The most comfortable way to travel abroad is to do it in your own car. That way you can set your own schedule and explore the country you’re visiting at your own pace. In order to do so, you’ll need an international driving permit. This permit and A Driving License will allow you to drive abroad and to rent a car in a foreign country. The document doesn’t cover your insurance and that’s an additional item to provide when traveling, but it does make your life easier.
How To Get the Permit?
If you wonder how to get an international driving license, it is issued by the same institution that issues a national permit. You’ll need to show proof that you already have a national license and the intentional one will be issued based on it. There are no driving tests involved and you only need to fill out a form and provide pictures.
The whole process can be taken care of online and it takes about a week to get the permit if you do it that way. You can also get it in person, and that’s faster but it involves waiting in lines and you need to prepare the copies of the proper documents yourself.
Is it a License or a Permit?
The proper name for the document is a permit and not a license. The term license is used since that is what the national driving document is called. It’s often used in online reviews about the permit and it shouldn’t confuse you if you see it.
However, if you see the term “license” on any official-looking documents, those are fake and they won’t be accepted when traveling abroad. The only proper term is “permit” and that’s what should be printed on the document.
How Long the Permit is Valid for?
The permit is valid for one year. After a year you can renew it online or in the same office you’ve obtained it in the first place. The process is the same and it can be done while you’re abroad. If you end up needing to send some personal documents, you’ll have to do it via special mail.
The permit will also become invalid if the national license expires. It happens every five years, and there’s a chance you won’t be able to renew it while abroad and online, so make sure you know when it expires.
Where You Can Use the Permit?
The permit can be used in any country which recognizes it as a document. At this point, there are 150 countries that do so, and that covers most of your travel plans. However, some countries have their own rules and don’t accept the permit – China and Brazil are the most notable examples.
Some countries have a bilateral agreement that allows their citizens to drive with national permits instead. The US has such agreements with Mexico and Canada. There are also intra-American licenses that do cover Brazil.
What The Permit is and What It Isn’t?
The permit is used to drive in a foreign country and to rent a car while you’re there. It doesn’t cover the insurance for the vehicle and you’ll need to get that separately and have proof of it with you. The insurance fees could be a bit higher in some countries if you are a “young driver”.
An international driving permit isn’t proof of identification and it can’t be used as such. If someone asks you for proof of identification while abroad, you’ll need to provide a different document and that will most likely be a passport.
What the Permit and A Driving License Will Look Like?
The permit is very similar to an ordinary driving license. It comes with all the tech used to prevent counterfeiting the document, and it has a photo similar to that you can find on a passport, as well as your personal information and an ID number.
The only difference is that it also comes in 10 languages so that it can be used across the world. The languages are: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, Swedish, and Portuguese. That covers most of the places a tourist plans to visit.
Who Can’t Use the Permit?
The permit allows you to drive if you’re over 18 years old and if you’re driving a personal vehicle. You can’t drive if you’re under 18 even if your country allows for it and if the country you’re visiting does. There are some exemptions for those who enter the country in their vehicle while 18 and there’s a time period in which you need to make accommodations and stop driving.
The permit also can’t be used to drive buses or trucks or any other vehicles driven for commercial purposes. Those require a separate permit.
What Are The Fines for Not Having a Permit?
If you don’t have a permit with you while driving, you may end up having to pay a fine. The amount you have to pay depends on the country you’re in and if you’ve had any other traffic violations. For the most part, it’s a monetary fine, but in some cases, your car may be impounded.
The best way to go is to make sure your permit is valid and that you have it with you at all times. Keeping it in the car is probably the safest way to go.
Traveling Abroad Means Following Local Laws
When you’re traveling abroad, local laws apply to you when you’re on the road, even if you have an international driving permit. You need to make sure you obey them or you’ll be subjected to fines and other penalties as everyone else in the country would have been.
The best way to conduct yourself on the road is to learn about the local laws and the driving culture and to try to follow it as much as you can. If you ever get stopped by local law enforcement, it’s best to conduct yourself respectfully and to be straightforward about any traffic violations you may have committed.
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