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6 Countries you didn’t know require an International Driving Permit

Planning on renting a car on your next trip abroad? While packing your passport and other travel documents, don’t forget your International Driving Permit (IDP). 

An IDP is a special licence that allows travellers to drive vehicles internationally without further tests or applications. It is proof that the holder has a valid driver’s license issued by their government. It also translates your current Ontario driver’s licence into multiple languages.  

An IDP isn’t required to drive in every country, but many do. Some car rental agencies may ask you to have an IDP. Sometimes, you may be refused your vehicle rental if you cannot present your eligible IDP. So, it’s a good idea to know ahead of time.  

Here are six countries that you didn’t know require an IDP. 


car driving in Spain
kovop58 | iStock

From the scenic Montserrat Mountains northwest of Barcelona, to the western Costa da Morte, Spain boasts impressive roadways with even better views. 

Ready to tour the landscapes of Spain? You can drive in Spain with your valid Canadian driver’s licence and an international driving permit for up to six months. You must obtain a local driver’s licence for stays longer than six months. 


Cars driving in Italy
Xantana | iStock

Thinking of renting a car as you hop between Italian vineyards? Pick up your IDP before you embark. You may drive for up to one year with a valid Canadian driver’s licence and an international driving permit or a certified translation of your Canadian licence. You must also have an international car insurance plan – with CAA Travel Insurance; you can add rental vehicle damage insurance when you book your car rental online.

South Africa

holgs | iStock

The pristine coastlines and beautiful landscapes of South Africa have made the country a top road trip destination. The Garden Route is a stunning 200-kilometre stretch of highway in the Western Cape. The route is complete with stunning beaches, amazing surf and dense mountain forests.  

When planning your South African road trip, don’t forget to read up on the rules of the road. You may use your valid Canadian provincial driver’s licence in South Africa. But an IDP is strongly recommended as obtaining car rental insurance without an IDP is challenging. Insurance companies and rental car agencies often require proof of a South African driver’s licence or an IDP to honour an insurance claim (even when proof was not requested at the time the policy was secured). An IDP must be obtained in Canada before travelling to South Africa, as it cannot be obtained locally. 


View Of A Car On A Mountain Road In The Andes, Near Moray, Peru
tbradford | iStock

Rent a car and discover Peruvian jungles and mountains on your own schedule. When packing your bags for your jungle excursion, don’t forget to pack your IDP. You must carry an international driving permit when hitting the roads in Peru. A foreign driver’s licence can be used only in Lima for 30 days after arrival. 

Dominican Republic

Aerial drone view of Dominican Republic.
nantonov | iStock

The Dominican Republic is known for its white sand beaches and seaside resorts. However, if you’re looking to get away from the tourist crowds, there is much more to explore. Rent a car and get the authentic Dominican experience.  

Take in vibrant Caribbean culture and discover stunning beaches along the Samana Peninsula. Remember to carry an international driving permit when planning your rental car and road trip. 

Czech Republic

Czech Republic road
denizunlusu | iStock

From fairy tale style towns like Cesky Krumlov to the rocky labyrinth of Adrspach-Teplice national park, the Czech Republic has much to explore. But you’ll want to rent a car to see more of the country. You must be at least 18 years old to drive in the Czech Republic and carry an international driving permit.  

Know before you go

How much does an International Driving Permit cost and how long does it last?

An International Driving Permit only costs $30 plus tax per permit. Each permit lasts up to 12 months from the date of issue.


Where can I get an International Driving Permit?

International Driving Permits are available exclusively through CAA in Canada. You can visit a CAA Store or the kiosk in the Bayshore Mall in Ottawa to purchase one in person.

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