When entering a foreign country
Most countries share the ruling where foreigners must have an ‘International Drivers Permit’ (International Drivers Licence = IDP), in order to drive around 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. Different countries may have slightly different rules so it’s best if you first checked with the embassy before you hop on board the plane.
Benefits of applying for (and acquiring) your own International Drivers Permit
If you’re planning on taking the scenic route on foreign soil then you will need to rent your own van, car or motorcycle to travel comfortably. 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 identification because it will have your photo as well as your name and other sensitive information. You can hold on to this instead of having to carry your passport with you at all times. In most cases, having an Australian drivers 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 drivers 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 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 Centres branch across the nation or you can also download the form online and mail it back to the RAC for them to begin processing it. It is also wise to prepare and bring your own passport-sized photograph as most centres do not have the ability to take one for you.
When applying through the mail, always make sure you have your latest contact information written clearly on the envelope along with return address, contact information, a copy of your drivers licence and a photograph.
How long processing will take to complete
You should get your permits on the very next day as processing usually begins the very day the applications are sent in. Delivery via post will vary and it could take up to 7 days for you to receive it but you can select form a range of different postal options if you need the permit back urgently.
RAA travel is not liable for any lost or damaged mail via normal mail delivery and as such they always recommend registered post for extra assurance.