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Renting a Car Abroad? Get an International Driving Permit

Planning to rent a car to sightsee or just to get around on your next trip? You’ll need to obtain an International Driving Permit before you go!

Are you considering renting a car on your next trip abroad? Don’t forget to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP). It contains important information from your driver’s license in eleven different languages, including English; and is recognized as an official document in more than 150 countries.

What is an IDP?

The permit is the result of a treaty signed in 1949 by the United States and other foreign countries. Carried in conjunction with a regular driver’s license, the IDP allows motorists to drive vehicles in international traffic without further tests or applications.

It’s proof that the holder possesses a valid driver's license issued by a competent authority in their country of residence.

But I’ve never been asked for an IDP?

Many countries require visitors to have an IDP in order to drive legally, and in some countries visitors may not be able to rent a car without one.

Although in some locations, you may be able to rent a vehicle without one, you’ll still be fined for driving without an IDP if you’re pulled over by local authorities. It’s your responsibility to check the legal requirements for car rentals in the destination of your choice well before you leave.

How can I get an IDP?

In Canada, IDPs are available exclusively at CAA Travel stores, and are available to both CAA Members and non-Members alike. You can apply for an IDP if you are 18 years of age, or older, and hold a valid Canadian provincial driver’s license.

You can apply in one of two ways:

  1. In person. You will need a valid Canadian driver's license OR a photocopy (front and back), two signed passport photographs (which can also be taken at the CAA store), and the fee payment of $25.

  2. Via mail or proxy. A photocopy (front and back) of your Canadian driver’s license, two signed passport photographs, a completed and signed CAA IDP application form, and the fee payment of $25; all mailed to CAA North & East Ontario’s head office at 2151 Thurston Drive, Ottawa, ON K1G 6C9, or brought to any CAA Travel store.

 A few things to remember…

IDPs may not be issued more than six months in advance of the desired effective date. They are valid for one year from the date of issue.

Individuals who visit a CAA Travel store can receive their IDP within 24 hours. If an application is being mailed in, please allow approximately two to three weeks from the time the documents are received.

Ontario drivers with a G1 license are not eligible for the IDP; however, those with a G2 or full license are.