it along with your UK licence or risk a fine.

You won't need an IDP if you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK and you're driving in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

You might need an IDP to drive outside of Europe. You might also need one to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either:

  • A paper driving licence, or
  • A licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

If you're hiring a car abroad, ask the hire company in advance what the driving licence requirements are in the countries you’re visiting. If you're not sure, get an IDP just in case, especially if travelling outside Europe.

Cityscape highway

Documents for driving abroad in Europe

New rules on travel in the EU came into effect on 1 January 2021. You'll now need a Green Card from your insurer to drive in Europe.


How to get an IDP

The way you apply for an IDP has changed – we can't issue any IDPs at our Folkestone/Eurotunnel shop.

  • The quickest way to apply for an IDP is to visit the nearest Post Office branch that offers this service.
  • Find out if you need an IDP using the Post Office's IDP Country Checker.
  • Find your nearest IDP issuing Post Office (there are around 2,500 so you shouldn’t have to travel too far).
  • To apply for an IDP you must be 18 years or over, and have a valid UK driving licence.
  • An IDP can’t be issued to a provisional licence holder.

IDP mail order service

  • If you're not able to get to a Post Office – for example, if you live overseas – you can use our new mail order service.
  • For a fee, we'll apply for a permit on your behalf. You'll need to allow a minimum of 10 workings days (possibly longer if applying from overseas).
  • Read our important notes for more information.


IDP mail order service: important notes

We can't accept applications from under-18s or provisional licence holders.

  1. It's your responsibility to check you apply for the correct permit.
  2. This service is for valid UK licence holders only.
  3. We recommend you send your documents by a tracked, signed for, or courier service. We take no responsibility for any applications not received.
  4. We'll only return documents by a signed-for method or courier service. You'll need to pay the appropriate fees.
  5. Please allow a minimum of 10 working days to process your application once we've received it.
  6. The date of issue is also the start date for your permit's validity.
  7. IPDs can't be backdated.
  8. Personal information on your UK driving licence will be copied onto the permit. We can't accept or use a variation of name or address that's not displayed on your driving licence.
  9. Once we've received your application, we'll contact you for payment by debit or credit card. (We don't accept Amex or Diners Club cards.)
  10. We can only process fully completed applications.
  11. Permits will not be issued until the payment has been authorised and cleared.
  12. If there are any queries on submitted applications, we can only respond to the named applicant.
  13. If you're travelling to (or already in) another country for work or to take up residence, we advise that you contact the local authorities to check that your permit will be accepted.
  14. An IDP issued in the UK isn't valid for use in the UK.
  15. You must supply a recent, passport-type photo.
  16. Your IDP is used in conjunction with the UK national licence, and doesn't replace it.
  17. We need your original driving licence (photocard only) to apply for your permit. If your licence has been lost or stolen you must contact the DVLA.
  18. We take no responsibility for personal losses as a result of any delays in receipt by the applicant of the issued permit.


Updated 26 January 2021

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