Guidance

International driving permits for UK drivers

The rules for international driving permits changed on 28 March 2019. Check which type of IDP you need to ensure that you can legally drive when you visit another country.

Driving abroad

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 until the date that the UK leaves the EU

The UK issues 3 types of IDP to UK licence holders who are resident in the UK:

  • 1926 IDP
  • 1949 IDP
  • 1968 IDP

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

How to get an IDP

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

Each IDP costs £5.50.

Driving abroad in countries outside the EA and EEA

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

Driving in the EU and EEA from 31 October 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.

If 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 will need an IDP in addition to their UK driving licence to drive when visiting some EU and EEA countries.

In some circumstances you will need more than one IDP. For example, when driving through France (1968 IDP) to Andorra (1949 IDP) or to Liechtenstein (1926 IDP).

1968 IDP

From 31 October 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, you will need a 1968 IDP and your licence to drive in:

  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France (IDP mandatory)
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania (if you have a paper licence)
  • Monaco (IDP mandatory)
  • Netherlands
  • Norway (if you have a paper licence)
  • Poland (if you have a paper licence)
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Sweden

1949 IDP

From 31 October 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, you will need a 1949 IDP and your licence to drive in:

  • Andorra
  • Cyprus

1926 IDP

From 31 October 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, you will need a 1926 IDP and your licence to drive in Liechtenstein.

EU and EEA countries where you can drive without an IDP

Each EU and EEA country will decide if they need a visiting foreign driver to have an IDP to legally drive in their country.

Some countries have confirmed that visiting UK licence holders will not need an IDP after the UK leaves the EU. You will still need an IDP to drive to these countries.

If you have either a UK photocard or UK paper driving licence, you will not need an IDP to drive in:

  • Belgium, for visits up to 185 days
  • Denmark, for visits up to 90 days
  • Ireland, for visits up to 12 months
  • Iceland, for visits up to 1 month
  • Luxembourg, for visits up to 185 days
  • Malta, for visits up to 12 months
  • Portugal, for visits up to 185 days
  • Slovenia, for visits up to 90 days
  • Spain, for visits up to 6 months

If you have a UK photocard driving licence, you will not need an IDP to drive in:

  • Lithuania, for visits of up to 185 days
  • Norway, for visits up to 90 days
  • Poland, for visits up to 185 days

You will still need an IDP to drive in Lithuania, Norway and Poland if you have a UK paper licence.

UK licence holders who live in the EU or EEA

While the UK is a member of the EU, you can exchange a UK driving licence for a local EU or EEA licence. You should do this if you live and drive in an EU or EEA country.

From 31 October 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, this licence exchange arrangement will stop. Instead, to be able to continue driving, you will need to re-take your driving test in the EU or EEA country where you live.

Some countries will continue the licence exchange arrangement after the UK leaves the EU.

You can exchange either a UK photocard or UK paper driving licence without taking a test, if you live in:

  • Bulgaria, within 1 year of registering as a resident
  • Estonia, within 1 year of registering as a resident
  • Hungary, within 1 year of registering as a resident
  • Iceland, within 1 year of registering as a resident
  • Latvia, within 1 year of registering as a resident
  • Malta, within 1 year of registering as a resident
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden, within 1 year of registering as a resident

You can exchange a UK photocard, but not a UK paper, driving licence without taking a test, if you live in:

  • Czech Republic
  • Poland

You will need to take a medical examination before you can exchange a UK driving licence without taking a test, if you live in:

  • Croatia, within 1 year from EU Exit day
  • Romania

Only certain types of UK driving licence holders will need to take a test to exchange their licence, if they live in:

  • Belgium, category A2 and specific national categories
  • Finland, group 2 and BE licence holders – all other licence holders will have 2 years either from EU Exit day or registering as a resident to exchange
  • Luxembourg, HGV, bus and coach licences holders – motorcycle and car licence holders will have 1 year from EU Exit day or registering as a resident to exchange
  • Netherlands, if you registered as a resident before EU Exit day you will have up to 15 months from EU Exit to exchange

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.

EU drivers in the UK

The UK does not ask visiting drivers from other countries to carry an IDP as well as their driving licence. This approach will continue for drivers from EU and EEA countries if the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

See also

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

Published 14 January 2019
Last updated 28 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. UK driving licence holders now need a 1968 IDP to drive in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, French Polynesia, Georgia, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Niger, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.
  2. You can now buy 1926, 1949 and 1968 IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK post offices.
  3. First published.