7 keys to understanding international driving permits
1. What is an international driving permit?
The international driving permit or IDP has information from the usual driving license translated into ten languages. The languages are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, Swedish and Portuguese. The holder thus has a new photo ID in addition to his other identity documents. In addition, most car rental companies will ask for an IDP, although it is not required to drive in the country visited. The international driving permit is not valid in the state or province where the holder has established his main residence. This should cover the formalities for obtaining regulatory permits for the state or province of residence. The international driving permit or IDP is a title of conduct where one is qualified as non-resident.
2. Does a Canadian motorist need a IDP in North America?
The international driving permit was created as part of a UN convention on road traffic in 1949. This document is recognized in all the signatories to this agreement. Even though some have not signed it, IDP is often accepted in their territory.
For Canadians, the IDP is usually required outside of North America. Normally, the Canadian driver’s licenses are sufficient to circulate in the United States or Mexico. Unfortunately, without explicitly requiring this famous international driving permit, some US states have adopted legislation that did not accept licenses not in English. This has a direct impact for residents of Quebec.
The US state of Georgia is almost a must for those traveling by car to Florida. Many Canadian retirees, commonly called snowbirds, were likely to be confronted with local laws regarding driving licenses. Indeed, any motorist driving in this state should have a driving license in English. This led de facto impossible for Quebecers to ride locally with their driving license denominated in French. The Georgian authorities seemed rarely fined motorists holding only allowed Quebec. Getting suspended since this law will be repealed end 2016, which will allow Quebec drivers to present their passport and driving license of Quebec when needed. From January 1, 2017, Georgia will no longer require that its agents present international driving permit if the lead held permit is written in a language other than English. The presentation of the Canadian passport with the Quebec driver’s license written in French is only admissible for local authorities. There will be no need for Quebeckers to have an international driving permit in Georgia.
3. How to get information about permits for the countries visited?
In addition to the travel advisory, the Department of Canadian Foreign Affairs informs about whether or not to obtain a prior international driving permit. The information is specified in the “Laws and Customs” tab of each country profile. To view the information by country, please follow the following link: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.
4. Where to get an international driving permit?
For Canadian residents, the CAA is the only Canadian jurisdiction authorized to issue and to deliver international driving permit.
An international driving permit is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue. Motorists must reapply each time another IDP is required.
5. What are the conditions for an IDP?
A Canadian traveler wishing to use a road vehicle in a country requiring an international driving license must be at least 18 years. He must also hold a valid and unrestricted Canadian driving license. The Canadian drivers who can not get an IDP are those who hold only a temporary permit (or learning) and those who were stripped of their license because of violations of the code of the road.
The international driving permit does not apply to the category of vehicles which the Canadian license held by the motorist does not authorize driving.
6. What is the cost of this license?
The Canadian motorist can report to their local CAA Club with the required documents (two-sided photocopy of the driving license in good standing issued by the province of residence, two passport photographs and the IDP application form for the CAA).
The cost is currently $ 25 (subject to change without notice from CAA).
You can also apply by mail. A request sent by mail must include the payment of fees by credit card or by bank draft, money order or check in Canadian currency from a Canadian financial institution payable to your local CAA Club.
Note that IDP will not be issued earlier than a month before the departure date. The IDP is valid for one year from its date of issue. No need to be a member of the CAA to apply!
7. What will happen if you stay abroad for over a year?
If the stay abroad exceeds one year and your IDP expires, you can request a new one, provided that your Canadian driving license is still valid. Your new international driving permit will be posted abroad, at your expense.