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International driving licence

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International driving licence

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document, recognized by many countries, which allows the permit-holder to drive a private motor vehicle in that country. To be valid the IDP must be accompanied by a valid license from the home country. The document is slightly larger than a standard passport and is essentially a multiple language translation of the permit-holder's normal driver's license, complete with photograph and vital statistics. In most countries however, short term visitors do not need to possess an IDP since the licence of the home country is recognized and permits one to drive in the host country.

Driver information

The 1968 convention (as amended in 2011)

The main regulations about driving licenses are in Annex 6 (domestic driving permit) and Annex 7 (international driving permit). The currently active version of those is in force in each Contracting Party since no later than 29 March 2011 (Article 43).

Article 41 of the Convention describes requirements to driver's licenses. Key of those are:

  • every driver of a motor vehicle must hold a driver's license;
  • driver's licenses can be issued only after passing theoretical and practical exams, which are regulated by each country;
  • Contracting Parties shall recognize as valid for driving in their territories:
    • domestic driver's license conforming to the provisions of Annex 6 to the Convention;
    • international driver's license conforming to the provisions of Annex 7 to the Convention, on condition that it is presented with the corresponding domestic driver's license;
  • driver's licenses issued by a Contracting Party shall be recognized in the territory of another Contracting Party until this territory becomes the place of normal residence of their holder;
  • all of the above does not apply to learner-driver licenses;
  • the period of validity of an international license shall be either no more than three years after the date of issue or until the date of expiry of the domestic driver's license, whichever is earlier;
  • Contracting Parties may refuse to recognize the validity of driver's licenses for persons under eighteen or, for categories C, D, CE and DE, under twenty one;
  • an international driver's license shall only be issued by the Contracting Party in whose territory the holder has his normal residence and which issued the domestic driver's license or which recognized the driver's license issued by another Contracting Party; it shall not be valid for use in that territory.
License categories according to the 1968 convention applicable from 29 March 2011[1]
Category Description Category Description
A
Motorcycles
A1
Motorcycles with a cubic capacity not exceeding 125 cm³ and a power not exceeding 11 kW (light motorcycles)
B
Motor vehicles, other than those in category A, having a permissible maximum mass not exceeding 3,500 kg and not more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat; or motor vehicles of category В coupled to a trailer the permissible maximum mass of which does not exceed 750 kg; or motor vehicles of category В coupled to a trailer the permissible maximum mass of which exceeds 750 kg but does not exceed the unladen mass of the motor vehicle, where the combined permissible maximum mass of the vehicles so coupled does not exceed 3,500 kg
B1
Motor tricycles and quadricycles
C
Motor vehicles, other than those in category D, having a permissible maximum mass exceeding 3,500 kg; or motor vehicles of category С coupled to a trailer the permissible maximum mass of which does not exceed 750 kg
C1
Motor vehicles, with the exception of those in category D, the permissible maximum mass of which exceeds 3,500 kg but does not exceed 7,500 kg; or motor vehicles of subcategory C1 coupled to a trailer, the permissible maximum mass of which does not exceed 750 kg
D
Motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and having more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat; or motor vehicles of category D coupled to a trailer the permissible maximum mass of which does not exceed 750 kg
D1
Motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and having more than 8 seats in addition to the driver's seat but not more than 16 seats in addition to the driver's seat; or motor vehicles of subcategory D1 coupled to a trailer, the permissible maximum mass of which does not exceed 750 kg
BE
Motor vehicles of category В coupled to a trailer the permissible maximum mass of which exceeds 750 kg and exceeds the unladen mass of the motor vehicle; or motor vehicles of category В coupled to a trailer the permissible maximum mass of which exceeds 750 kg, where the combined permissible maximum mass of the vehicles so coupled exceeds 3,500 kg
CE
Motor vehicles of category С coupled to a trailer whose permissible maximum mass exceeds 750 kg
C1E
Motor vehicles of subcategory C1 coupled to a trailer the permissible maximum mass of which exceeds 750 kg but does not exceed the unladen mass of the motor vehicle, where the combined permissible maximum mass of the vehicles so coupled does not exceed 12,000 kg
DE
Motor vehicles of category D coupled to a trailer whose permissible maximum mass exceeds 750 kg
D1E
Motor vehicles of subcategory D1 coupled to a trailer, not used for the carriage of persons, the permissible maximum mass of which exceeds 750 kg but does not exceed the unladen mass of the motor vehicle, where the combined permissible maximum mass of the vehicles so coupled does not exceed 12,000 kg

The 1968 convention (original)

The Convention on Road Traffic has been ratified by 72 countries. Examples of countries that have not ratified the Convention include Chile, China (Republic of China), Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, the Holy See, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Venezuela.

The Convention had amendments on 3 September 1993 and 28 March 2006. There is a European Agreement supplementing the Convention on Road Traffic (1968), which was concluded in Geneva, on 1 May 1971.

Note that before 29 March 2011 the Article demanded Contracting Parties to recognize as valid for driving in their territories:

  • any domestic driver's license drawn up in their national language or in one of their national languages, or, if not drawn up in such a language, accompanied by a certified translation;
  • any domestic driver's license conforming to the provisions of Annex 6 to the Convention; and
  • any international driver's document conforming to the provisions of Annex 7 to the Convention.

Prior to 29 March 2011, Annex 6 and Annex 7 defined forms of driver's licenses that are different from those defined after that date. Driver's licenses issued before 29 March 2011 that match older edition of the Annexes are valid until their expiration dates (Article 43).

License classes according to the 1968 convention[1]
Class Description
A
Motor cycles
B
Motor vehicles, other than those in category A, having a permissible maximum weight not exceeding 3,500 kg and not more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat.
C
Motor vehicles used for the carriage of goods and whose permissible maximum weight exceeds 3,500 kg.
D
Motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and having more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat.
E
Combinations of vehicles of which the drawing vehicles is in a category or categories for which the driver is licensed (B and/or C and/or D), but which are themselves in that category or categories.

The 1949 convention

The 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic has been ratified by 95 states.[2] The 1949 Convention's description of a Driving Permit and International Driving Permit are located in Annexes 9 and 10. Switzerland signed but did not ratify the Convention.

There is a European Agreement supplementing the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic, in addition to the 1949 Protocol on road signs and signals, concluded in Geneva on 16 September 1950.

License classes according to the 1949 convention[3]
Class Description
A
Motor cycles, with or without a side-car, invalid carriages and three-wheeled motor vehicles with an unladen weight not exceeding 400 kg (900 lbs).
B
Motor vehicles used for the transport of passengers and comprising, in addition to the driver's seat, at most eight seats, or those used for the transport of goods and having a permissible maximum weight not exceeding 3,500 kg (7,700 lbs). Vehicles in this category may be coupled with a light trailer.
C
Motor vehicles used for the transport of goods and of which the permissible maximum weight exceeds 3,500 kg (7,700 lbs). Vehicles in this category may be coupled with a light trailer.
D
Motor vehicles used for the transport of passengers and comprising, in addition to the driver's seat, more than eight seats. Vehicles in this category may be coupled with a light trailer.
E
Motor vehicles of category B, C, or D, as authorized above, with other than light trailer.
  • "Permissible maximum weight" of a vehicle means the weight of the vehicle and its maximum load when the vehicle is ready for road.
  • "Maximum load" means the weight of the load declared permissible by the competent authority of the country of registration of the vehicle.
  • "Light trailers" shall be those of permissible maximum weight not exceeding 750 kg (1,650 lbs).

The 1926 convention

The 1926 Convention on Motor Traffic is the more obscure IDP Convention. It is only required in the following nations: Iraq and Somalia.[4]

Both 1949 and 1926 Conventions are authorised for issue to people over the age of 18 holding valid UK driving licences.

Licence classes according to the 1926 convention[5]
Class Description
A
Motor vehicles of which the laden weight does not exceed 3,500 kg.
B
Motor vehicles of which the laden weight exceeds 3,500 kg.
C
Motor-cycles, with or without side-car.

Validation

According to the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic, an IDP remains valid for one year from the date of issue. However, according to the Vienna Convention, an IDP remains valid for no more than three years from the date of issue, or until the expiration date of national driving permit, whichever is earlier. An IDP is not valid for driving in the country where it was issued.

Countries Recognizing IDP

Following is a map of countries that recognize the International Driving Permit[6]

Fraudulent IDP

In the United States, the

See also

References

  • Text of the 1949 Treaty
  • U.N. Conference on Road Traffic – Final Act (Vienna, 7 October – 8 November 1968)
  • More Information about International Driving Permit Scams

Notes

External links

  • IDP Requirements by Country — shows 1926 or 1949 IDP status and special requirements to use an IDP in each country
  • Full text of Vienna 1968 Road Traffic Convention
  • List of Contracting Parties to the Convention on Road Traffic – Vienna, 8th November 1968
  • FTC vs William Scott Dion, et al. Legal action against PT Resource Center for selling bogus IDP's and related identification documents
  • Countries where the International Driver's Document is currently accepted
  • Full HTML version -Convention On Road Traffic done at Geneva September 19 1949 (EN, SP, FR)
  • Washington Post story about a person without an IDP in Spain
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