Which countries recognise my driving license

Which countries recognise my driving license insert.jpg

Once you’ve got a full driving licence, in theory you can drive in any country around the globe.

However, not only do some countries have a higher minimum driving age than the UK, but some destinations also insist that you carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) – which is something completely different from an International Driving Licence (IDL).

While an IDP is a legally recognised document that enables you to drive in any country around the globe, an IDL isn’t universally recognised. 

If you have a UK driving licence you’re fine to drive in any European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and Switzerland

However, if you have a UK driving licence you’re fine to drive in any European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and Switzerland. The EU/EEA countries are: 

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

As long as you’ve got a full UK licence and you’re at least 18 years old, you can apply for an International Driving Permit. You can do it at your local Post Office for just £5.50; the Permit is valid for 12 months.

If you’re going abroad, bear in mind that you can’t get an IDP issued retrospectively and you can’t do it more than three months in advance of when you travel. To apply for it you’ll need a full UK driving licence and you’ll have to be a permanent resident in the UK.

To complicate matters a little, there are two types of IDP; the 1926 and the 1949. The former is required in Brazil, Burundi, Iraq and Somalia while the latter is what you need for all other countries.