Where do Canadians Need International Driving Permits?

Created: Mar 12, 2024 | Updated: Mar 13, 2024

Driving across the globe is a dream for many adventurous Canadians. But before the tiers hit the road internationally, there's an essential piece of the puzzle that you may need: the International Driving Permit (IDP). The IDP serves as a bridge between countries, allowing drivers from Canada to access foreign roads with a document that's recognized across borders. Its origins are deeply rooted in international efforts to make travel easier and safer, stemming from agreements that date back to the early 20th century.

These international agreements were born out of a need to standardize road travel and ensure that drivers from one country could legally drive in another with minimum hassle. It was a visionary idea, aimed at fostering global exploration and understanding, by breaking down one of the most tangible barriers to international travel: driving laws.

To this effect, this article will help Canadians all over determine what countries they will need an IDP in and where they can get the IDP from.

What is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a booklet that acts as an official translation of a driver's existing license into multiple languages and is recognized internationally. Essentially, it allows individuals to drive in foreign countries without the need for additional tests or permits, assuming their original driver's license is valid. An IDP is not a stand-alone document; it must accompany the original driver's license from the holder's home country. It is particularly useful for travellers, as it helps overcome language barriers with law enforcement or car rental agencies abroad. Notably, an IDP is recognized in over 186 countries which are part of the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic Act. But some nations who have not signed up for this still honour the IDP, making it an indispensable travel document for Canadians planning to drive on their international adventures. 


Who Issues International Driving Permits in Canada?

In Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is the sole organization authorized to issue International Driving Permits for leisure purposes. Under a UN-approved mandate. Any non-CAA-issued IDP is fake and will not be accepted by a foreign country.

The CAA's role in facilitating international travel for Canadian drivers is pivotal, ensuring that Canadians have the necessary documentation to comply with foreign driving regulations.

What is an International Driving Permit?


Documents Required to Obtain an IDP in Canada

Before organizing the required documents for submission, you must fulfil the eligibility criteria for an IDP in Canada, they are:

  • You must be 18+ years of age.
  • You must have a valid provincial or territorial driver's license.
  • Two passport-sized photos.
  • Application fee of $31 CDN.
  • Finally, you should have completed the IDP application forms. You must fill out and submit the appropriate form based on your location. There is a separate form for members of the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces.

Furthermore, the application can be submitted in person at a CAA office or via mail for those who cannot make it in person.


What’s the Processing Time for International Driving Permits?

The processing time for an International Driving Permit in Canada is relatively quick, typically completed within one hour if applied for in person at a CAA office. For mail applications, the processing time can extend to 2 working days after receipt, factoring in mailing times both ways.


How to Send the Documents

When applying by mail, applicants must include their original driver's license, which will be returned with the IDP, the completed application form, two passport-sized photos, and the payment for the application fee. It's recommended to send the documents via a traceable mailing service to ensure they are securely received and processed by the CAA.


How Long are International Driving Permits Valid?

International Driving Permits issued in Canada are valid for one year from the date of issue. Travellers need to note that an IDP cannot extend beyond the expiry date of the original Canadian driver's license. Therefore, if your driver's license is set to expire in less than a year from when you obtain your IDP, the IDP's validity would be shortened accordingly. Planning is crucial to ensure uninterrupted driving privileges while abroad.


Where are International Driving Permits Required? / IDP Requirements and Car Rental Policies

Aside from being a requirement for driving in some countries, you may also need an IDP to rent a car in a foreign country. International Driving Permits are required or recommended in many countries around the world, especially where English is not the primary language.


International Driving Permits for Europe

The following are the countries in Europe that require drivers from Canada to show an IDP when requested. 

IDP Required With a Valid Canadian Driver's License
Czech RepublicItalySpain
IDP Recommended With a Valid Canadian Driver's License
Valid Canadian Driver's License Needed Only
United Kingdom (you can drive in the UK with a valid Canadian license for up to 12 months)


International Driving Permits for the Middle East

The following are the countries in the Middle East that require drivers from Canada to show an IDP when requested. 

IDP Required With a Valid Canadian Driver's License
IranSaudi ArabiaLebanon
IsraelUnited Arab EmiratesQatar


IDP Recommended With a Valid Canadian Driver's License
Egypt Turkey
Oman Bahrain


International Driving Permits for USA and Mexico

Valid Canadian Driver's License Needed Only
United States (Please check with local state regulations) 
Mexico (Please check with local state regulations) 


International Driving Permits for Asia and Australia

The following are the countries in Australia and Asia that require drivers from Canada to show an IDP when requested. The laws in Australia vary from state to state. Some require an IDP, but others may not.                                                    

IDP Required With a Valid Canadian Driver's License
KyrgyzstanAfghanistanHong Kong
FijiSri LankaIndonesia
TajikistanSouth KoreaBhutan
Papua New GuineaPhilippinesThailand
New ZealandPakistanMalaysia
IDP Recommended With a Valid Canadian Driver's License



Marshal IslandsMicronesiaTaiwan
Valid Canadian Driver's License Needed Only




What is an IDP?

An International Driver’s Permit is a booklet that translates your domestic driver’s license into multiple languages so that you can rent vehicles and drive legally around the world.


Can I Apply for an IDP if I am not Currently in Canada?

Yes, Canadians abroad can apply for an IDP through the CAA by mail, ensuring they provide all the necessary documentation.


How Much Does an IDP Cost?

The cost of an IDP in Canada is $31 CDN. This price is set by the Canadian Automobile Association and may vary for other countries around the world, so it's best to check the website of the issuing authority in your country for the most current fee.


How old do I Have to be to Obtain an IDP?

You must be 18 years old and hold a valid driver’s license to get an IDP in Canada. 


Where can I Obtain an IDP?

In Canada, the CAA is the sole issuer of International Driving Permits.


Can I Get an International Driver's Permit With only my G1?

No, an International Driving Permit cannot be issued to holders of a G1 license. An IDP requires a full, valid Canadian driver's license.


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