How to get an international driving license

When organizing a do-it-yourself trip it is very important to plan your trips in the best possible way. Often to have more autonomy it is preferable to opt for the rental of a car. But not everyone knows that an international driving license is required to drive in some countries.

The international driving permit is a somewhat delicate subject.

There is conflicting news online and sometimes you risk being more confused than ever.

After analyzing every little aspect in detail, I was able to quickly obtain an international driving license for my trip to Asia.

In this article I really want to clarify the subject and dispel any doubts. We will therefore see what an international driving license is, what it must be done (there are two types), how to get it, what are the waiting times, when it is necessary, if it is really mandatory and everything you need to know about the international driving license.

International driving license

First of all, let's say that the license is valid in all member countries of the European Union and in some non-European countries. Countries such as Turkey, Morocco, Kazakhstan and Switzerland and some American states also accept driving licenses, but we will see the various exceptions below.

All those who need to drive outside Europe must have an International Driving License.

What is the International Driving License

How to get an international driving license

The international driving license is simply a translation of the driving license. So a document that can also be read in the country you are going to.

To get it you will not have to face any exam, you will just have to request it from the Offices of the Civil Motorization.

International Driving License: Which Convention to Choose

There are two models of international driving licenses.

  • The Model of the Geneva Convention of 1949: valid for 1 year
  • The Model of the 1968 Vienna Convention: valid for 3 years

For both models the validity is always bound to the expiry of the license, if the latter expires you will also have to renew the international one.

The doubt of most travelers who want to drive abroad is which convention should be done.

It depends on where your destination will be. In fact, some countries have adhered to the Geneva convention, others to that of Vienna, while others accept both models.

If you have a choice, it would be better to opt for the Vienna Convention which has a longer duration.

If your itinerary includes several countries, check for each which model is accepted.

It is best to contact the consulate of the country you are visiting to find out exactly what type of international driving license is required.

How to apply for an international driving license?

You can request both models.

Once you have understood which model you need, simply proceed with the request at the Motorization Civil, presenting the following documentation:

  • Model TT746 filled in: you can find it on the website of the motorization;
  • Photocopy of the driving license, front and back;
  • Driver's license
  • Two recent passport photos;
  • Payment of € 10,20 to current account n ° 9001
  • Payment of € 16,00 to current account n ° 4028. Both to be paid with a bulletin available at any post office or at the offices of the motor vehicle;
  • € 16,00 revenue stamp: you will be asked for when you collect your international driving permit.

The total cost to obtain the international driving license is € 42,00, regardless of the model required. The costs may change for the special statute regions (Sicily, Sardinia, Valle d'Aosta, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige). If so, inquire at the websites of the relevant municipalities.

Apply for an International Driving License: Alternative to the Civil Motorization

If you do not have the time and the way to go to the DMV to apply for an International Driving License, you can rely on car agencies or directly on ACI. Obviously in both cases you will have to pay a commission for the service, and provide:

  • 2 passport photos, one authenticated;
  • Identity card;
  • Driver's license.

Waiting time

Waiting times usually range from a week to about twenty days. I recommend applying for an international driving license at least a month and a half in advance.

However, if you have noticed a few days before departure that you do not have an international driving license, still try to go to the offices of the motorization. If you are lucky you could have your driving license even in the day.

Do you really need an international driving license?

Often we come across discussions online where we read that the international driving license is not needed, because the rental agencies (car or motorbike) do not require it.

It is important to understand that driver's license international is mandatory and even if it is not requested by those who rent the vehicle, you could be stopped by the police and risk hefty fines. Furthermore, in the event of an accident, the insurance does not pay and you also risk being arrested.

So even if someone tells you it is not necessary, you do it anyway, risking for € 42 is not worth it.

International Driving License Renewal

Has your international driving license expired and you don't know how to renew it?

Practically you will have to request it again delivering all the documents as you did the first time. So it's not really a renovation.

International Driving Licenses: Some Exceptions

How to get an international driving license

The general rule is that to drive in all the countries of the European community a driving license is fine, for the rest you need an international driving license. But that would be too simple, in fact there are countries that are an exception.

For example to drive in China the International driving license is not accepted. You need to apply for a temporary license and undergo a two-hour driving lesson.

In Sri Lanka in addition to the international license, a driving permit from the AAC (Automobile Association of Ceylon) is required.

In Canada, on the other hand, you can drive with a license, but only for a short period which varies according to the provinces.

Within some countries, such as l’Australia, the legislation changes in every single state. Generally with a tourist visa and for a period of 3 months our driving license is valid. But in order not to have problems it is always better to have an international driving license with you.

The thorniest case is that of United States. On the web there are conflicting opinions, there are those who say that the international driving license is not needed in any US state. While on the Viaggiare Sicuri website it would seem that only in some states (such as California or Nevada) it is possible to drive with a license.

The best thing is to check on the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) website, checking for each single US state you go to.

Finally it must be said that some countries accept a certified translation of the driving license, without having to go through the motorization, but requesting it directly from the Consulate or authorized Bodies. Ask the consulate of the country you are going to if they accept this procedure, which is usually faster.

In any case, the license must always be carried, precisely because the international license is valid only if combined with the Spanish one, being simply a translation of it.


There are many components to evaluate during a trip and that of the international driving license is one of them.

In my opinion it is important to always be in good standing and not to risk running into setbacks that could compromise the holiday.

I hope I have clarified any doubts. As we have seen, in addition to the basic rule, there are always exceptions. To rest assured, I suggest you check the Viaggiare Sicuri website which is always up to date, or even better directly on the site of the consulate of the country you are interested in or on the website of the automotive department.

If you have any doubts, comment on the article or write to me in private, I will be happy to answer you and discuss this very interesting topic with you.

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