Guidance

International driving permits for UK drivers from 28 March 2019

The rules for international driving permits are changing. Check which type of IDP you need to ensure that you can legally drive when you visit another country.

Driving abroad before 28 March 2019

Currently, UK licence holders who live in the UK:

  • need an international driving permit (IDP) in addition to their UK driving licence to drive in some countries outside of the EU and EEA
  • can drive in all EU and EEA countries using their UK driving licence

The UK issues 3 types of IDP to UK licence holders who are resident in the UK: the 1926 IDP, the 1949 IDP and the 1968 IDP.

The type of IDP you need depends on the country you are driving in.

Driving abroad in countries outside the EA and EEA from 28 March 2019

From 28 March 2019, some countries will stop recognising 1926 and 1949 IDPs issued by the UK. Instead you may need a 1968 IDP to drive in these countries.

Check which type of IDP you need to ensure that you have the correct documentation for your travels.

Driving in the EU and EEA from 29 March 2019

If there is an EU exit deal, UK licence holders will be able to continue to drive in all EU and EEA countries using their UK driving licence.

In the event that there is no EU Exit deal, the government will seek to put in place new arrangements for EU and EEA countries to recognise UK driving licences when people are visiting, for example on holiday or business trips. Until such arrangements are in place, UK driving licence holders may need an IDP in addition to their UK driving licence to drive when visiting EU and EEA countries

Each EU and EEA country will decide if they require a foreign driver to have an IDP, in addition to a driving licence, to legally drive in their country.

In some circumstances you may need more than one IDP. For example, when driving through France (1968 IDP) to Spain (1949 IDP).

On 29 March 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal or any other relevant agreement, you may need a 1968 IDP to drive in these EU and EEA countries:

Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany
Greece Hungary Italy Latvia Lithuania
Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal
Romania Slovakia Slovenia Sweden  

On 29 March 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, you may need a 1949 IDP to drive in these EU and EEA countries:

  • Cyprus
  • Iceland
  • Malta
  • Spain

Ireland has ratified the 1949 road traffic convention but does not require foreign drivers to carry an IDP in addition to their driving licence. As such, if you hold a UK driving licence you will not need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 29 March 2019.

On 29 March 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, you may need a 1926 IDP to drive in Liechtenstein.

How to get an IDP

You can get 1926, 1949 and 1968 IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK post offices.

Each IDP will cost £5.50.

UK licence holders who live in the EU or EEA

If you are currently using a UK driving licence and live in an EU or EEA country, from 29 March 2019 you cannot use an IDP to guarantee that your UK licence will be recognised in that country.

If you wish to continue to drive, you should exchange your UK licence with a local licence, where this option exists.

While the UK is a member of the EU, UK driving licences are directly exchangeable for EU and EEA country licences. From 29 March 2019, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, this licence exchange arrangement will stop. Instead you will need to re-take your driving test in the EU country where you live to be able to carry on driving there.

If you exchange your licence, you will be able to re-gain your UK licence when you return to live in the UK, provided you passed your driving test in the UK or a designated country.

See also

This guidance expands on the driving technical notice published in September 2018.

Published 14 January 2019
Last updated 1 February 2019 + show all updates
  1. You can now buy 1926, 1949 and 1968 IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK post offices.
  2. First published.