When entering a foreign country
98% of countries are covered by two United Nations conventions that regulate foreign driving, the 1949 Geneva Convention and the 1968 Vienna Convention.
Most countries share the ruling where foreigners must have an ‘International Drivers Permit’ (International Drivers Licence = IDP), in order to drive within a foreign country legally. In addition, you will also need to present your current driving permit from your home country which proves you have the qualification to drive a motorcycle or a car. Many countries have different agreements that affect your ability to drive in said country, we suggest contacting their local embassy to get the most accurate information possible.
Benefits of applying for (and acquiring) your own International Drivers Permit
Travelling a foreign country using just their available public transport or transport network services (Taxi, Uber etc.) can be confusing and costly, often these services won’t be able to get you to all the places you want to go. Without a valid International Drivers Licence, you will not be able to drive legally in the country and thus be unable to even rent a vehicle to drive.
The International Drivers Permit is also useful as a separate document of official identification as it will contain your name, photo identification and other sensitive identifying information. Instead of carrying your passport around everywhere at the risk of losing it, you can use your IDP. In most cases, having an Australian driver’s licence is not sufficient and must be complemented with a valid International Drivers Licence.
When applying for your own International Drivers Licence, do take note that the usual period of validity is one year from the date you apply for it or when your Australian drivers licence expires, whichever comes first. If you’re planning on spending a long time in a foreign country, you should renew your driver’s licence before you leave Australia so that you can qualify for the one-year validity period on your International Drivers Licence.
How to start applying for an International Drivers Permit
An International Drivers Permit can only be obtained by the RAC (Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia) and members of the Australian Automobile Association as they are the sole parties with the authority to do so.
You can start applying for the International Drivers Licence at any RAA Member Service Centre across the nation, otherwise online applications are available as well as a printable form available to be filled out and mailed back to the RAC so the application process can begin. We also advise on bringing in your own, up to date passport sized photo, as many RAA service centres don’t have the facilities to take on for you.
When applying via mail, always make sure you have your latest contact information written clearly on the envelope along with the return address. Enclose a copy of your current driver’s licence and a clear and recent pass port sized photo within the envelope.
How long processing will take to complete
You should receive approval for your permit(s) the very next day, as processing typically begins the same day that applications are sent in. ETAs for postal delivery can vary and it may take 7+ days for your permit to arrive, however a range of postal options are available at an extra cost to expedite the arrival of your permit(s).
RAA travel is not liable for any lost or damaged mail via standard postal delivery and as such they always recommend registered post for extra assurance.