Driving in Europe with International Driving Permit

The International Driving Permit has been around for decades, but now there’s a new wrinkle. For the first time, at least one European country (Italy) requires drivers from outside the EU to have the IDP.

Even in countries where it isn’t required, the International Driving Permit is worth having just to make sure that your driver’s license is accepted by local car-rental agencies and traffic police.

What the IDP is–and isn’t.

  • The International Driving Permit is an official document that certifies the validity of your home driver’s license in 10 languages.  It’s a valid form of identification in 150 countries on six continents.
  • Your name and other license information are shown in a standard, internationally recognized format, and a passport-size photo completes the identification.
  • The IDP is not a substitute for a driver’s license: You’ll still need to carry a valid driver’s license from home.

Ultimately, it’s the traveler’s responsibility to ensure he or she has the appropriate paperwork, even though you can sometimes avoid the question and process altogether if you’re lucky enough to not get stopped by the police or travel agents. However, you should go ahead and get an International Driving Permit so you’ll have peace of mind while driving legally during your trip to Italy.


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