So you're planning to cross a few borders on your next self-drive trip, but you’re not sure if you need an international driver’s license?It is not compulsory for South Africans visiting neighbouring African countries, but Drive South Africa strongly recommends you get all your important documents ready before hitting the road - including the Automobile Association (AA) issued International Driving Permit (IDP). We answer a few questions you might have:Photo: ShutterstockWhat is an International Driving Permit (IDP)?An IDP is a legal document which supports your South African driver's license or any other country's driver's license. When you are asked to present your driver’s license while abroad, you will have to present both documents.Why do I need an International Driving Permit in a foreign country?- Some countries do not recognise the national South African driver's license, but officially recognise an IDP. - It gives vital information in the six official Unite Nations languages, including English - crossing language barriers when travelling in non-English speaking countries. - Being a legal document it serves as an additional form of identification.When do I need an International Driving Permit:- You want to drive a vehicle abroad - You need to hire a car abroad- You need to get car insurance while abroad What do I need to get an International Driving Permit?- An IDP may be issued at any AA Accredited Sales Agent store. - Download the IDP application and return it with the following information:- Two ID or Passport photographs, gloss format.- Presentation of a valid South African driver's license (credit card format) or certified copies of the front and back of the license.- Presentation of a valid South African ID or Passport or certified copies of the identification page in the document.- Certified copies must be dated and may not be older than two months.What does an International Driving Permit cost?- Permit fees are R 249 including vat. Postal fees apply if necessary.What if I am a foreigner living in South Africa but I need to drive or rent a vehicle? - The IDP must be issued in the same country that you got your driver's license. - The AA is able to send your application to the issuing authority of your country, such as Namibia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States but the process takes about 8 to 16 weeks and various fees apply. Visit AA website for more information.