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Do Canadians Need An International Drivers Permit?

Black and White Road Trip by KariHak on Flickr
Photo by KariHak on Flickr

If you’re planning to travel abroad, you may want to drive overseas. While some countries accept Canadian drivers licenses, many do not. That’s where an International Drivers Permit comes in handy.

What is an International Drivers Permit?

An International Drivers Permit is a special permit that lets drivers drive when out of their home country. When accompanied by your regular provincial drivers license, an International Drivers Permit will let you drive for a year internationally.

An International Drivers Permit is also accepted as a form of identification in over 150 countries.

Where is an International Drivers Permit valid?

It is valid in any country that signed an 1945 Convention on road traffic, as well as other countries.

Where can I get an International Drivers Permit?

In Canada, the only organization that issues an International Drivers Permit is the CAA.

Will I need an International Drivers Permit to drive a rental car in Europe?

We hear varying reports for drivers in Europe. We successfully rented a car in Spain with only a Canadian driver’s license in 2013, but we’ve also heard that other drivers were asked for their International Drivers Permit.

It seems to be very much up to the car rental agency as to whether they ask for your International Drivers Permit when renting, so it may be best to get an International Drivers Permit for peace of mind, even if you don’t end up using it.

Tip:  The CAA reports that some Quebec drivers have been fined in the US state of Georgia for not having an English language driver’s license. For now, the CAA suggests Quebec residents buy an International Drivers Permit if they plan to drive in Georgia.

Want more information?

Check out the Canadian Automobile Association for information on applications for an International Drivers Permit.

*As always, the information on this page is from one Canadian traveller to another. We have spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry however we are not travel insurance agents. If you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, policies and plans can and do change all the time, without warning, so always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing to.
*This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.

A true world traveller, Lanie Kay has been to over 30 countries in the past decade and loves nothing more than waking up in a foreign country. Born and raised in western Canada, she knows the value of a dollar and, just like everyone, wishes there was more transparency when dealing with large companies.

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