Do I Need an International Driving License for Australia


International mobility is an essential part of many travelers’ adventures, especially in a country like Australia with its vast landscapes and diverse cities that invite exploration. The international driver’s license plays a key role in this, allowing visitors to freely and legally participate in road traffic.

Many countries require travelers to have an international driver’s license. We can tell you if you need one to drive in Australia and how to get it.

The International Driver’s License is a supplement to the National Driver’s License and is only valid in conjunction with the National Driver’s License. It serves as a translation of the national driver’s license and facilitates communication with local authorities abroad.

The international driver’s license ensures the correct understanding of the driver’s license with regard to certain vehicle categories.

Important info

  • Only valid in combination with the original driver’s license
  • Costs between 15-30 $/€ plus postage

Is an International Driving Permit required to drive abroad?

Yes, an International Driving Permit is often required, even if you do not live in the country where you wish to drive. This depends on bilateral agreements. The International Driving Permit allows you to legally drive abroad and comply with applicable laws.

Features of an International Driving Permit

  • Translation assistance for the national driver’s license
  • Confirmation of the validity of the domestic driver’s license
  • Indication of permitted vehicle categories
  • Contribute to global road safety

Travelers & Tourists in Australia

Important: Australian roads are on the left-hand side of the road!

Visitors to Australia may use the same vehicle as their current foreign or international driver’s license, but must comply with the conditions of their respective document.

Great Central Road in the Australian Outback.
Great Central Road in the Australian Outback.

Do you consider to explore Australia with a campervan? Then read as well: Best Time for Traveling Around Australia in a Campervan

Documents required

Current foreign/English or translated/international driver’s license
Always carry with you, e.g. passport and show at police checkpoints

No revoked national/nationality-independent driver’s license/permit.

If the foreign document expires during your stay, you must obtain an Australian alternative.

International Driving Permit (IDP):

IDP issued by the same country as the national ID card, certified in multiple languages of the same status.

Accepted translations – The following points are relevant to accepted license transfers

  • Only originals will be accepted; no copy/fax/certified copy will be accepted.
  • Approved NAATI licensed translator’s signature/consular officer’s certification required.
  • South Australian Government Interpreter/Translation Centre or equivalent state agency/Federal Department of Social Services Free Translation Department recommended.

Tip

Although some countries may require your national license or certified version, car rental companies might ask for an IDP before signing a rental agreement! The terms and conditions are always set by the rental company.

Read as well: Driving in Australia’s Cities

Driving an Oldtimer in Australia.
Driving an Oldtimer in Australia.

International Driver’s License: Application

It is advisable to apply for an international driver’s license several weeks before your trip. You can apply for an international driver’s license at the driver’s license office where you live.

Holders of an EU driver’s license will usually receive their international driver’s license immediately if they apply in person. Some municipalities also allow you to apply online. However, it is important to note that the application or collection of the document must be made in person at the relevant authority.

To apply, you will need your passport or ID card, your driver’s license and a recent biometric photo.

Period of validity

International driver’s licenses are usually valid for one year. With a bit of luck, you might get one for three years, depending on the country you live in and the specific regulations.

Read as well our travel tips for getting a motorcycle insurance in Australia.

Is an international driver’s license valid without a national driver’s license?

No, it is only valid in conjunction with a national license and cannot replace it. The international driver’s license cannot be used as a substitute for a national vehicle registration document in the home country.

No renewal possible

Many people may wonder if it is possible to extend an expired international driver’s license – but this is not possible; after expiration, it must be reapplied for.

Road service sign on the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region in Australia.
Road service sign on the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region in Australia.

Background about the International Driving License

Driving abroad has been regulated by four conventions signed by the United Nations since 1926. Most of the world’s countries have ratified two of these conventions: the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Vienna Convention of 1968; almost all driving licenses issued are based on these two conventions.

Most countries leave this task to automobile clubs and associations. If your country has such a club, you can access information about the International Driving Permit on their website.

An International Driving Permit gives you peace of mind as you explore our world – even if you don’t plan to drive!

Your International Driving Permit is a legal document, regulated by the United Nations, that provides you with protection and your own safety; it is considered official proof of identity in more than one hundred and fifty countries worldwide; and it contains your name, photo, and driver information in several languages so that it can be correctly interpreted by most officials and authorities wherever you travel.

It does not, however, exempt you from the strict observance of the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting, and under normal circumstances you can drive abroad with a valid International Driver’s License in case of an emergency.

Driving on the Gibb River Road through the Kimberley region in Australia.
Driving on the Gibb River Road through the Kimberley region in Australia.

  • Travel Dudes

    I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You’re in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.





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