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International Driving Permits are often required if you are going to a country that doesn't use the same alphabet as we do (Chinese, Japanese, Russian etc). A UK photocard licence with green paper counterpart is fine in Western Europe. Whilst not a legal requirement, an International Driving Permit is recommended by the AA for Canada. It is also recommended to have an International Driving Permit in the USA. The AA publish the full list of IDP requirements by country.
As the paper driving licences have been phased out, some car hire companies, particularly in the UK, who may require you to show if your have any endorsements or not. You can do this through the Share my Licence scheme from the DVLA.
However occasionally car hire firms insist on one in other countries. Your car rental agreement will specify licence requirements so please do read it carefully.
International Driving Permits are valid for 12 months and you can post date your permit to start up to three months after you apply. They cost £5.50 over the counter at main Post Offices or you can apply by post through the AA or RAC.
You may also find that there are restrictions if you have driving offences recorded on your licence. Many car rental firms do not hire cars to those with driving bans, past drink / drive convictions or those with a significant number of points.
If unsure please contact your car hire company for more information.
If you have any queries do call a member of the MoneyMaxim car hire insurance team.
This content was last reviewed on 16/10/2018