How to Get an International Drivers License in Canada
Think you might want to rent a car or motorbike while abroad? While some countries don’t require any special permits, many will accept an an international drivers license along with your Canadian license as proof of your skills behind the wheel.
What is an IDP?
Technically called an international driving permit, an IDP is a booklet that contains ten translations of your driving qualifications and a photo, which also makes it a good backup form of ID, even if you don’t plan on driving. Only CAA is authorized to issue IDPs in Canada; however, you don’t have to be a member of their club in order to get one.
Why should a Canadian get an IDP?
In February 2012, the state of Florida brought in a law that made it mandatory for all Canadian drivers to carry an IDP. It caught many snowbirds off guard since it came into effect with no warning. Confusion reigned and many Canadians were denied rental cars until the law was repealed two months later. Anyone with an international drivers license, however, was free to go about their trip as planned.
When my friend and I were in Jeju, South Korea the other year we thought we would rent a scooter and spend our day touring the south shore of the island. Neither one of us has an IDP but we thought we might get lucky and find a rental office who would look the other way. Denied. No scooter for us. Before my next international trip, I made sure to pay the fee and got myself an international permit.
How do you get an IDP in Canada?
If you are 18 or older and already have a Canadian driver’s license it’s crazy easy to get an IDP.
- Just print out the application and fill it out.
- Members of the Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces should use this application form.
- Bring it into your local CAA office along with a photocopy of the front and back of your Canadian driver’s license and two passport type photos.
- Your local CAA office may also be able to take your photos for you, for an extra fee. Check with your local office.
- Pay the $30 fee.
- Your international drivers license should be ready in as little as 30 minutes.
- If you don’t live near an office or are already overseas, you can mail the works of it to head office or your local store, along with the $30 fee and they’ll send you your permit.
What countries can you drive in with an IDP?
The IDP is valid in all countries that have signed the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic and is recognized in many countries that are not signatories to the Convention. You should consider it as a vital part of your travel document library along with your passport.
How long is an IDP good for?
Your international driving permit is valid for one year from the date of issue, or whenever your provincial driver’s license expires, whichever comes first. After that you’ll have to apply and pay the fee again to get a new one.
How old do you need to be to get an international driving permit?
You must be 18 years or older and have a valid driver’s licence. It cannot be a learner’s permit.
Can I apply for an IDP if I’m not in Canada?
Yes, you can still apply for an IDP through the mail. Please include a note that states you are not in Canada and the address you would like the IDP to be mailed to.