Requests for International Driver Permits have risen by a fifth in 3 months

Requests for International Driver Permits have risen by a fifth in 3 months

The number of drivers requesting an International Driving Permit has increased by more a fifth between September and December 2018 as motorists prepare for driving overseas post-Brexit. The AA said applications had increased by 19 per cent over the four-month period compared to the year previous – and said requests in January are already up by


The number of drivers requesting an International Driving Permit has increased by more a fifth between September and December 2018 as motorists prepare for driving overseas post-Brexit.

The AA said applications had increased by 19 per cent over the four-month period compared to the year previous – and said requests in January are already up by a quarter.

But the motoring organisation can no longer issue them. From today, drivers can only obtain an IDP from one of 2,500 issuing Post Offices.

UK motorists prepare for no deal: The AA said applications for International Driving Permits are up by a fifth ahead of Brexit

UK motorists prepare for no deal: The AA said applications for International Driving Permits are up by a fifth ahead of Brexit

On 28 March 2019, the type of IDP that some countries outside the EU and EEA recognise will change.

And in the event of a no deal Brexit, UK motorists may need an IDP in addition to a UK driving licence to drive in EU and EEA countries.

If you hold a UK driving licence you should not need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 29 March 2019 as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries. 

The permits have been available online and via post from motoring groups like the AA and RAC, but now drivers will only be allowed to apply for one in store in Post Offices – though just 89 are currently issuing them.

Previously, the motoring organisations would be able to post the permit to you or drivers could download the document online and print it themselves. 

As of February, applicants have to wait in line and present their driving licence, a passport-sized photo signed on the back and another form of proof of identification, such as their passport, at a Post Office.

The fee for an IDP remains the same at £5.50. 

They are valid for a year and you can apply up to three months before you travel. 

Increase in IDP applications in 2018 compared to 2017 (AA) 
2017 2018 % increase
SEPTEMBER 9,388 11,308 20%
OCTOBER 8,932 10,977 22%
NOVEMBER 9,738 11,770 21%
DECEMBER 6,861 7,530 8%
TOTAL 34,919 41,585 19%
As of February 1, UK motorists will have to go into issuing Post Offices to get an IDP following the decision to remove the postal and online application service

As of February 1, UK motorists will have to go into issuing Post Offices to get an IDP following the decision to remove the postal and online application service

As of February 1, UK motorists will have to go into issuing Post Offices to get an IDP following the decision to remove the postal and online application service

Companies will need to fulfill the same requirement, meaning those with numerous employees who drive overseas will need to queue and wait alongside other Post Office customers. 

What exactly is an IDP?

An IDP is an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence.

It has to be carried along with your UK licence at all times.

To apply for an IDP you must be 18 years or over, and have a valid UK driving licence – one can’t be issued to a provisional licence holder.

When hiring a car abroad, remember that licence requirements worldwide do vary. 

If you’re making an advance reservation in the UK, ask the company concerned to confirm the driving licence requirements of the countries you’re visiting. 

Without this info, consider an IDP as a precautionary measure, especially if travelling outside Europe.

Types of IDP 

If there is ‘no deal’ then mutual recognition of driving licences between the UK and EU may end, and UK drivers wishing to drive in Europe from 29 March 2019 may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP):

  • A 1949 Convention IDP (Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Malta, Cyprus), or
  • A 1968 Convention IDP (all other EU countries, Norway and Switzerland)
  • A 1926 Convention IDP (Liechtenstein)

Ireland has ratified the 1949 Convention but doesn’t require foreign drivers to carry an IDP so you won’t need an IDP to drive in Ireland after 29 March 2019.

Source: AA 

It also means that drivers who forget to order their IDP before their trip cannot be sent one while on holiday if stopped by police.

Drivers have been making use of the online and postal applications while they still can in the run up to Britain’s divorce from the EU, especially as failing to have one after March 28 could have extreme consequences. 

The AA has warned that, in a no deal Brexit, UK motorists could be sent back home as they cross the channel should they not have the correct documentation. 

Before these changes drivers could get IDPs from the AA Shop at Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone but that will no longer be allowed after the end of January.

In some countries, drivers who fail to produce an IDP could pick up a fine and not having one could also invalidate your car insurance should you be involved in an accident.

While the Government has stated that EU nationals living in the UK will be treated the same regardless of if a deal is struck, those who still hold their native licence will no longer be eligible to apply for an IDP at Post Offices until their convert to a UK licence.

Britons living on the continent are being advised by the Department for Transport to convert their licence to that of their new country, or to take the local driving test. 

This could mean that up to half a million expats will be forced to retake their test in a no deal scenario. 

While Brexit negotiations continue, EU countries have not determined if they will accept a British licence in its current form. 

Therefore, the Government is recommending drivers apply for an IDP now in preparation for their travels following the split. 

Drivers can only obtain an IDP from one of 2,500 issuing Post Offices, though just 89 have them available currently

Drivers can only obtain an IDP from one of 2,500 issuing Post Offices, though just 89 have them available currently

Drivers can only obtain an IDP from one of 2,500 issuing Post Offices, though just 89 have them available currently

The AA said it has even had applications submitted by numerous UK-based F1 teams in preparation for the season ahead. 

AA president Edmund King says: ‘The Government has taken a backwards step in discontinuing postal and online applications for IDPs which the AA has conducted successfully for the last few decades.

‘The sharp uptake in applications shows that drivers are concerned about driving on the continent post Brexit and have got their requests in early.

‘Having told EU nationals living in the UK that things will stay the same, they will be disappointed to hear that the Government has made it harder to obtain an internationally available and recognised document.’

This is Money has contacted the Department for Transport for a reason behind the move.

It simply said that Post Office has been chosen because it has the broadest reach and is available over the counter to keep the process consistent, quick and simple, while there is also no administration fee.

The AA is also advising UK drivers to purchase GB stickers as their euro-style ‘GB’ may not be recognised under a No Deal. 

Drivers are also highly likely to need a Green Card insurance certificate if travelling in Europe if the European Commission fails to ratify an agreement between UK and European insurance authorities. 

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