If you are traveling outside your home country, transportation is a top concern. While many cities and regions have plenty of public transportation methods, not everywhere does. Additionally, if you want to travel to a different city or region while you are on your trip, you may have to rent a car to get there.
So, what are the international driving laws? What countries accept which country’s driving license or permit?
Unfortunately, just like most things when crossing country lines, the answer can get quite complicated. The answers depend on where you are from and where you are going.
Do Your Research
The first thing you have to do is research the laws of the country where you will be driving. Laws vary greatly by country. For example, in Europe, all European country licenses are valid everywhere (including AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE, B1, B1E, C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, and DE), but the country’s rules apply. If someone can legally drive at the age of 16 in one country, but the legal age is 18 in another, that person cannot drive in the second country until they are 18.
US driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico and Canada, but not in many other countries. In Ireland, you can use the license from your home country as long as you bring it with you.
You can find out what laws apply to driving in a country on their country’s government website.
Consider an IDP
An IDP (International Driving Permit) is a proof of licensing that is accepted in many countries around the world. Basically, countries around the world have agreed to view the IDP as a valid driver’s license, but typically only in conjunction with an existing license of some kind from the home country. If you have an IDP, you can rent and drive a car in many countries around the world. The IDP is also used as a form of universal identification. You can obtain an IDP from your home country’s driving website (in the United States, it is the DMV). When you get the IDP, you must carry it around and your regular driving license.
What about Testing?
Some countries may require you to take a driving test before you can drive in that country. Others may require a test and a temporary license before you can drive in that country. Some countries may want you to get licensed in that country if you plan to stay more than a certain number of days. The best way to find out is to do your research.
According to research done by folks at practicepermittest.com, driving in another country is a both a fearful and a liberating experience for drivers at the same time. If you prepare in advance, you will know how to become legal to drive in each country that you visit. When you are able to drive, you are able to see so much more than simple “tourist” towns. You will be able to explore places and make memories that you will never forget.