Canadian travelers who plan to drive when they are outside North America can get an International Driving Permit (IDP) before they leave Canada. The IDP is used in conjunction with your provincial driver's license. The IDP is proof that you possess a valid driver's license, issued by a competent authority, in your country of residence, and it allows you to drive in other countries without having to take another test or apply for another license. It is recognized in more than 150 countries.
An IDP must be issued in the same country as your driver's license.
Because the IDP has additional photo identification and provides a multilingual translation of your current driver's license, it also serves as a recognizable piece of identification even if you're not driving. The Canadian IDP is translated into ten languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, Scandinavian and Portuguese.
In What Countries is the IDP Valid?
The IDP is valid in all countries that have signed the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic. Many other countries recognize it too. It's a good idea to check the Travel and Currency section of the relevant country Travel Reports published by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
In Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is the only organization authorized to issue IDPs. CAA IDPs are only valid outside Canada.
How Long is an IDP Valid?
An International Driving Permit lasts for one year from the date it is issued. It can't be extended or renewed. A new application must be submitted if a new IDP is needed.
Who is Eligible for an IDP?
To be issued an International Driving Permit you must be:
- at least 18 years old
- have a current full Canadian provincial driver's license. Learners' licenses, provisional licenses, and licenses under suspension do not qualify.
How to Get an IDP in Canada
The Canadian Automobile Association is the only organization that issues International Driving Permits in Canada.
To apply for an International Driving Permit:
- print, complete and sign the IDP Application Form
- attach a photocopy of the front and back of your valid Canadian provincial driver's license
- attach two signed passport photos
- include the fee of $25 (in the form of a bank draft, money order, or cheque in Canadian funds drawn on a Canadian financial institution payable to your local CAA Club)
- submit the completed application and attachments to your local CAA Club
- (It would be a good idea to call first and check on the exact name of the club and where to submit.)