How to apply for an International Driver’s Permit

Cape Town - When planning an overseas trip, an essential factor to your preparation is considering how you will get around.

Admittedly many European countries and US States have incredible public transport systems but some adventures demand that you hire a car and road trip the must-see spots and attractions. 

With that said, you cannot hire a car without an International Drivers Permit (IDP)

“For any traveller who intends driving in a foreign country it is an imperative to apply for your International Drivers Permit (IDP)," according to the South African Automobile Association.  

South Africans can obtain an IDP at an AA office closest to them for the country they intend travelling to. The application is done in accordance with the laws of the country the traveller intends visiting - since permit requirements vary from country to country.

The application process is about 20 to 30 minutes and requires two ID photos, a current SA licences and passport as well as a payment of R265. 

ALSO SEE: How powerful is your SA driver's licence when travelling overseas?

“With that said, foreigners would need to produce their IDP, if involved in an accident as these details are needed in order to report the case as well as make an insurance claim.

What Foreign tourists need to know: 

Similarly foreign tourists need to carry their International Driver's Permit on them at all times while driving. If it does not have a photo on it, then they need to have their passport on hand too for identification purposes.

The IDP must also be printed or authenticated in English. The length of time that you've had you license for may affect your eligibility to hire a car and varies across car-hire companys. 

Here are handy road rules to consider when driving on foreign roads - according to Arrive Alive

- In South Africa we drive on the left-hand side of the road, and our cars – rental cars included – are right-hand drive vehicles.
- Keep to the left and pass right
- All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are in kilometres.
- There are strict drinking and driving laws - with a maximum allowable alcohol blood content of 0.05%. Translated that means about one glass of wine for the average woman and perhaps 1.5 or two for the average or large man.
- Four-way-stops are commonly found at the quieter intersections – the first vehicle to arrive has priority. On roundabouts, give way to the right, although this is often overlooked and it is wise to proceed with caution.
- Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. All occupants of a vehicle are required to wear seatbelts whilst traveling, if you are caught without you will be subject to a fine.
- Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law – use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit, if you want to speak on your mobile phone.

Speed limit

- The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph).
- On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h (60mph).
- In built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph) unless otherwise indicated.
- Check the road signs and obey the speed limit at all times
- Speed limits are maximum speeds. If it is raining, misty or the road is congested, reduce speed.
- Reduce speed near areas where there is pedestrian activity.

What to read next on Traveller24:

The easiest ‘would you rather' travel edition game ever!

Tips on how not to be 'overcharged' by Uber

Legalising SA Rhino horn trade: DEA still has the upper hand

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.